Detoxification is a process many people use to expel unwanted toxins from their bodies, following a regimen that closely resembles what others might call a “cleansing.” In short, detox diets typically involve drinking plenty of water and eating some fruits and vegetables, in effect drastically cutting calories for a short period of time to enhance their body’s health and maybe – as a bonus – drop a few pounds in the process.
Per timesofindia.com, there is an assortment of such processes that could all be categorized as detox diets. Some include no eating at all (fasting) while focusing on liquid intake only; others might call for eating only fruit, (such as grapes), and some that go so far as to make use of enemas and laxatives.
For someone looking to drop the few pounds needed to squeeze into that tux or favorite dress for next weekend’s wedding or who exited Thanksgiving weekend seven pounds heftier than they were a week earlier, a detox diet might be a short-term solution. Whether following such a regimen for the longer term is a good idea is certainly open to debate, if not criticism.
What Kind of Toxins Are We Talking About?
Let’s first make sure we are talking about the right kind of detoxification. One involves a situation in which a child or even an adult has accidentally swallowed a poison or an overdose of prescription pills, and an emergency detox at the hospital is in order. That’s hot what this blog is about.
Chemical toxins, such as industrial pollutants or even substances found in your home such as formaldehyde in carpet and PFCs in upholstered furniture, per edf.org, are essentially “everywhere.” Once these more common toxins have entered your body as a matter of everyday living (and often unknown to you), your liver and kidneys are your major organs at work 24/7 processing and filtering out these toxins before they are expelled via urination, perspiration, and bowel movements, per timesofindia.com.
Left to its own devices, and assuming you are reasonably healthy, your body can handle the elimination of toxins pretty much by itself.
Detox Diets Aimed at Weight Loss
If you have started a detox diet, telling loved ones and acquaintances that you are doing it only for cleansing purpose, while deep down knowing your goal really is to lose weight, there are some points to consider:
- The weight you’re losing is most likely water weight and not fat, and fat loss is instrumental to success in a true, long-term weight-loss program.
- Per verywellfit.com, crash dieting – which is what detox dieting is, let’s be honest – can lead to muscle loss and even a drop in energy levels. That can be detrimental for people who regularly participate in sports or exercise, or those who have physically demanding jobs.
- Detoxing for the longer term can slow down your metabolism, making future attempts to lose weight a lost cause (and by “lost cause” we don’t mean “lost weight”).
- Most people quickly gain back the weight soon after ending their detox diet.
- Detox diets aren’t for everyone. Diabetics, pregnant women, children, and teenagers are advised to avoid detox diets, per verywellfit.com, as well as anyone with a heart condition or other serious medical concern. At the very least, a consultation with your physician is in order before starting a detox diet.
A Detox Diet Could Be a Start to Something Good
It’s conceivable – and again, that doctor’s consultation is in order – that a detox diet, presumably of a week-or-less duration, could be a good kick-start to a healthy, well-planned weight-loss program with the potential to become a lifestyle and not just a fad diet with a foreseeable stopping point.
The way to think of a detox diet is to not regard it as a permanent solution to weight loss, as lifehack.org puts it. Perhaps when you transition out of a detox diet – during which you presumably (hopefully, in your mind) have cleaned out the last remnants of “regular” toxins from your digestive or lymph systems – you can keep your weight-loss momentum going.
Consider taking sweets out of your diet, drinking water throughout the day, avoiding simple carbohydrates and highly-processed foods, and constructing a diet plan that is plentiful with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, and plugging any gaps with carefully selected nutritional supplements. Whatever you do, talk it through with a nutritionist or other health professional.