Detox or detoxification diets and cleanses are quite popular among weight-watchers and fitness fanatics mainly because of how they are believed to cleanse the body, rid it off of harmful toxins, and help you lose weight.
Detox cleanses take many forms and involve numerous approaches, such as fasting, using different dietary supplements, drinking only juices or other liquids, to name a few.
These approaches claim to improve circulation, stimulate the liver so that it gets rid of toxins, and promote overall toxin elimination in the body in the form of sweat, feces, and urine.
However, does the science back up the claims, or is the whole detox cleanse phenomenon more of a marketing push to sell products?
Detox Cleanses Aren’t Long-Term Solutions
In reality, there’s little evidence that supports the supposed health benefits that detox cleanses and diets claim to offer over the long-term despite minor gains and improvements in the short-term.
There are many reasons why detox cleanses don’t work, let’s dive deeper!
- Detox diets are very low in calories, so at the end of the day, you are left with really low energy levels, which can eventually disrupt your body’s metabolic rate. This can seriously mess with your blood glucose levels, causing more harm than good.
- These diets are low in protein, so even if you do lose some weight after a few days of following a detox cleanse, the chances are that your overall energy levels will still be very low, making you unable to exercise or maintain your weight loss.
- Detox cleanses are highly restrictive, given how you can only eat certain foods (mostly fruits and juices). If anything, this can severely damage your body and its functions.
- These diets often result in frequent bowel movements, and you are also likely to experience high levels of gastrointestinal distress.
- A key requirement of detoxification is resisting temptations, so the chances are that following a detox cleanse will actually leave you even hungrier, which isn’t just a stressful experience on its own, but you might end up eating more than before.
- Another reason why detox cleanses do not work is that their results aren’t long-term, and even if you do lose any weight, it’s mostly water weight and the carbohydrate reserves in the body, which will eventually return once you go back to your old eating habits.
Disruption of Body’s Natural Detoxification System
The ultimate argument on why detox cleanses do not work is that it disrupts the body’s natural detoxification system.
The human body has several organs and systems working together to eliminate harmful toxins and chemicals from the body. The liver, for instance, turns toxic substances into harmless components and then makes sure that they are released from the body. Our digestive tract, skin, and kidneys also play a role of their own in the elimination and detoxification process.
So, when you follow detox cleanses and diets, you hinder the body’s natural process, which eventually causes more harm than good to the body.
While we wholeheartedly support eating natural, whole foods like vegetables and fruits, which are apart of many cleansing diets, and think people should eat as many as possible. However, it’s best to adopt long-term lifestyle changes that include this all the time, not just having a juice or smoothie once a day. Or, opting to ONLY consume smoothies or juices as it’s simply not sustainable or healthy in the long run.