Do you really need to 'detox'?
Detox diets, juice cleanses, water fasts and miracle teas with unusual side effects – there’s always a new trend claiming to make you as pure as the day you were born. You’ve probably considered jumping on one of these cleansing bandwagons at some point, perhaps after a burst of over-indulgence – post-Christmas blues, anyone? Just like keto, detox cleanses pop up regularly among celebrities.
The folks hawking these detoxes make some bold and attractive claims about easy weight loss and ridding you of mysterious toxins. But do detox diets live up to their hype?
What is a ‘detox diet’?
The rules vary, but a detox diet is typically a short-term restrictive style of eating (or not eating) that includes periods of fasting as well as cutting out all processed foods. Many cleanses focus on increasing your intake of water and vegetables, but can also make use of expensive powders and supplements with supposed detoxification benefits. There are many detox approaches, with varying degrees of restriction, complexity, cost and even health risks.
So is ‘detox’ a real thing?
Yes, our bodies love a good detox – but not through drinking expensive juices or suffering through a celery and water fast. The body has its own built-in system for detoxification: our good friend, the liver. This special organ is incredibly effective at neutralizing toxins and removing them from the body (with the help of some other organs and body systems, too, of course).
So do you need a detox diet? The simple answer is no. Our bodies already have us covered. Beyond being unnecessary, these fad detox diets can be risky to our health and well-being, causing damage to the body even as we think we’re doing it a favor. Some side effects of detox diets include dehydration, electrolyte depletion, and disruption of the good bacteria in your gut.
Maximizing your body’s own detox power
Everyone feels like they need a diet ‘re-set’ sometimes – like after our ‘treat meal’ has turned into a ‘treat week.’ But there’s no need for drastic detox measures. You can support your liver and digestive system by focusing on really healthy, mindful clean eating for a week or so. Cut back on processed foods high in sugar and additives, put away the alcohol, drink more water and eat more fiber. Not only is this more enjoyable than questionable tea that messes with your gut, but it’ll help your body feel great again and put you back on track to good health.
Let's break those down...
- Focus on vegetables
Bulk up your meals with vegetables and salad. Greens are great for your waistline but also your health, containing a range of vitamins and minerals.
- Add fresh flavors
Herbs, spices and citrus can all add amazing flavors and are a great way to jazz up your main meals, without adding too much sodium or processed condiments.
- Eat more fiber
Fiber is a natural cleanser for your digestive system, so turn to fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and nutrient-dense whole grains
- Eat fish and seafood
Fish is a light but filling protein – perfect if you are trying to eat well.
- Choose lower calorie, nutrient-dense snacks
Keep a stash of low-energy foods like berries, melon fruits, carrots, cucumber or bell pepper chopped in the fridge for quick and easy snacks. Vegetable soups are another great option, and a handful of popcorn is a great whole grain snack for when you are peckish but not super hungry.
Water is a good start, but also look at hot or cold, fruit and herbal teas to quench your thirst.
We practice what we preach on Centr: Meal plans are designed around fresh, clean and nutritious whole foods to keep your body at its absolute best. Ditch the detox diet fad – your body will thank you for it.
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