“Detox” diets- can they really work to remove toxins and shed pounds? Yes and no; but mostly no. In short, they won't get you anywhere for the long term. You can lose some fast weight, but as you will read here it's the wrong kind of weight lost in the wrong way. I know, it's a place to start and the weight can and has fallen off for some individuals. But for most of us, it is just too extreme and unrealistic.
Most people hate the notion of dieting; myself included. I have always been a proponent of eating what you want and enjoying your taste buds within reason and that usually means taking a few “cheat meals” throughout the week here and there (see previous posts).
Yes, those cheat meals usually contain all sorts of toxins that can slowly kill us..but I don’t care I eat them anyway. Why? Because the foods I eat close to 75% of the time would be classified as detoxifying foods anyway. Let’s be realistic here guys: What you put in your body for 3, 7 or even 30 days straight will NOT make up for what you put in it for 365 days of the year so don’t kid yourself.
So what about these goofy detox diets and liquid starvation methods? Are they all fad? First, don't get me all wrong here: I like some shakes and/or juiced fruit and veggies- I have them often. I just don't have them exclusively as my meal plan but I do supplement them to my regular diet of fresh, unprocessed whole foods.
While the whole idea of detoxifying your body of processed crap from the all-too-popular S.A.D. diet (Standard American Diet) is a great one, to do so resorting to just some liquid miracle potion for any extended amount of time is not the best idea and can actually rob your body of vital nutrients and energy.
For starters, all this weight that some claim to lose is mainly water/salt weight which comes back after you begin eating normally- even with the right natural foods. Secondly, since there are virtually no calories to speak of with these extreme diets, there is no possible way for you to function optimally- mind or body. We all need calories to perform at our best. How are you supposed to be active running on just fluid?
The lack of protein and calories from these starvation detox plans actually starves the good tissues we should be striving to keep and that tissue is muscle. If you have followed anything I have filmed for YouTube or written here, you know that muscle is anabolically active and this means it will burn calories stored as fat no matter what you are doing- even sleeping so why would you want to rob their ability to burn fat for you?
What about the detox portion of these diets? Your liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, skin, blood and lymphatic systems already naturally do the job of detoxifying your body every day anyway. Side effects of detox diets can include dehydration, fatigue, bad breathe, constipation, dizziness and nausea- sounds fun right? Look we don’t need to starve our system just because some malnourished tree-hugger in your yoga class told you it’s necessary (yoga is cool btw).
It takes about 3-4 days for your body to fully digest and dispose of the solid foods you put into it. So, if you try the new liquid detox potion of the month, you can expect to keep evacuating your bowls- which brings me to the next point.
Some of the weight you lose will inevitably be solid waste so by the time you get to the fourth or fifth day, you’ll be a few pounds lighter just from not replacing your gut with solid food to digest; and this, like the water weight lost will COME BACK when you begin to eat solid food again (and you will). The only difference is you will hopefully not be eating steady helpings of the S.A.D. diet anymore.
So what is an easier, healthier and more realistic method? I thought you’d never ask. Simple, just slowly transition things around. Meaning, instead of your steady diet of processed fun foods that you know are bad for you, start to replace them with more healthy alternatives. Of course, you can still enjoy your pizza or whatever junk foods you like, just not all the time. Before you know it, you will have almost phased out the bad stuff from your diet completely (except for those fun cheat days).
Start educating yourself on the countless simple ways to make your food intake alkaline instead of acidic- this is golden and a great way to "detox" without resorting to an extreme starvation diet.
How do you get alkaline? Stay away from processed/fast foods all together and starting eating more veggies and "clean" proteins as close to their natural state as possible. Throw some proper training into the mix and witness the body you want begin to appear- and continually improve. See? That is not extreme.
Now, forcing yourself to gulp down some silly concoction of maple syrup and spices for a meal plan is. How would you rather eat? Why treat yourself that way?
Still confused? Don’t know where or how to start? Leave a comment or a question and I will do my best to answer it. Eating clean for health and a better body is cheaper and easier than you might think, no starvation detox diets needed.