To detox diet or not? We have the answer.

Detox diets claim to clean the blood and eliminate harmful toxins from the body. These diets are generally short-term interventions that involve a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices and water. Sometimes a detox diet also includes herbs, teas, supplements and colon cleanses or enemas. Doing all of these claims to allow the body’s digestive system to rest by fasting, stimulate the liver to get rid of toxins, promote toxin elimination through feces, urine and sweat, improve circulation and provide the body with healthy nutrients.

Although there is substantial research supporting the presence of environmental toxins in the human body and the negative health effects of these substances, there is no evidence that popular detox diets have any effect on toxin elimination. The human body serves its own detoxification, with the liver, kidneys, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems all working together each day to rid the body of toxins.

Consumers should be wary of any diet that encourages you to eliminate a certain food group. For someone to be healthy they need to eat from all of the food groups to best meet their nutritional needs. Eliminating certain food groups for an extended period of time and cause you to be deficient in various nutrients. Anything you can’t follow long term, is likely not a good plan. For example a low-carb diet works in the short term, but what happens when you start to introduce those carbs back into your diet? 

Honestly, all of us are on a diet. The term diet should not have a negative connotation; it just means the sum of food that is consumed by a person or organism. One of the best ideas to follow is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. You should pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, lean proteins and seafood, and then dairy. There are a few "center isles" exceptions, such as legumes, rice and oats, etc., but avoid the bakery and deli.

Before starting any diet, do your research and speak with a dietitian or other knowledgeable healthcare professional. Detox diets can be useful in the short term, but the best thing to do is to eliminate the junk and start eating more whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Couple this with daily exercise and physical activity, adequate sleep, smaller portion sizes and plenty of water throughout each day. Limit junk, fast and highly processed foods and enriched grains and you'll have found a stable, lasting diet for a healthy lifestyle.


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