Bottom line: Detoxing or cleansing is not a sustainable weight-loss technique. Nor do you need to do anything to help your body rid itself of toxins. The body is essentially a self-cleaning machine.
One of the reasons that people, especially celebrities, embark on master cleanses and detox plans is that there are a lot of overweight and obese people in our society, and people are looking for the quick fix, explains Giancoli. Detoxes and cleanses promise quick weight loss.
Are Detoxes Really Necessary?
“Plus, if you do fast or ‘cleanse’ for a number of days, the physiology of your body then wants foods so you’re now in danger of binging and storing fat more easily. So while you might lose weight during the cleanse, your body is more primed to store fat because it’s thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in the feast period so I better store all these calories for the next famine period,’” Giancoli says.
“In reality, if you really want to detox your body the best thing to do is have a diet that has plenty of fiber, plenty of fruits and vegetables, a lot of whole grains, a lot of plant foods so that your immune system, your liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs in your body can naturally do their job to detox you on its own,” says Giancoli.
Detoxing has also become the umbrella term for a lot of different diets. Sometimes the word may be used positively, as in feeding your body a healthy diet of natural, whole foods, and other times the word typically means drinking nothing but a fluid concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper or some such for days, which is supposed to flush poisons from the body. The latter detox diet is the one to skip.
Worse, Giancoli warns that juice diets and cleanses only lead to water weight loss. Depending on how long people do this, they’ll lose water weight and then start losing lean tissue mass where muscle breaks down, a huge no-no which is only increasing your fat to lean muscle ratio.
Detox diets are everywhere, but cleanliness may not be next to godliness when it comes to the body. Are these popular juice fasts, master cleanses and detoxification diets really necessary?