With the New Year upon us, most of us will have resolved to eat better and live healthier. As such, many people will be embarking on a detox diet as a means of counteracting the overindulgences of the festive season. But what are detox diets and do they actually work?
Detox diets often involve eating a limited range of foods such as only fruit and vegetables or cutting out foods like wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol. Sometimes food is avoided altogether for short periods of time. The idea behind detox diets is that we need to rid our bodies of toxins every now and then in order to remain healthy. Proponents claim that detoxing regularly can help with weight loss, improve cellulite and energy levels as well as improve digestion.
Here is the truth about detox diets:
- There is no scientific basis for detoxing – if toxins accumulated in our bodies then we would be sick.
- The human body already has sophisticated, in-built mechanisms for getting rid of anything it does not need.
- Weight loss happens due to the restrictive nature of these diets but it’s the wrong sort of weight loss. Water (from the liver and muscle), not fat is lost.
- Cutting out certain food groups without the supervision of a registered dietitian can result in nutritional deficiencies which can jeopardize health and wellbeing.
So can detox diets be part of a healthy lifestyle? The answer is no. The best way to make up for any overindulgence over the festive period is to eat a balanced diet with everything in moderation. Moderation ensures that you avoid too much of anything (including alcohol and caffeine), and will ensure optimal health. Watch your portion sizes and include regular exercise, which incidentally, has also been proven to contribute to your general health and wellbeing. Finally, remember that detox diets are more of a marketing ploy, and will not help you achieve your long-term health and wellbeing goals.
Have you been on a detox diet or about to embark on one? I’d love to read your comments in the comment box!