‘Detox’ is a buzzword in the dieting world! The idea behind it is that we need to periodically clear the ‘toxins’ from our body in order to stay healthy. In particular, we might be tempted to detox after over-indulging a little, especially after festivals. Some of the claims made include:
- Magical weight loss
- Improved digestion
- Improved energy levels
- Boosted immune system
- Banishment of cellulite.
Detox diets can last from around one day to around one month and may involve fasting for short periods of time, consuming only fruits and vegetables, cutting out wheat and dairy foods, consuming a limited range of foods, avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
If the human body really accumulated lots of toxins, then we would feel ill. The concept of detox diets is irrational and unscientific. In actual fact, when you starve your body of calories, your body will ultimately start to build up chemicals called ketones. These chemicals can result in nausea, dehydration, weakness, light-headedness and irritability. Further, a prolonged lack of protein causes your body to break down its own muscles and can compromise your immune system. The breaking down of muscles and prolonged caloric restriction causes weight loss.
Detox diets are marketing myths rather than a nutritional reality. They sound like a great concept and it would be fabulous if they really delivered all that they promised! Unfortunately, many of the claims made by detox diet promoters are wild and exaggerated – it’s best to stick to the sound, sensible, science-based advice you will always get from impartial, qualified, registered dietitians. I promise you; your liver, kidney and skin are more than capable of ‘detoxing’ your body!
By Certified Nutritionist Soumya Kumar