The promises are wide ranging, guaranteeing everything from quick weight loss to a swift removal of the toxins polluting your body.
The detox plan takes a variety of forms, but all seem to be bound by the principles of strict calorie-reduction, glugging an ocean’s worth of water, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and massively increasing fiber intake. The plans generally offer the ultimate weight loss quick-fix, which is a prospect that’s often too appealing to ignore.
However, before you part with your hard-earned cash, stop to consider if they really work; and if they do, how do they work? And did you know you might already be detoxing without even realizing it? If you didn’t then read on.
Should every body be cleansed?
Your body is beautifully resilient. Organs work sleeplessly to remove toxins, even if you’re fueling them on nothing but Burger King fare. What’s up for debate is whether or not outlandish detox dietary strategies bestow super powers on these natural processes? Of course, it’s important to realize there are always two sides to a story and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, they will help most people lose weight quickly, but this loss is almost never permanent.
Why? Well, most of the weight lost during a detox is thanks to a process called glycogen depletion. Glycogen is the carbohydrate you store in your liver and muscles. During exercise your body converts glycogen into glucose, which is the main fuel source for your organs and muscles. And without the usual carb supply from your regular eating habits, you lose this stored glycogen and also retain less water, giving you lower numbers on the bathroom scale.
Worryingly, there will also be a small amount of muscle wastage if a strict diet goes on for too long or is too severe; and that’s largely because detox diets don’t have high protein intakes.
Once you return to your normal eating habits, your body attempts to recover from what it has perceived as a starvation period and you quickly pile on the weight again, mainly as the result of your metabolic rate declining during detox. And it’s when you immediately try detoxing again that you get the yo-yo effect.
Fortunately, research in the journal Metabolism found that although 10-40% of people yo-yo diet, this does not negatively affect your ability to lose weight in the long term, so long as you make a lasting lifestyle or dietary change and not go for just a quick fix.
Research published in Harvard Health Publications found that despite claims from detox products, the human body, if treated with care, is able to maintain a healthy weight itself, despite your occasional indulgences. So you don’t need to punish yourself with a double-detox retreat every year; you just have to exercise moderation from time to time, especially for certain bodily systems like your digestion.
Cleansing your digestive system
What needs to be strong is your gut. Faced with a ceaseless workload, it cops the brunt of all your lifestyle and dietary choices. A detox diet, in the form of a short-term reduction of calories while simultaneously increasing water and fiber consumption, does give the digestion system a small reprieve from working overtime, as well as removing excess residual solid wastes from your colon.
Simply put, a detox that sees you avoiding large quantities of high-calorie low-nutrition foods will make you feel better, but only for a short time.
There’s little doubt that some foods can get stuck in your colon and intestines, but a question mark still hangs over the colonic irrigation tactic. For regular exercisers, a detoxing colonic is supposed to flush out your toxins, boost bowel function, improve your skin and make you feel lighter.
Sadly, when 20 studies on this practice were reviewed, little benefit was found in the concept of flushing out your bowels, according to research in the American Journal of Family Practice. On the flip side, the study did unearth a glut of not-so-fun side effects, like abdominal pain, nausea, dehydration and kidney failure. That in itself should be enough to discourage anyone from embarking on this detoxing pursuit.
After all, your colon is uniquely designed to purge itself of toxins naturally, so it doesn’t actually need any help, unless you’ve got an inherent medical problem. Plus, you have even less to worry about if you exercise regularly because getting sweaty stimulates your nervous system, helping the muscles and nerves in your gut to work properly.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to improve your digestive system. People who ate yogurt containing probiotic bacteria were protected against heavy metal exposure, found research done at the American Society for Microbiology. The L.rahamnosus bacteria in the probiotics were able to bind to toxic heavy metals in the gut and prevent them from being absorbed.
The smart approach is to follow a daily routine of clean, smart eating along with proper water and fiber consumption. And if you must detox, only use it as an infrequent short-term solution for 1-2 days to give the body’s digestion system a small break from its normal duties.
– RELATED: A Brief History Of Weight Loss, Fads And Diet Trends –
With all the bogus claims surrounding detoxing you’re right to be a skeptic. Here are two products that should come with warning flags.
The promise is a dream come true: slap some sticky stuff on your feet, have a sleep and when you wake up you can revel in seeing all the glorious toxins that have been pulled from your body. That’s what the manufacturers claim, anyway. However, the Mayo Clinic claims there are no scientific studies to show detox footpads work, adding, they could even be unsafe. What’s more, The Federal Trade Commission has charged some distributors with deceptive advertising. Too good to be true. Yep, we think so.
Doctors often recommend that you shouldn’t put anything bigger or smaller than your elbow into your ear when trying to clean them out, so these candles are so unobtrusive that they’re surely harmless, right? Useless more like. Research in Canadian Family Physician found that ear candling is completely fraudulent and doesn’t treat a single ailment. The wax that’s supposedly pulled from your ear is actually wax from the candle itself.
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