Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Detoxing Diets – Do They Work?

Pin It Now!

‘Raw food diet’, ‘fat flush diet’ or ‘liver cleansing diets’.  Sound familiar?  If you’ve tried it, then chances are that the person next to you has too.  A website search tells me that the most popular craze today is the ‘Master cleanse / Lemonade diet’. 

But what drives you to try these diets?  Radiant and dewy skin?  Glossy hair?  A tiny waist? 

The diets do promise weight loss, purified glands, slower rate of aging or help alleviating symptoms of headaches or bloating.  

Yet, I can’t find a single shred of evidence to support any of these claims.  

It seems that there is every reason to question and protest, but what’s the likelihood that the creators will volunteer the evidence (if any) behind these diets?  Regardless of diet type, what these diets have in common is minimal calorie intake.  In short, these are simply starvation diets in the quest for extreme beauty.  For entrepreneurs, this is merely an opportunity to sell supposed health cleansers for a healthy margin. 

The first and only time I tried a ‘’detox diet’, I was a teenager.  I rushed out to purchase the few and only items recommended on the diet – fruits and vegetables.  Day one, I felt invigorated and purified, but just a little bit hungry.  Day two, as advised by the author, I stuck to my exercise regime.  Sweating apparently helps expel toxins.  I later dragged my embarassed self home after blacking out in the middle of my favourite aerobic class. 

What the authors probably don’t tell you are the side effects such as headaches and lethargy to name just a few.  Although a very active person, I couldn’t complete my usual runs.  I knew that I had to surrender and hence day three was the sensible termination of the diet.

As expected, my quick literature review of the detox diets disappointingly revealed that there isn’t anything worthy to report.  There is no scientific evidence to support any of the health claims and worse, the authors fail to highlight the potential side effects of following the restrictive diets.

By all means, try a diet if it pleases you, but I am not sure that it will make a tremendous difference to your body.  Be prepared to gain half, if not all of the weight shed as quickly as you lost it on resuming your usual diet.  

A few days on a ‘cleansing diet’ may do no harm, but consider yourself warned if you decide to continue the diet for longer. 

The detox diets are not nutritionally adequate and not recommended long term.

In my humble opinion, a more rewarding investment would be weekly visits to a near-by grocers market.  Enjoy and reap the benefits of the promised vitamins and minerals from your fruit and vegetables by eating it as part of a healthy and nutritious diet, every day.

For more information on fruit and vegetables, you may enjoy this article I discovered on BBC.