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Do Detox Diets Work?

Many people are always looking for a quick fix – a fast way to lose weight and feel better or look better. Detox or detoxification, diets are popular, but they’re not scientifically proven. Detox diets promise to eliminate toxins from the body and jumpstart weight loss, and they’re going more and more mainstream. But nutritionists and others are expressing reservations about them, while acknowledging they do have their good points

Detox diets are said to remove toxins from the body. Normally, people carry out detox by fasting, followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. In addition, some detox diets advocate using herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing to empty the intestines.


The belief is that our bodies are constantly overloaded with toxins from pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods. The thinking is that, as these toxins build in our bodies, they can be responsible for a number of health problems, such as weight gain, energy loss, and dull skin. You then rid your body of toxins by following a special diet that significantly restricts and reduces food intake. There’s not just one detox diet, there are many different types, from juice fasts to raw food diets to plans that only include fruits or don’t allow chewing.


Some people report feeling more focused and being more energetic after the detox. However, there’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Indeed, the kidneys and liver effectively filter and eliminate most ingested toxins. The benefits from a detox diet may actually come from avoiding highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar.

If you’re considering a detox diet, get the green light from your doctor first. It’s also important to consider possible side effects. Detox diets that severely limit protein or that require fasting, for example, can result in fatigue. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Colon cleansing, which is often recommended as part of a detox plan, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration also can be a concern.

Some of the things to be cautious about whilst carrying out detox:

  • You may loose weight too quickly
  • You may then put it back on
  • Many of the diets lack essential nutrients
  • Many of them cause the loss of electrolytes
  • Side effects could include fatigue, headaches, vomiting, and nausea
  • You may end up starving your body
  • There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that your body needs help getting rid of waste products if you’re healthy, and there’s little proof to support the claims that detox diets work
  • If you follow a strict detox diet over the long-term, it could lead to nutrient deficiencies and health problems
If you’re thinking about embarking on a cleansing diet, you should choose one that still allows you to actually eat. The best diets eliminate alcohol, caffeine, meat, and most dairy whilst focusing on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, whole grains, and lots of water.

Finally, keep in mind that fad diets aren’t a good long-term solution. For lasting results, your best bet is to eat a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein.

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