Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Detox or Not?

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English: Simplifast lemon detox diet beverage

English: Simplifast lemon detox diet beverage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saint Augustine once said that “fasting cleanses the soul [and] raises the mind.” Historically, fasting has its roots in religion and spirituality, but these days has been adopted as a quick pathway to weight loss. These “detox diets” or “cleanses” are everywhere. Take a look at the various book titles: “The Fast Track Detox Diet,” “The Raw Food Detox Diet,” “Super Cleanse: Detox Your Body for Long-Lasting Health and Beauty” and “21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox.” As many as 3 million Americans think that colonic hydrotherapy, a component of many detox methods,  is the answer to good health.   Proponents say detox diets rid the body of impurities and boost energy.  Colonic therapy can be downright dangerous leading to complications such as:

  • Dehydration risks
  • Possibility of  bowel perforations
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Changes in your electrolytes, which can be dangerous if you have kidney disease or other health problems

In general, apart from colonic detox methods,  stay away from any diet approach including detox diets that:

  • promises accelerated weight loss by using a special liquid concoction. Such a diet, when followed long term, can lead to serious side effects, as well as malnutrition and malaise.
  • eliminates entire food groups for extended periods of time, as this can cause essential nutrient deficiencies. Eliminating nonessential items, such as alcohol, caffeine or meat, is fine, but a healthy diet should include essential oils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and complete proteins.

For a excellent review of this dietary approach, visit the article found on WebMD.


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