It’s hard not to get enticed by the promises of detox diets – quick weight loss, improved health, increased energy, better skin, the list goes on!
But do you really need to detox your body by following a special detox diet?
Do I need to do a detox?
The truth is, our bodies are amazing machines that function so efficiently and do everything we need to keep us alive. Every second of every day our body is naturally detoxing. The kidneys excrete unwanted waste in urine, the liver stops any toxins from being absorbed into the bloodstream, the gastrointestinal tract eliminates waste and even our lungs and skin excrete unwanted substances. If our body wasn’t able to detox itself, we’d be in big trouble…either very sick or 6 feet under!
Our body does a fine job of detoxing itself and there is no evidence that a special diet does anything to detox the body. However, eating a healthy balanced diet full of fresh fruit and veggies, plenty of water, not smoking or using recreational drugs and limiting alcohol is a natural way to avoid too many nasties entering the body and helping out our natural detoxification process
Should I do a juice cleanse?
The simple answer is no. But here’s why. Juice cleanses are typically short term (3 or 5 days) and promise everything from weight loss to vitality to improved health. A juice cleanse is really a starvation diet. It will of course result in temporary weight loss that is re-gained once normal eating returns.
People often say they feel unwell initially on these cleanses – headaches, bad breath, fogginess, and that this is sign of all the ‘toxins’ leaving the body.
This is not true – you feel unwell because you’re simply not eating enough.
As enticing and believable as it may seem, you can’t ‘cleanse’ your body with juice. Your body takes care of removing any unwanted substances through its own detoxification processes and juice doesn’t help. There’s no evidence that any type of diet or cleanse works to detox the body.
“A juice cleanse is really a starvation diet. It will of course result in temporary weight loss that is re-gained once normal eating returns”
Juice cleanses also claim to ‘give your digestive system a break’ and improve gut health, but there is no evidence to support these claims. In fact, juice actually lacks fibre and fibre is essential for feeding the good bacteria in the gut so it could actually be doing more harm than good.
Juice cleanses are a quick fix that might make you feel good temporarily if you drop a few kilos and don’t feel bloated, but they don’t offer any long- term sustainable benefits. Rather than living off juice temporarily you’re better off including all the whole fruits and veggies as part of a nutritious balanced diet that you can keep up long term.
Why do people always say they feel better when they go on a detox or juice cleanse?
It’s common to hear how vibrant, energised and nourished people feel once they’re on a detox, however, the truth is, if you cut back on alcohol, high sugar foods, processed and fast foods while increasing fresh fruit and vegetables, this will no doubt leave you feeling better.
You don’t need to cut out entire food groups to feel better, you just need to be more consistent with your healthy eating. Including more wholegrains, drinking plenty of water, increasing the amount of fruit and veg in your diet, eating less discretionary foods and reducing the amount of alcohol you consume will all make you feel more energised and less bloated.
There is very little benefit in cutting foods out for a short period of time, only to revert to former eating habits— instead focus on including more sustainable habits into your day than looking for short term ‘quick fixes’.
“You don’t need to cut out entire food groups to feel better, you just need to be more consistent with your healthy eating”