Feeling tired? Do you want to lose weight? Lose belly fat? Are you feeling a bit sluggish and the need to rid your body of all toxins?
Well you're in luck, we have just what you need...
In this week's Bite-Sized Breakdown, we are going over detox diets and cleanses? Are they necessary? Do they work? What does the science say?
What are detox diets and cleanses?
Detox diets and cleanses are short term, fast acting approaches that are designed to rid the body of harmful toxins and in turn, basically fix anything that is ailing you. They are typically extremely restrictive in their food options.They can be comprised of fruits, vegetable juices, magical special drinks, lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper and just about any other concoction you can imagine.
The Promise: If you rid your body of it's accumulated toxins; you'll feel better, have more energy, lose weight, burn body fat and just become more awesome overall.
However, we must ask ourselves...Do our bodies even accumulate toxins?
While I'm sure we can all agree, that things such as pesticides, pollutants, tobacco, extreme consumption of heavy metals are unequivocally bad for us. The same cannot always be said of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, added sugars, food coloring and synthetic chemicals.
We must remember that "poison is in the dose". Even water can be deadly, if you drink too much in too short a time (by disrupting the concentration of electrolytes for the muscles, including the heart to function).
Calling something (natural or not) toxic without context, dosage, etc. is too simplistic and does not provide the full picture of whether or not it's a threat to your overall health.
Does the body need cleansing?
Even if a substance is noxious (harmful to health or physical well being), a cleanse won't help. A cleanse will just more than likely weaken the body overall.
But you're in luck!! We are already equipped with a built in, top of the line "CLEANSER 2000"!!
The liver, kidneys, lungs, etc. are masters at removing harmful substances and waste products. The best fuel for this natural "scrubbing bubbles" system, is not a fad diet but just a well fed body. You take care of it and it will take care of you.
What does the science say?
Studies on cleanses are scarce and at best, not very convincing (due to bias, small sample sizes, reliance on self-reporting, etc.) A 2009 investigation, found that not a single company behind 15 commercial detox supplements, could supply any form of evidence for their effectiveness or safety.
However, even with the lack of evidence these approaches still spread by word-of-mouth like wildfire.
Why is that?
It's likely due to rapid weight loss. Whenever you deprive the body of carbohydrates, there will be a significant water loss as glycogen is depleted. This can result in multiple pounds of body weight lost very quickly. However, as soon as the glycogen is replenished the weight will return.
So unfortunately, this short term water/weight loss becomes confused with overall effectiveness and distracts from a more long-term sustainable approach.
This short term weight loss (perceived as proof of effectiveness), can allow these ineffective and misleading dietary approaches to be reborn again and again, under a new protocol and a new promise.
Let's finish this up, with one final full gulp of lemon and maple infused truth...Bite-Sized style.
The evidence to support detox diets and cleanses just isn't there. When it comes to our health, there are no quick fixes. We must develop long term dietary strategies, if our goal is longevity and optimal health.
"Detoxes" and "Cleanses" are just not necessary. We all have a natural detoxification and cleansing system (lungs, kidneys, liver, etc.) built in. It doesn't run on fad diets or magical potions; but on a well fed body, fueled by real food and a balanced sustainable approach.
If we take care of our body, it will take care of us. No additives needed!