Detox regimens have no proven benefit. When the kidneys, liver, and gastrointestinal tract are healthy, they cleanse the body of toxins and harmful substances by themselves.
Detoxing increases the risk of electrolyte imbalance, increases your blood sugar and can damage your bowels in the long term.
A healthier alternative to detox is a long-term change in your diet.
Detox cures are often advertised as a “quick fix” if you have overeating, for example. Many of their proponents also say they are a way to lose weight effectively. However, a detox is not always the best decision for your health – on the contrary, it can even harm you. Here you can find out why detox cures usually don’t work and what risks they pose for your health.
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What Is A Detox?
Detox or detox is – in the original sense of the word – a practice with the help of which you rid your body of toxic chemicals such as drugs and alcohol. Currently, the only medically recommended and monitored detoxification is the so-called chelation therapy. The chelating agents that are administered are intended to bind the poison in the event of metal poisoning – such as lead so that the body can excrete it in the urine. “You need this type of detox when something like lead has built up in your body, and the blood is filtering the toxin through your body,” says Denise DelPrincipe, a US nutritionist from Midland, Texas.
A newer variant of detoxification is now often referred to as “Detox” or “Cleanse.” Both of these relate to eliminating toxins from the body that can build up from unhealthy lifestyle habits such as excessive alcohol or candy consumption.
These trending detoxes are said to help with this:
- To lose weight
- to increase the energy level
- Relieve constipation, headaches, sore muscles, or tiredness
Common Types Of Detox Agents
There are many different types of detox, each with specific health claims:
- Fasting: This includes not eating for long periods. The idea behind this type of detox is that you take a “break” from eating foods that, according to the theory, can lead to a build-up of toxins in your body.
- All liquid diets: These detoxes usually consist of only eating liquids such as certain juices for a certain period. Usually, the reason for this type of detox is to lose weight.
- Excessive exercise or frequent sauna visits: Have you ever heard the phrase “sweat out”? Excessive exercise or sauna visits that lead to excessive sweating are one way people try to rid their bodies of unwanted toxins.
Mainstream Detoxes Don’t Work
There is currently no research to prove that a trendy detox or cleanse is effective. “There isn’t any added benefit beyond meeting your basic daily needs for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains from a detox diet,” said McKenzie Caldwell, a nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Your body has a detoxification system that involves multiple organs that help flush out toxins. This includes:
- The gastrointestinal tract, which excretes waste products.
- The liver is your primary filtration system, helping to process and remove waste from the body.
- The kidneys, excreting the extra fluid that you pass in your urine.
The Weight That You Lose Quickly, You Gain Back More Quickly
Although some people initially lose weight during a detox, the effect is usually not permanent. It does not target the root of the problem – which often lies in an unhealthy diet.
Jason McKnight, Assistant Professor at the College of Medicine at Texas A&M University, USA, says that people with generally unhealthy diets often incorporate more vegetables into their diets and drink more water during detox. As a result, they often lose a lot of weight in the beginning. “But about a week later, when you go back to your old eating habits, you’ll just keep that fluid back up and put the weight back on pretty quickly,” McKnight explains.
A good rule of thumb for weight loss is that weight loss quickly is gained again quickly. But if you lose weight slowly and sustainably, the yo-yo effect occurs less often.
“Anytime you throw your body into these random shocks to your system, there can be long-term effects,” McKnight says. On average, adult men should consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories and women between 1,600 and 2,400. Many purely liquid or other detox cures then drastically reduce the calorie intake.
If you are in a calorie deficit in this way for an extended period, it can affect your bone health. It can also upset your electrolyte balance, which ultimately helps muscles like the heart to contract.
“The heart beats because of an electrolyte balance, namely between potassium and sodium. If this is disturbed, problems can arise,” says nutritionist Denise DelPrincipe. While this may not be a problem with short-term detoxes, it can become one if you do a detox routine several times a year.