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Avoid Cleansing, Detox Diets

cleansing diets, detoxification diets

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

You probably have heard about the latest cleansing and detoxification diets that claim to help you clean your body of harmful toxins while shedding pounds in a short amount of time. While these cleansing diets may seem promising, are they truly accomplishing what they claim?

The word “toxin” automatically sounds negative, so a detoxification diet to rid your body of toxins seems beneficial. A toxin is a chemical or poison that has harmful effects on the body. 

Fortunately, our bodies are designed to filter these toxins out with the help of our liver and kidneys through urine, sweat and feces. No scientific evidence supports the need to assist the liver and kidneys in this detoxification process.

Many of these detoxification diets also claim to burn fat and help with rapid weight loss. In truth, slow and steady weight loss is more sustainable than dramatic weight changes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. If a cleansing diet promises more weight loss in a week, it may be dangerous to your health.

Most of the quick weight lost in cleansing diets is from water loss. After the cleansing process is complete and the person returns to his or her normal eating habits, he or she most likely will gain this weight back.

Detoxification and cleansing diets typically are a strict plan lasting from three to 30 days. During this time, the types and amounts of foods you can eat will be restricted. Some plans consist of soups, specific foods or juices. Oftentimes, these diets provide recipes you must use. They usually involve drinking a lot of water and sometimes the use of laxatives.

Consuming less than 1,200 calories per day will not provide your body and brain with enough energy for normal daily functioning. Many cleansing diets provide far fewer calories than our bodies need. Restricting calories also will keep you from getting the essential vitamins and minerals you need. This can have a negative impact on body functions, such as electrolyte and fluid imbalances, as well as on normal heart functions.

Another common principle of cleansing and detoxification diets is restricting specific food groups such as carbohydrates, fats or dairy products. By eliminating entire food groups, you will miss out on important nutrients for good health. For example, by taking all dairy out of your diet, you also will restrict your calcium intake.

Our bodies need a balanced diet of carbohydrate, fats and proteins to get all of the required nutrients. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats helps us achieve that balance.

The bottom line is that detoxification and cleansing diets may result in initial weight loss, but they may cause more harm than good. In addition, they are not sustainable. Ask yourself: “Can I eat this for the rest of my life?” If you answer “no,” then this may not be an appropriate weight loss plan for you. Remember, there is no “magic” weight loss plan out there.

Source: http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/detox_diets.html#

 

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