Detox Diets - Good or Bad?*

Wednesday, 25 May 2016, By Keenan Mowat

If you do a simple search of the internet you will soon realise that there are a great deal of diets and dietary information out there. A lot of it can be confusing, misleading and contradictory. Detox diets are one such popular diet that seems to have captured the attention of those looking for a quick fix to solve their health problems. These diets claim to flush toxins from your body leading to more energy and weight loss. They typically promise amazing results in a limited amount of time. When it comes down to the scientific evidence however, detox diets fall short and disturbingly, have potential to cause more harm than good.

Detox diets often involve some kind of juice, or smoothie while fasting, and encourage severe restriction of whole food groups like breads and cereals, dairy or meat usually lasting anywhere from three days up to a month. Excluding whole food groups from your diet makes it difficult to meet nutritional needs which can be dangerous, especially for children, adolescents, pregnant or breastfeeding women and older adults. A healthy diet should be balanced and contain a variety of healthy foods to meet individual nutritional needs. This is crucial for proper bodily functioning and also very important to ensure disease prevention.

As humans we have extraordinary systems existing within us for removing toxins from our bodies every day. Organs in our body including our lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and our immune system, all contribute towards the removal and neutralisation of toxic substances within hours after they enter our bodies. The Dietetics Association of Australia (DAA) warns that there is NO scientific evidence to suggest that our bodies require any 'help' to remove these toxins. In fact, when consuming a 'detox' juice, smoothie or other supplement, you are by definition doing the exact opposite of detoxing. Fortunately, your amazing organs will soon after consuming the product swing into action and perform the required processing to detox and neutralise the substances.

Many detox diets are expensive and realistically are designed to only offer a short-term solution. In Summary, it is fair to conclude that a detox diet is not the answer to feeling more energised and healthy or to lose weight long term and keep it off. The basic nutritional pillars to better health is to cut down on 'extras' such as alcohol, foods containing added sugar and salt, and foods high in saturated fat. Instead, replace these with fresh fruits, vegetables, high protein foods and whole grain foods. We should also drink plenty of water and aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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