For example, the authors of one study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism advise that consumers exercise caution and critical thinking when choosing a detox. They also suggest getting advice from a trained clinician, noting that "there remain many unresolved issues regarding knowing how and what foods modulate detoxification pathways.”
Almost all detox programs are limited in duration. For example, three-day detox programs are widely promoted on celebrity blogs and websites. Because these diets are highly restrictive, it generally isn't realistic to sustain them for longer than a week or two at the most. Staying on a highly restrictive detox diet for too long can lead to malnutrition and excessive weight loss.
Ian K. Smith, MD, agrees. Dr. Smith is the author of several best-selling diet books. He explains that the liver, kidney, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal system remove toxins that accumulate in the body. But he says that following a detox diet full of natural foods can enhance the body's ability to cleanse. He advises caution about assuming healthfulness when choosing a detox diet. "Detoxes have gotten very trendy, and many of them are unhealthy and quite dangerous."
A good plan provides enough calories and nutrients to sustain you (the average woman needs 1,200 to 1,800 calories) and includes fiber and lean protein. With that in mind, Ventrelle created a 1,400-calorie plan (below) exclusively for Women's Health . (Note: Calories given are for a 5'3" to 5'5", 115- to 125-pound woman. You may need to adjust for your own height, weight, age, and activity level.) Following it for at least three days will kick-start weight loss, but it's safe to use as long as you'd like.
Breakfast • 8 oz water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice • Scrambled egg whites with chopped fresh herbs (such as basil or oregano), topped with a dollop of salsa, and 1 slice whole-wheat toast, dry or 1 cup cooked oats or cooked oatmeal topped with ½ cup berries or 2 Tbsp nuts • 8 oz decaffeinated green or herbal tea.
Detox diets that are very low in calories . "Look for one that will give you enough calories throughout the day, so that you can function normally," says Dr. Smith. Armstrong adds that very low-calorie plans should only be followed with medical supervision. Detox diets that make big promises. Avoid programs that promise unusually quick weight loss or a cure for a disease. You may also want to be wary of diets that require you to buy expensive pills or products. Detox diets that eliminate food groups. Armstrong recommends that you look for a detox plan that includes a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, rather than relying on juices and supplements.
Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and other legumes provide protein, fiber and other nutrients. They are a part of some, but not all detox diet programs. Canned beans are generally not suggested as they may be high in sodium.