Detoxing... Is it bull$#!@?

I know that it’s going to spark some controversy, but I have finally arrived at a place in life where I feel it is more important to get accurate, science-based information to our clients, rather than fear that you might be offended. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked, “Should I do a detox?” People have come up with all sorts of cleanses and detox diets, from juicing to only raw foods and everything in between. Let’s take a closer look.

The Positives:

  • Some detox diets promote nutrient dense foods: lemons, green teas, omega 3’s, and colorful fruits and veggies.

  • Some detox diets can help us identify food sensitivities by eliminating some of the biggest offenders and then slowly adding them back into our diet and being mindful of how we feel when we eat them.

The Negatives:

  • First of all, the body was designed to detoxify itself. When we eat healthy, nutritious, whole foods and exercise regularly, we have very little or no need to actually detoxify.

  • Most of these detox diets are inconvenient. You have to drink this special drink 5x per day and you have to avoid 20 different kinds of foods. This doesn’t fit into my idea of sustainable.

  • Most are low calorie, which is one of the reasons we gain more weight when we are done with the detox. Lowering calories, especially for women, can slow metabolism and force us to hold onto body fat.

  • Most detoxes cause a big swing in blood sugar levels. These swings are not only challenging for the system to handle, but they promote weight gain and can push you into a pre-diabetic state.

  • The lack of nutrient, particularly fiber, forces us to have gastrointestinal issues. The GI tract is one of our biggest detoxifiers. Doesn’t this sort of defeat the purpose of doing a detox?

  • The lack of protein in most detox diets is concerning because protein is what helps our bodies function to naturally eliminate toxins. Again, this defeats the purpose of doing a detox.

Speaking from personal experience, I used to do a yearly detox that consisted of a strict regimen of juicing and cleansing powders. Every year, I ended up getting sick during or after the detox. It is a $100 billion behemoth of an industry with juices, powders, guides, recipe books, etc. And it just keeps growing.

Be strong, be healthy, and be fit. Exercise daily and eat a diet of mostly whole foods. Your body will naturally do the rest.

Have you ever done a detox diet?

NutritionAaron Leventhal