Do You Need To Detox?

Have you ever been told that you need to detox to eliminate toxins from the body? Have you heard that detoxing will speed up fat loss?

There are numerous different ‘detox regimes’ ranging from supplements and elimination diets to fasting but is there any evidence to support the effectiveness of these and is ‘detoxing’ something we need to do on a regular basis?

Let’s find out…

HOW DOES A DETOX WORK?

The theory behind detoxes are that they eliminate “toxins” from your body. They are claimed to: 

  • Rest your organs by fasting
  • Stimulate your liver to get rid of toxins
  • Enhance toxin elimination through stool, urine and sweat
  • Improve circulation 

Sounds great in theory, right?!

Common detox strategies include fasting for 1-3 days, eliminating processed food, eliminating particular food groups from your diet, only drinking certain liquids such as lemon water and drinking or taking supplements such as skinny teas/coffee or laxatives that clear your digestive tract.  

ARE DETOXES EFFECTIVE? 

There is no evidence to support the claims or benefits from undertaking a detox. Any weight loss during a detox would be due to losing water, carbohydrate stores and stool matter. This weight will likely all return once normal eating is resumed. 

The truth is – our bodies are self-detoxing. Our liver, kidneys, digestive tract and skin all contribute to naturally breaking down toxins and removing them via our urine and stool. 

The liver – The body’s principal filter, helps to metabolise drugs and nutrients such as zinc and copper as well as neutralise harmful metals such as lead and mercury. 

The kidneys – Filters waste substances and moves them out of the body. 

The intestines – screens out foreign substances and parasites before nutrients are absorbed into our bloodstream. 

The skin – Barrier to harmful substances, bacteria/viruses, heavy metals and chemical toxins.

If these organs didn’t carry out these essential tasks, we would be very unwell!

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF DETOXES? 

Depending on the type of detox you do, there can be a lot of side effects associated with “detoxing”. 

Side effects can include dehydration, fatigue, no energy, low blood sugar, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, electrolyte imbalances and muscle loss just to list a few.

DO I NEED TO DETOX?

The bottom line – no. As we discussed earlier, our bodies are actually designed self-detox. Detoxes are unnecessary, they lack any evidence for effectiveness, can be harmful and may cause unwanted side effects.

What we recommend is simply following an 80/20 approach to your nutrition. This means that you are getting 80% of your diet from nutrient dense foods that supply your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. That leaves 20% for foods that are more processed to help satisfy cravings.


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