Food & Drink

Are Detox Diets Safe? Let’s Talk About It

Two mason jars and various ingredients for popular detox drinks and diets.

Detox diets, juice cleanses, and all kinds of weight loss elixirs tend to be quite popular, but it’s worth wondering how safe and effective they really are

You may be seeing your favorite fit-fluencer bragging about how their new detox diet helped them lose 10 lbs. or how a particular food got them their shredded abs and feel the urge to try it for yourself.

Sometimes even healthcare providers, dieticians, and other authority figures like trainers and coaches may encourage you to try these diets out. But it’s worth wondering how safe these diets really are. Let’s look at some of their pros and cons:

They severely restrict caloric intake

A Detox diet seems to work because they tend to severely restrict your caloric intake and requirements. They limit you to a few hundred to just over a thousand calories a day, mostly from nutrient devoid and liquid-based foods.

This will definitely lead to weight loss and some form of metabolic changes in the short term, making you feel like the results are working. However, they are not long-lasting, and the weight will most likely return when you do resume normal eating patterns.  

These diets are often liquid-based

In some cases, such as medical conditions or disorders, you may be prescribed a liquid-based diet. However, it’s unlikely that a liquid or fluid-based diet such as a cleanse will have longstanding benefits on your well-being.

Instead, they may cause other issues such as constipation, nutritional deficiencies, excess urination and dehydration, and unnecessary stress on your body. It’s important to recognize that these diets are doing a lot more harm than good to your body and its systems.

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They’re high-effort and unsustainable

A major issue with many detoxes cleanses, and diets is that they’re very high effort and, thus, unsustainable. Not only do many of them require extensive planning and preparation, but they tend to use high volumes of expensive ingredients and add-ons, including pills and supplements.

They also demand a lot of personal effort and restriction, making them unrealistic and unsustainable for long-term use. This means you’re unlikely to be able to continue them beyond a certain timespan and will most likely resort to previous eating patterns and behaviors.

They don’t actually eliminate toxins

This may come as a surprise to many people, but detox diets don’t actually eliminate toxins from your body. Shocking right? Your liver and kidneys do that. In fact, your skin, lungs, and intestines also help detox your system through regular bodily functions such as urination, sweating, pooping, breathing--you get the gist. Your body is an incredible, complex machine that has amazing systems in place to keep it healthy and detox cleanses and diets won’t do much at all.

The only semblance of detoxification is that they act as diuretics and make you urinate more, but that’s about it. They can’t actually ‘flush toxins out’ of our systems.

Instead of harmful detox diets and drinks, why not work on adding more wholesome ingredients to your diet? You can try some popular healthy snacks and add more juices and blends (along with regular food) to build a healthier diet on the whole.

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