The idea that munching on celery sticks and downing wheatgrass shots to atone for all the health sins you committed in 2017 seems too good to be true. That’s because it is.
Since time immemorial, a wide range of quick-fix-promising body-detox methods, from fasting to purgative herbs have been practiced. These become especially popular during the beginning of a new year, a time when millions of people worldwide resolve to take better care of themselves after two months of hardcore partying and bingeing. And according to detox devotees, the best way to do this is through a detox diet.
Science, however, disagrees.
Why Detox Anyway?
“Detox” is basically short for “detoxification” or “getting rid of toxins.”
The reason that’s typically given by detox fans for going on one of these diets is to support the body’s perceived inability to manage the toxin overload. According to detox supporters, if not flushed out, these toxins can result in bloating, cellulite, weight gain, bad skin, fatigue, and ill health.
What Is A Detox Diet?
A detox diet is a diet that’s specially designed to push your body to get rid of its toxins.
There are many varieties, being promoted by marketing brands and celebrities alike. These differ in the period of detoxing, the purpose of detoxing, what to eat, and what part of the body it’s focusing on.
Some detox diets may only allow fruits while some may only allow liquids and no solids. There are even some diets that are as strict as substituting full meals with a program of pre-mixed juices, powdered supplements, and teas, and purees of certain foods.
Most detox diets can be made at home or with ingredients you can buy at your local supermarket. There are also specific over-the-counter products that are specifically marketed for detoxing.
Detox Diets May Help You Lose Weight…
Detox diets are usually synonymous with “fasting.” They demand you to completely eliminate real food for a series of days and give you very limited food options. For this reason, many people may notice a change on their weighing scale after a few weeks of detoxing.
To those of us who despise the thought of busting ourselves at the gym, the idea of shedding some extra flab through detox dieting is very tempting. This is why most detox diets today mainly target people who have body weight issues such as teenagers and new mothers.
…But Only Temporarily
With so many celebrities going on endless rants about the weight loss miracle that detox diets are, it’s very strange how there isn’t any research that backs this claim. Nutritionists, in fact, claim that these diets can actually backfire horribly to make you gain weight.
Most of the weight you lose through a detox diet is not in the form of actual fat but stored glycogen, water, and waste products. Most people forget that detox diets are only temporary. Sooner or later they will have to return to their usual eating patterns, and when they do, they will gain back all the weight that you lost if not more.
Also, most people don’t realize how emotionally dependant on food they are until they actually start such strict diets. Detox diets are usually based on juicing or pureed fruits and veggies. At first, it may seem pretty doable. But when you find yourself having to do it every day, over and over again, the unsatisfactory taste and the process of not eating food like normal human beings will start getting to you. Don’t be too surprised to find yourself heading straight to a bucket of fried chicken or a huge tub of ice cream the moment your detox is over. Even if we do assume for a second that detox diets really do help you lose weight, going on a binge right after will soon negate all those supposed benefits.
You’re Spending An Insane Amount Of Money…
Typical detox diets make use of healthy ingredients and supplements. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables and consuming these “detox” supplements every single day is a very costly affair. If you’re buying organic, your cost goes up even more.
Of course, this wouldn’t matter so much if you were really getting your money’s worth. Which brings us to our next point.
…For Something That Does Your Health More Harm Than Good
By using fruits and veggies as the base for all your juices and purees, you’re actually eliminating the important nutrients like fiber, minerals, and vitamins and just eating just natural sugar-infused leftovers. In other words, you end up spending a whole lot of money just so you can remove the best nutrients from the best of nature’s food.
Also, as unbelievable as it may seem, detox diets can sometimes lead you to eat more than necessary. It’s as good as eating air, only, you end up end up overdosing on calories. This can trigger unhealthy eating habits that may eventually lead to weight gain and obesity, which is quite the opposite of what you want, we’re sure.
Following extreme detox diets can even lead to nutritional deficiencies which can have a damaging, long-lasting impact on your overall health and well-being.
It’s much better to stick to a normal, well-balanced diet and actually “eat” your food instead of drinking it. You may also go ahead and indulge yourself on some dessert now and then; trust us, it’s not a crime.
Besides, You Don’t Even Need A Detox Diet!
The biggest reason for nutritionists and scientists to cry foul when it comes to detox diets is the fact that they make us believe we actually need one. In truth, as long as you have a functioning gut, liver, and kidneys – you’re always in an auto-detox mode.
Telling you that you need to give your organs a break from the duress they’ve undergone over the last few years is one of the ways marketers try to lure you into trying detox diets. In reality, however, there is no scientific evidence to support that your organs need the extra help, to begin with. Neither is there any research to prove that drinking juices can get your organs to do their job faster.
Need To Feel Better? Try Getting Some Sleep…
If you’ve indulged yourself a bit too much, your body will find a way to point that out to you. For instance, you’ll find yourself drained of energy and feeling extremely moody.
The best way to combat that is by getting some sleep. Take a day off from work if necessary to just rest it out at home. This is a far healthier way to get yourself back on track that actually involves taking care of yourself, rather than putting yourself through weeks and weeks of dietary torture.
A big plus? If you get enough sleep, you can actually find enough energy to hit the gym thrice a week – a practice that will actually go a long way in helping you lose weight and feel great about yourself.
…And Ditching Your Alcohol For Water
Scaling back on the booze is another great trick to feel instantly better and cut down on extra weight. Once again, we’re not telling you to lay off the alcohol altogether. Instead, we’re telling you to try and stick to a glass of wine or beer.
You also need to make sure you stay hydrated. Next time you go out drinking, try this trick: for alternate every glass of wine with an equal helping of water. Two things: it will make you full and you probably won’t feel like more wine (which reduces your chances of a hangover) and it will help you take the calories down a notch (for those who don’t remember, water contains zero calories!) while staying hydrated!
The Final Verdict On Detox Diets
There’s no scientific evidence to prove that detox diets work, and according to nutritionists, they take the joy out of eating, an act that’s very important for human health and well-being.
Our advice? Stay away from detox diets and stick to a well-balanced one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables in their most natural form. Get yourself about 8 hours of sleep every day, stay hydrated, and do the things you love. That’s what we like to call a real detox!