There are many, many avenues one could venture down when speaking about weight-loss, fat-loss and nutrition. I choose to write about this topic as I feel it warrants the most urgency- so let’s try to detox you of these nonsensical claims.
I got a lot of questions recently, likely given the new year is on the horizon and most people try to start out on the right foot, which is great. “Is there a detox diet you recommend? I’ve drank and ate a lot the last month”, “I need a kickstart ?”., etc.
Detox diets are popular “strategies” that claim to allow the body to eliminate toxins and incur weight loss and thus allows you to be “healthier”, “happier” (Good one !!) and “Improve well-being”. Sounds great…….right ?
These detoxification diets range from starvation fasts, to juice fasts, to one food only (Cabbage, apples, etc) to food modification approaches, use of laxatives, diuretics, vitamins and minerals and also “Cleansing food” and the list goes on……and on……and on…..and ON !!!
So here’s the deal, the human body has developed and evolved a highly sophisticated and complex mechanisms for eliminating toxins. The Liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal system, lungs and even skin play their roles in excretion of unwanted substances.
The main health risks of these “detox” diets are that they often result in severe energy restriction and nutritional inadequacy. Extreme fasting may lead to protein and vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, there has also been reported cases of lactic acidosis and even death. Detox dieters have also been reported to be at risk of overdosing on supplements, laxatives, diuretics or even water.
The lack of regulation in the dieting/nutrition industry as a whole is concerning, let alone the detox advocates promoting/selling the “magic beans” to people. These enticing adverts come with a host of purported benefits typically by someone who appears to be in good shape and/or health (Did they get that body or physique via this detox plan and/or in 7/10/14 days…..NO !) or else celebrities market this stuff for a quick few quid for a mention here and there.
These people (or “influencers”) are not qualified or educated on such topics, and if they are then it’s just outright nasty to use peoples’ insecurities and naivety , but such is the “health” and fitness industry.
Currently there is ZERO scientific studies that investigate the effectiveness of commercial detox diets for losing weight.
From all of this we can see why detox diets simply do NOT work, may cause health issues and can be outright dangerous. Stay clear of the marketing ploys that claim to “detox”, “cleanse”, “reinvent” or “revamp” etc,etc.
Cohen M (2007) ‘Detox’: science or sales pitch? Aust Fam Physician 36, 1009 –1010.
Ernst E (2012) Alternative detox. Br Med Bull 101,33-38.
Klein A.V. & Kiat H. (2015) Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. 28,675–686
Obert, J., Pearlman, M., Obert, L. and Chapin, S. (2017). Popular Weight Loss Strategies: a Review of Four Weight Loss Techniques. Current Gastroenterology Reports, 19(12).