How can detox diet empty your gut and your pocket

A friend of mine has recently flooded his FB page with photos of himself on a a beautiful beach somewhere in Thailand. Turquoise ocean, white sand and palm trees – you get the picture… And surprisingly no photographs of food – his longtime obsession. Why? Because he went to this beautiful resort for a detox vacation.

If you do not know what a detox vacation is – this basically means that you pay shit loads of money to the owners of this detox center and in return they make you fast for several days and then feed you some “nutritious juices made of unique ingredients that will cleanse your body of all the accumulated toxins and restore your natural energy levels”. Something of that sort…

Go and ask google about “detox diet” and you will be shocked. Internet is flooded with so much information on benefits of various detox diets, they are endorsed by celebrities and by testimonials of countless detox practitioners. The information, or rather advertisement, is so abundant  it is sometimes really hard to tell truth from lies.

Majority of the detox diets include certain level of fasting and replacement of your usual foods with “uniquely” formulated nutritious juices and cocktails, some will also add various supplements and colon therapy procedures to make it even more fun.  Most detox diets claim pretty much the same thing: they will help you remove harmful toxins from your body, lose weight and fight obesity (hmm, probably NOT eating those doughnuts and letting go of french fries in return for a salad will be more effective), fight fatigue, stress, anxiety, acne, insomnia,  cellulite (hellooooo ladies, this is the ultimate cellulite solution!), get rid of digestive problems (hell yeah, you are fasting and there is nothing to digest!). These promises are very hmmm… promising, don’t you think?

We all know that in the modern word we are exposed to a great number of pollutants and toxins. Unless you are living somewhere on a self-sustainable farm in New Zealand, you are bound to breath in exhaust gases, eat GMO food contaminated with pesticides and drink  not so clean “mountain spring” water. Can you imagine that during only the last 100 years, more than 75,000 new chemicals have been introduced into the world, and majority of them have not been even tested for safety to humans. Apart from these external toxins, our bodies also produce the so-called internal toxins or waste products, as part of our own existence.

All these things sound quite terrifying and they are are a perfect background for marketers of the “detox” diets and centers feeding on fear and ignorance and filling their pockets with some extra cash. Why is that? Because our bodies are the best and the most effective detoxification machine! It is designed to have incredibly powerful defense and cleansing mechanisms: liver, lymphatic system, colon, urinary system and kidneys, skin – all these organs are cleaning our bodies 24 x 7 and helping us get rid of all the wastes and toxins.

All the detox diets are based on a theory that our body needs help in cleansing itself, however there is no scientific proof to justify this statement. None whatsoever. A healthy body  does not need any interference in removing waste products. If your kidneys or liver are not doing their job then the last thing you need is a detox diet. You will be much better rushing to the doctor asap.

Can detox diets be harmful then? You bet! Drastic reduction in calorie intake causes initial lost of weight that comes back even faster once you are off the diet. Nutrient deficiency can easily  undermine your body’s ability to fight infection and inflammation. Prolonged protein deficiency is very common for detox diets and will cause muscle breakdown. You should also be prepared to spend a lot of time in the bathroom and here goes your disturbed bowel micro flora, dehydration or electrolyte disbalance.

But wait, you will say, some people claim it helped them and they felt better? How is that possible?  

For an average person consuming diet consisting of highly processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, switch over to raw vegetables and juices will definitely bring initial feeling of lightness magnified by the sense of accomplishment that they are finally doing something good for their bodies. This however, in case of a prolonged detox will be followed by lethargy, low energy and concentration levels. Many people will also lose weight due to severe calorie restriction and will definitely feel very good about it. Unfortunately his weight will come back faster than you can say “colon hydrotherapy”.

There is no magic “feelbetter” pill on this planet and detox is definitely not a remedy that will save your body from poor lifestyle and nutrition choices. Fix your food habits and your body will take care of the rest!

So what about my friend? He came back with a nice tan and lost a couple of pounds in weight and a couple of thousand pounds in cash. Being a food slave that he is – I am wondering how fast will those weight pounds come back?

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