Detox Diets: Are They A Good Idea?

Health Professional

With the start of 2012, you may have made a pledge to shed the extra pounds you've gain over the last year.

Recently, I've heard a lot of people saying they intend to go on a "detox diet," as soon as the New Year begins.

But, is that a wise move?

For the most part, the only thing detox products help you to lose is your hard earned cash. And, in fact, many are dangerous to your health.

No doubt you've already encountered marketing hype for these products, particultarly over the last few weeks. With the overindulgence of the Christmas period, it is prime-time for such products right now.

Wether it's a diet of fruit juice, detox tea, or colonic hydrotherapy, there are hundreds of products claiming to boost health by cleansing the body of dangerous chemicals, increasing energy levels, and allowing the body to "self-heal."

Often these claims are merely a play on words.

The whole philosophy behind detoxing is based on the idea that accumulated toxins lead to a sluggish metabolism, weight gain, and generally feeling unwell.

But, detox diets are simply not the answer to these problems.

In actual fact, your body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself, without the help of any of these expensive or dangerous products.

Our liver, kidneys, skin, lungs, and gut, are constantly processing and eliminating toxins. Meticulously flushing with copious amounts of water and fresh juices, or taking pills, will do nothing to speed up the process.

My advice is to forgo these detox products this year, and instead make a resolution to follow a healthy, wholefood diet, and get a few early nights. Your body will love you for it

Here are some specific guidelines for a healthy diet:

  • At least two fruits and five vegetable portions each day.
  • Try to get two portions of fish into your diet each week, at least one of which should be oily fish.
  • Eat a serving of whole, unsalted nuts or seeds every day (about 1 oz) as a snack.
  • Replace some of the meat you eat each week with legumes (peas, beans and lentils).
  • Avoid white grains and other highly processed carbs, and when you do eat carb-rich foods, go for higher fiber grains, such as brown rice and quinoa.
  • Limit your sodium intake to less than 1,500mg each day.
  • Drink at least 8 cups of fluid each day water and green tea are the best choices.
  • Avoid all artificial sweeteners and soft drinks, and don't drink too much caffeine.
  • (Don't forget the importance of a regular exercise program, too)

By adding a rich variety of colorful foods to your diet, and by removing the junk foods, you can naturally detoxify your diet, and improve your overall health as a result.

Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, health writer, busy wife, and mum. Her goal is to promote good health and better lifestyles in the online community. For more healthy eating tips, check out her blog.