While most medical doctors scoff at the idea of detoxing, there are naturopaths and functional medicine MDs who swear by it. A good detox involves greatly reducing acid-forming and congesting foods like meat, dairy, and processed food while adding vegetables, fruits, sprouts, alternative grains, filtered water, and the herbal medicine milk thistle and dandelion.
What is Detox?
Detoxification (also called detox) is a popular buzzword used by people who promote juice fasts, cleanses, and other do-it-yourself procedures that protect the body from harmful toxins. However, our bodies naturally detoxify themselves and do not require expensive products or extreme diets.
Our liver and kidneys are meant to detoxify our blood, the lungs constantly filter carbon dioxide waste, and the skin is meant to expel toxins through sweat. The body’s natural detoxification processes take place all the time and are crucial to our health.
When someone talks about detoxing, it often means they are trying to get sober from drugs and alcohol. This is called sobriety detox, and it involves changing your lifestyle, attitude, and brain chemistry to make it easier to stay sober.
Getting sober can be difficult. The first step of the process is detox, which is a physical and mental challenge. Drug withdrawal can be uncomfortable, and some drugs may cause seizures and even death if the person attempts to stop using them too soon. This is why it is important to find a reputable treatment center to help you detox from drugs and alcohol.
There are many different kinds of detox diets and procedures, but they all claim to eliminate toxins from the body by removing certain foods, supplements, or herbs. These procedures and products can range from total starvation fasts to consuming large amounts of liquids such as water or juice. They also include the use of laxatives, diuretics, and detox teas. Detox diets have been shown to improve the health of some individuals, but this improvement is likely due to eliminating unhealthy foods and improving dietary habits rather than actually clearing out toxins from the body.
The body can eliminate most toxins through the liver, feces, urine, and sweat. However, many people have a hard time forming and keeping healthy habits. Wellos’ behavior transformation programs support your commitment to healthier living by making manageable tweaks to your daily routine and supporting healthy, lasting lifestyle changes. To learn more, take our 5-minute quiz to unlock a weight loss program customized for you!
When it comes to detoxing, there are lots of opinions out there, ranging from those who think it’s nothing more than a fad diet with limited benefits to those who claim it can boost energy, help with weight loss, and promote mental clarity. Despite this, there is very little scientific evidence that supports these claims.
Detox diets (also called cleanses) generally focus on eliminating certain foods or drink types for short periods of time, supposedly to “cleanse” the body. They can include everything from juice fasts that replace all solid food with a variety of fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, or soups to restrictive short-term meal plans that eliminate all or most processed foods, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and salt. They may also involve using laxatives or gut cleansing supplements and can range in length from a few days to several weeks.
There is so little scientific support for detox diets because healthy, functioning bodies already have their own natural detoxification mechanisms that work well to process and remove toxins from the body. These processes are primarily handled by the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. Rather than detoxifying the body through diet, making small, sustainable changes in eating and lifestyle habits is far more beneficial to achieve long-term health goals, such as weight loss, improved digestion, and reduced inflammation.
While there is a place for detoxifying the body if it has been severely overexposed to chemicals, it’s important to remember that most toxins that are released from our daily lives come from outside sources like pollution, medications, and dietary choices. While some detox diets can result in temporary weight loss, most of this is water and glycogen from not eating enough and is quickly regained when returning to normal dietary patterns.
Detox supplements and diets are not necessary for a healthy body, especially since most detox diets are extreme, restrictive, and expensive. A better way to improve your health and wellness is to focus on making small, sustainable changes in your eating and lifestyle habits with the support of a registered dietitian. Wellos’ personalized wellness plan offers the ability to incorporate nutritional therapy into your daily routine to build good health habits that last.
You can’t pick up a magazine, visit a spa, or turn on your social media feed without seeing another detox treatment gaining popularity. From juice cleanses to herbal supplements, these do-it-yourself procedures and products promise to purge your body of toxins that are said to cause everything from weight gain to joint pain to mental health issues. Detox treatments are promoted by celebrities and influencers as healthy alternatives to traditional diets, but they’re not without risk. In fact, many have been shown to be ineffective at delivering on their promises and can actually be dangerous for some people.
Before the word was co-opted in the detox craze, the term “detox” referred to medical procedures that rid the body of dangerous, often life-threatening, levels of alcohol or drugs. Medications are used to manage symptoms and ease withdrawal, depending on the type of drug being abused and its intensity. Drugs that are most difficult to quit include opioids like heroin and benzodiazepines, which have severe physical symptoms, including seizures and death in some cases. Medications are administered during detox to ease these symptoms, as well as to prevent relapse and addiction.
In contrast to these highly regulated and monitored detox procedures, many of the detox products sold in stores and online claim to detoxify the whole body. During a review of detox products by the UK charity Sense about Science, researchers found that none of the manufacturers could explain what they meant by “toxins” or name specific substances that would be removed from the body. This lack of transparency is part of the reason why there are so few clear definitions of detoxification. Detoxification is widely regarded as one of the first steps in substance abuse treatment, but it’s not enough to sustain long-term recovery.
As the detox craze has grown, insurance companies and clinicians have increasingly come to understand that it’s not a standalone treatment option. Detoxification should be followed by a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program, which can be on a residential inpatient basis, intensive outpatient basis, or even in the community.
Most detox products or cleanses involve a restrictive diet and the use of supplements and herbs that are claimed to have cleansing properties. These supplements may include laxatives, diuretics, vitamins, minerals, and a range of “detox” foods. These products are sold in stores, spas, and online. Some people believe that these detox products will remove toxins from their bodies and help them lose weight. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that these products and diets work.
In fact, detox diets are not only unproven but may also be harmful. A recent study examining the effects of juicing and detox diets found that they can lead to initial weight loss but that most participants ended up regaining more than the weight they lost. Additionally, consuming fewer calories can lead to low energy and fatigue, making it difficult to perform daily activities.
A person can support their body’s natural detoxification processes by eating a balanced diet and avoiding foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. In addition, it’s important to drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.
The concept of a detox is intriguing. After all, many health-conscious individuals are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals every day. Some of these chemicals can have negative health effects, including bloating, fatigue, and headaches. Ideally, detox should focus on reducing the amount of unhealthy substances in the body and supporting the immune system.
In reality, there is no reason for toxins to build up in most healthy individuals. The body’s organ systems, including the liver, kidneys, and lungs, are designed to eliminate these toxic chemicals. It’s much better to take a more balanced approach and incorporate detox diets into a regular lifestyle than to buy expensive supplements or follow fad detox cleanses that aren’t proven to be effective.