Why Detox Diets Are Unnecessary

It seems as if almost everyone you know has either attempted or followed through with a cleanse or detox. We live in a society where instant gratification is a must. 

We follow what instagram models or self proclaimed fitness experts (that have no credentials) say, as if it was a religion. Just because someone looks good on the outside DOES NOT qualify them to say these things actually work. 

What is a detox diet?
A detox diet takes on many different forms. You can juice your fruits & vegetables, fast, consume only liquids and some even let you eat small amounts of food. This diet promises to rid your body, or even specific organs, of all the built up toxins or impurities, all the while, allowing you to achieve weight loss. These diets can vary anywhere from days to weeks, depending how much "toxic substances" you feel you have built up in your body. 

Does it really detoxify your liver?
First off, let me briefly describe the functions of the liver:

  • Stores and releases glucose (blood sugar) as needed
  • Produces bile (which is very important in fat digestion)
  • Stores iron
  • Converts ammonia (very harmful) to urea (excreted in your urine). This is related to protein
  • Filters out toxins from your bloodstream (drugs, alcohol, bacteria, etc.)
These toxic forms will leave your body in 1 of 2 ways, through urine or feces. 

So back to the question at hand, "does it really detoxify your liver?" The answer is NO. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory. One of the functions of the liver is to rid your body of any impurities. It will not get "clogged with toxins or poisons."

They must work, everyone loses weight on them!
When you deficit, or restrict, your body of calories, a byproduct will 100% be weight loss. Since your body isn't receiving adequate nutrients, it turns to your body's reservoir. Long-term detoxing can lead to muscle loss. 

Depending on the type of "cleanse" or "detox" you choose, will account for whether or not you can participate in physical activity. Many advise you not to exercise due to the insufficient amount calories you're consuming. This will result in dizziness and/or fainting. 

Is detoxing dangerous?
In terms of short-term detoxing, or cleansing, my personal opinion would have to be no. Although, due to the low nutrient and caloric content, you can experience some GI discomfort. 

If the purpose of your detox is to lose weight, realize you will regain the weight once you finish. A detox or cleanse is not a permanent fix if you have unhealthy eating habits. Try practicing mindful eating. 


NOTE: If you want to incorporate a fruit, and/or veggie, smoothie into your diet that is one thing. To advocate that your body NEEDS help detoxing, well that's a fallacy. If you incorporate healthy eating habits to begin with then you're fine. 

Remember: eating a well-balanced diet, along with exercise, can prevent the development of chronic diseases.I will leave you with this one question to think about. Why suffer for days, even weeks, doing something your body is already built to do?


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