Detox Diet for Heart Health: It Doesn't Work
With the New Year now upon us many people will already have launched themselves wholeheartedly into a detox plan. If you believe the marketing hype, this will help rid your body of contaminating "toxins" from the surrounding environment, including those resulting from poor diets, alcohol and caffeine.
Detoxing is touted to help improve sluggishness, lethargy, blotting, headaches, bad breath, spots, and allergies, amongst other things, aiding liver and kidney cleansing, and as a result boosting the immune system.
So, does the scientific evidence back such claims? Simply put, no! However, this mere fact fails to stop manufacturers and various "practitioners" making ridiculous claims to the numerous health benefits gained from detox diets.
In their detox press release the British charity "Sense About Science" state, "Our bodies have their own "detox" mechanisms. The gut prevents bacteria and many toxins from entering the body. When harmful chemicals do enter the body, the liver acts as an extraordinary chemical factory, usually combining them with its own chemicals to make a water soluble compound that can be excreted by the kidneys. The body thus detoxifies itself. The body is re-hydrated with ordinary tap water. It is refreshed with a good night's sleep."
"These processes do not occur more effectively as a result of taking 'detox' tablets, wearing 'detox' socks, having a 'detox' body wrap, eating Nettle Root extract, drinking herbal infusions or 'oxygenated' water, following a special 'detox' diet, or using any of the other products and rituals that are promoted. They waste money and sow confusion about how our bodies, nutrition and chemistry actually work."
What about the testimonials?
It is true that there are literally hundreds of testimonials that describe the beneficial effects of following a detox plan. Thinking logically, possible explanations may be:
- Less bloating - the result of eating less food.
- Clearer skin - improved hydration, and a higher intake of antioxidants from fruit and vegetables.
- Decreased headaches - reduced alcohol and caffeine intake, and improved hydration.
- Weight loss - severe calorie restriction.
Cons of following a detox plan
One of the main problems of detox diets is that any positive effects tend to be short-lived. Most detox plans are also very restrictive, resulting in a shortage of essential nutrients, which could in turn lead to deficiency, and lowered immunity. If weight is lost, this is normally a temporary result, being immediately regained following commencement of "normal" eating.
I've heard it said before that, the only thing losing weight on a detox diet is your wallet! My advice is, don't waste your hard earned money, or time on these deceitful "diets."
- Eating whole foods, avoiding refine products.
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.
- Exercising most days each week.
- Sleeping 7-8 hours every night.
Unfortunately, this is yet another scam. Don't fall for the greedy ploys of big business marketers!
Melanie Thomassian is a dietician, and author of Dietriffic.com, an online resource for credible dietary advice, exercise tips, and much more!