Detox diets have gone in and out of fashion a dozen times in the last twenty years, with as many variations to the theme. While recent studies have shown that following a detox diet does not necessarily lead to improved kidney or liver function, it can give you more energy, speed up your metabolism and make you feel healthier, especially if you’ve been feeling sluggish and bloated lately.
In all detox diets it is important to drink a lot of water, but it is not recommended that you drink more than six pints in a day, as this can cause kidney damage, and possibly even neurological damage at the base of your brain.
What is a Detox Diet?
A lot of people go on detox diets, without really knowing what they’re trying to achieve. A detox diet is not necessarily a diet for weight loss. Rather it is a means of ridding the body of excess toxins and attempting to ‘re-set’ your metabolism by flushing everything out of your system, while at the same time flooding your body’s cells with water. There are two broad types of detox
1) Full Detox
A full detox diet is a diet that is extremely limited, usually to only fruits, vegetables and water. Occasionally it is followed while using a detox product or natural laxative to ensure that the colon is emptied as much as possible.
Full detox diets can cause sudden weight loss, but this is usually just a case of retained water being shed as your body’s metabolic processes get a kick-start. An extremely low-calorie diet, even if only followed for two days (any longer is not recommended), can cause your body to go into ‘starvation mode’, and will inhibit your weight loss goals.
2) Specific Detox
A specific detox targets specific types of food that you want to avoid, such as dairy or wheat. These can be very useful if you have an intolerance to wheat or dairy, but generally eat small amounts of it anyway. This can cause bloating and discomfort, so it’s good to give up on them for a few days every now and then.
No specific products are used for this, but if you are giving up dairy it is recommended that you find other sources of calcium, and protein if you are vegetarian.
Do Detox Diets Work?
A recent study has shown that a detox diet did not to make any significant difference to the number of toxins eliminated from the body. The speed at which toxins are eliminated from the body is dependent on how fast the organs can process them. The general health of the liver and kidneys seems to be unaffected by detox diets.
So, detox diets aren’t a great way to cleanse the system. Instead, this can be done only by eating right and exercising regularly. On the other hand, they can be good ways to correct water retention, or to eliminate a troublesome food from your diet. They can work as crash diets, but you are likely to put the weight back on as soon as you start eating again.