The Truth about Cleanses and Detoxes: 3 Major Myths

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Cleanses and “detox” diets are all the rage, but do they really give rise to weight loss and improved physical and emotional wellness? And are they even necessary to begin with? Let me divulge my myths and truth about cleanses and detoxes before you decide to stop eating.

Myth #1: Cleanses are an important and necessary way of ridding the body of toxins.

NO. But? No, No, No. Do you hear me?

“Experts” claim in advice columns and advertisements that you need to cleanse in order to flush out all those “toxins” (notice, also, how they never define what those are?) but the overwhelming professional medical opinion is that such methods are unnecessary.  Why? Because your body already has two extremely powerful detoxification devices: your kidneys and your liver. When functioning properly, these vital organs very, very effectively filter non-essential and/or harmful substances from your blood and facilitate their expulsion from the body via urination. That’s right: all you need to do to get rid of those toxins is pee.

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Myth #2: Cleanses lead to permanent weight loss.

Note: I did not write “cleanses lead to weight loss.”  Of course, eating nothing and drinking only juice or green tea laced with maple syrup for a week will cause the number on your scale to dip slightly.  This weight reduction is due to loss of water as your body uses H2O up to burn stored carbohydrates (because you aren’t currently consuming enough), and in cases of extreme, prolonged cleanses, loss of muscle mass. Return to your normal diet and I guarantee those pounds will “magically” reappear.  Furthermore, cleanses and “detox” diets that include a lot of diuretics (e.g., lemon juice) cause you to expel  more urine, exacerbating water loss. 

 

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Myth #3: Okay, cleanses  aren’t necessary. But they’re not bad for you.

Sorry.  While some cleanses, especially those that comprise nutrient-rich, cold-pressed juices, do supply you with nutrients and anti-oxidants, the majority lack fat and protein and leave you calorie-deficient. As a result, you’re more likely to binge on carbohydrates and caloric, processed foods (which contain all that bad stuff you were trying to get rid of in the first place) and counter any “weight loss” or nutritional enhancement you’ve gained through the cleanse.  And that’s a best-case scenario.  Detox diets (and I’m not going to name names but we all know what I’m talking about) that only involve mostly water and a few mix-ins are liable to upset your electrolyte levels and cause you to experience dehydration, confusion, extreme fatigue, and even an irregular heartbeat. 

Want to make sure you’re nice and “clean” inside? Do your body a favor and skip the torturous and often expensive fancy cleanses and detox diets.  Drink  lots of water, limit your alcohol intake, and fill your plate with foods that boost liver and kidney function.

 

And before I sign off, we have an announcement!

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