The Toxic Truth about Detoxing

If we were all sitting in a room right now and I asked the question, “Raise your hand if you have thought about, or have completed a Detoxing or detox diet?” I am willing to bet most hands if not all would be raised.  I am pretty sure you can rattle off several names of companies who specialize in Detoxing too. So, what is the rage about? Should everyone be cleansing?

The answer to both those questions is NO! The human body has a built-in cleansing system: liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and a couple other organs working 24/7 to ensure all toxic, harmful substances are removed from your body and excreted as waste. In fact, a 2009 investigation conducted by the VoYS (Voices of Young Science) titled “The Detox Dossier” found of 15 companies selling various detox products, none of them provided a universal definition as to what “detoxing” actually meant, nor could any provide scientific evidence to support their claims.

A recent article in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found the lack of clinical evidence to support the use of these diets and further stated, “A handful of clinical studies have shown that commercial detox diets enhance liver detoxification and eliminate persistent organic pollutants from the body, although these studies are hampered by flawed methodologies and small sample sizes (ARTICLE)”.

So why is the detox industry booming and what is causing peoples’ benefits? When you begin a detox, you are on a very restrictive caloric intake consisting of fruits, vegetables and water.  When an individual makes a dramatic change, your body will begin to feel a boost in energy and mental clarity, plus, the bonus effect: weight loss. 

Are you really detoxing your body? NO. What you are feeling is the transition from a diet with high calorie intake with processed food and low hydration to a diet with essential macro and micronutrients and being full hydration.

As for the initial rapid weight loss: when you rapidly decrease the amount of caloric intake, weight loss occurs. But let’s not confuse weight loss with fat loss. The weight loss that occurs is due to depleted glycogen stores. To store one gram of glycogen in the liver and muscles, the body uses three grams of water. When you begin your detox you typically see rapid weight loss in the first 24-48 hours due to the fact the body isn’t getting enough carbohydrates; however, when you complete your detox and resume your normal eating habits, the “weight” returns.

What should you do instead?

Your liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and other organs all need support. Reevaluating your daily eating habits will have a great impact on your health, saving you money and time. Instead of cashing out for a quick fix to an issue, take three non-consecutive days and record everything you eat either through myfitnesspal, take photos of your food, or use an old fashion pen & pencil. Then review your diet. You will find the imbalances in your nutritional intake. From there, plan out ways to balance, moderate your intake and boost your hydration. Be sure your diet is chock-full of nutrient-dense foods, ample protein, and leafy greens on a daily basis.

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