Our increasingly health-conscious society is turning more to detox diets as a means of achieving or maintaining good health, as well as to lose weight. Holistic healers tell us that these diets will help us purge our bodies of toxins and make us lose weight quickly. Detox diets come in the form of pills, teas and herbs and are readily available on the store shelves or online.
But are these detox diets necessary and do they do what they claim? Many doctors and dietitians will tell you that the body does not need any substance for internal cleansing. It is designed to cleanse itself. Detox diets allow only unprocessed plant foods and gallons of water or special beverages. These are supposed to flush the liver, kidneys and lymph nodes.
Because of these restrictions, detox diets may help you lose weight initially, but the weight returns as soon as you resume your normal pattern of eating. The limited number of foods and calories deprives the body of essential nutrients and places you at risk for disease. Also the massive fluid losses dehydrate the body, causing headaches, fatigue and stomach upset.
Some people like to go on a detox diet for a day or two if they have overindulged in food and drink. This may not hurt, but should not become a habit. If you must overindulge, do it with fresh and/or dried fruits, vegetables and nuts. This way you will not need to detox. If you are having stomach problems and your doctor thinks you might benefit from some form of internal cleansing, then he will prescribe one.
The safest way to detox is to allow the body to do it on its own. However, you can assist by following a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition, exercise and drinking enough water. If you need to lose weight, this advice also applies. Consult your doctor or dietitian for more information.
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