Planning a detox? Read this first.
Every year, it’s the same. We say we’ll be moderate during the holiday season…but we just can’t resist that extra helping of mashed potatoes. Or the tin of fresh-baked cookies. Or the champagne toast ad midnight. Or…well, you get the idea. By the time the new year rolls around, most of us are likely feeling a bit sheepish – and ready for a change. And, after the season’s excesses, many people feel like they need to do some dietary penance to get back on track.
Enter the detox. Everywhere you look, there are celebrities, blog posts and advertisements telling you that you need to “cleanse” and “flush” away all that toxic overindulgence. The promise? Detoxing will purify your body, inside and out. You’ll look better, feel better…and weigh less. The only problem? It’s a scam.
Detoxing is a real medical procedure – usually provided in hospitals when a patient has life-threatening levels of drugs, alcohol or poison in their body. And believe it or not, this treatment doesn’t involve juicing, cayenne pepper or smoothies.
Let’s face it: if toxins really built up in your body without being flushed out, you’d likely be dead or in need or serious medical intervention. The idea of “cleansing” your liver or kidneys is definitely attractive…but that’s just not how those organs work. Our livers are actually self-cleansing, converting toxic matter into substances our body naturally eliminates. And our kidneys are built to remove waste products from our bodies, without any outside help.
It’s just basic anatomy: our organs are already the perfect built-in detoxifying machine. And the idea that environmental impurities “build up” in your system, and that a detox will somehow clean your organs, has no basis in medical science. Sadly, it’s really just a marketing ploy.
Just look at the label on an over-the-counter detox kit. For all their talk about removing toxins, chances are they won’t name which toxins their product removes – or even which specific toxins cause the symptoms or diseases they claim to treat. Marketers keep their language vague, because there’s no scientific evidence that these treatments work.
The fact is, many popular detox diets such as the Master Cleanse will make you lose weight. So it’s easy to think it’s working. But many studies have shown that these extreme low-calories diets actually lower your metabolism as your body struggles to conserve energy. Once you finish your detox diet and return to your normal eating habits, you’ll gain that weight back – fast. Even worse, these low-nutrient diets may actually cause harm, from dehydration and electrolyte depletion to lasting damage to your digestive system.
Before we move on, we need to talk about juicing. We love fresh fruits and veggies, and frankly, we all find the occasional cold-pressed juice delicious and refreshing. They’re also a convenient way to get many of the benefits found in fresh produce. But, juicing just removes the fibre from its ingredients – something your body definitely needs . The bottom line? Fresh juices don’t provide anything you wouldn’t get from eating the whole components instead. And in most cases, it’s not nearly as balances.
Okay, so detoxing doesn’t work. That doesn’t change the fact that many of us are looking for a fresh start in the new year. But don’t give up hope! The truth is, you can absolutely make amazing changes in your body through diet and lifestyle. But it’s not going to be a quick fix. Real health comes from real, lasting changes: regular exercise, not smoking, drinking in moderation, getting enough sleep and enjoying a healthy, balanced diet filled with whole grains, lean protein and lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
Okay, we’ll admit it’s not as sexy as a one-week cure all. But we promise that if you keep it up, you’ll feel absolutely amazing. Got health and diet resolutions for 2018? We want to hear about it! Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to a healthy 2018!