By Farah Mahgoub
“Detox” is a medical term that refers to removing harmful and addictive substances from the body, such as poisons, drugs, and alcohol. Today, the term is being used to describe a kind of diet that should be followed every once in a while to apparently clear “toxic waste” from the body. Detox diet promoters claim that it helps with rapid weight loss, improved digestion, heightened energy levels, and healthier hair, nails, and skin. But, how truthful are these claims?
According to Keck Medicine, a detox diet is typically known as a short-term diet for the purpose of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body by controlling what you ingest through specifying the amount and types of nutrients and vitamins you take in. Some cleanses, like The Master Cleanse, involves no solid food at all, as the diet fully relies on juices, while other cleanses include a mixture of herbs, teas, and supplements.
Even though detoxing increases your energy levels, improves your focus and allows you to quickly lose a lot of weight, there’s no scientific evidence to prove that detoxing is as beneficial as it seems. It could actually have an adverse effect in the long term.
Since you’re only drinking huge amounts of juices and water while eating close to nothing, you’re bound to get very hungry and feel weak and nauseated. It could also lead to mineral or vitamin deficiencies and cause low blood sugar, which is dangerous for diabetics. In addition to that, drinking an extreme amount of water can be just as dangerous as not drinking enough, and once you’re back to your normal eating habits, you’ll probably gain back all the weight you lost on the diet.
As a food factsheet by The British Dietetic Association shows, detox isn’t necessary at all. Since the body has its own mechanisms to remove waste and toxins on its own without external help. Our body has several organs, such as the skin, gut, liver, and kidney that “detoxify” the body by responding to signals in the form of hormones. These organs are constantly filtering out, breaking down, and excreting toxins and waste products.
To properly maintain your health, regular physical activity and a healthy diet are vital. Some people assert that they feel better when they detox and associate that feeling to what they are consuming, when in reality there are other factors such as exercising, getting fresh air and not smoking which could be helping them to feel more energized.
A much better alternative to detoxing is to simply opt for a “clean” eating plan as a whole, which would include unprocessed foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains,