|Detox Diets May
Do You More
Harm Than Good
Real detox is a regular discipline with food rather than faddish pursuits
If the latest detox diet your friend swears by is something you have been thinking of giving a try, it is time to first get your facts right.
Quick-fix detox diets as recommended in several best-sellers and on the internet may do you more harm than good, nutritionists warn.
We need to understand that detoxification is a process of eliminating toxins from the body and it is a continuous discipline, not a one-time wonder. A balanced meal is what would help you eliminate toxins from your body basis, not once a week or a month or a year.
Detoxification means eliminating toxins – harmful chemicals – from the body and our body does this continuously through the colon, kidney, lungs, lymph glands and even the skin.
Detoxifying your body continuously is part of a healthy lifestyle. This process helps the body function in a more balanced way. Eat a balanced meal – four-five servings of fruits and vegetables and lots of water.
There are many easily available foods that you can include in your daily diet to ensure proper cleansing.
Herbal concoctions like cinnamon, fennel, cumin and mint boiled in water, also aid digestion and clear your system.
As environmental toxins and unhealthy foods like processed foods, build up excessive toxins in the body, high fibre food and water aid in a detox.
Occasionally, in extreme cases – like someone with a gastro problem or a medical condition that needs assistance with detoxifying – two or three days of a diet are recommended which cleanses the system. However, such diet is to be followed for not more than two or three days at a time and it varies according to the individual's requirement and must be done only under supervision.
According to nutritionists, most of the 'detox' diet programmes that recommend you adopt a certain dietary regimen for a couple of days to a few weeks, may not be good for your body. Even though such diets are becoming popular, there is not much scientific evidence to prove the health benefits of a detox diet programme.
The adverse effects, according to nutritionists could range from fluctuation in sugar levels to long-term effects that your body undergoes due to this yo-yoing.
For instance, if you decide by yourself to go on a water only or a liquid diet, or any other crash diet, the first thing to realize is that it is unrealistic and cannot be maintained. Just as in any other crash diet, you would lose muscle and water and the moment you discontinue the diet, you will regain the weight that you lost rapidly during such a diet when you end it. The worst part is the deficiencies you create in the body due to these forced crash diets. In the long-run, your weight will start yo-yoing, fluctuating.
Various studies have shown that yo-yoing could cause heart and blood sugar problems in the long term.
If this happens for a prolonged period of, say more than a year, it may not necessarily lead to obesity but would definitely lead to an increased percentage of fat, and other effects of malnutrition, like brittle bones, bad hair and bad skin.
In the long run metabolism gets affected and when one starts to consume food again, in a sudden about turn, the extra calories would lead to fat and weight gain. Going for an un-supervised crash or detox diet could also cause dehydration.
Some of the detox diets that have hit the popularity charts include the 28-day raw detox: It is based on a raw vegan diet and promises to kickstart your weight loss programme.
Then there is the Master Cleanse or Lemonade Diet. This strict diet is based on consuming lots of water along with a combination of maple syrup and lemonade. While promises cleansing, the diet clearly states that half of the weight lost as a result would be regained as soon as you stop it.
There is also the Raw Food diet which involves consuming only uncooked food, and the Clean, Green and Lean, a four-week programme that promises to eliminate toxins that make you fat.