Why Detox Diet Plans Don’t Work
Detox diet plans have been all the rage in the last few years. In fact, they’re more popular than just about any diet trend out there, and this has much to do with the association people make that eating less means losing more weight. As is the tendency with humans, doing something to the extreme must be even better, right? If eating a little bit less is good, then wouldn’t completely depleting your body be even better?
Well, yes it would. It will also weaken your immune system, force your body to break down its own muscle, and cause a massive disruption to your digestive system. Human beings were designed to eat food; and if you treat your body correctly, then there’s no reason to perform a detox.
See, your immune system is composed of your spleen, thymus, and lymph nodes that all work together to protect your body from harmful substances (1). Remember that saying: “if you don’t use it, you lose?” Well, it should be changed to “if you abuse it, you lose it.” Your immune system is set up to detoxify your body 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, many of the “fun” activities that some people do-think smoking, drinking, excessive exercise, partying- can weaken your immune system. Some things are out of our control, like the people were exposed to or the amount of pollution we have to endure. The point is, our immune system gets plenty of work so there’s no sense in trying to weaken in more with a poor diet.
Keep in mind though that your body is as only healthy as your strongest system. So your digestive system will be affected by a weak immune system. In fact, your kidneys and liver have an abundance of specialized cells, called peroxisomes and lysosomes, that’s sole purpose in life is to hunt down and destroy harmful substances (2). If those cells get weakened, so does the organ, and then everything around the organ. I think you get the picture of what I’m trying to say.
Besides, detoxing is not fun. It’s about as fun as doing your taxes. Okay, I take that back – it’s about as enjoyable as getting audited by the IRS. It’s also dangerous. If you eat a whole food diet and regularly exercise several days a week, along with being hydrated, your body will take care of itself as long as you don’t have any nutritional deficiencies. It doesn’t need any help from you. Depleting your body of nutrients can put you at risk for disease or even cardiac issues; after all, your heart needs several electrolytes to function and depleting them can run you the risk of arrhythmias.
Lastly, I will leave you with this: what is your plan after doing the detox? Most of the weight you will lose is simply water weight, so unless you have a plan to adjust your lifestyle, that weights going to come back and then some. In fact, that detox will slow down your metabolic rate, so once you go back to eating real food, you may gain excessive weight.
So in the end, stick with a whole food diet, eat the high quality foods you enjoy and leave you satisfied, and leave the detox diets alone.
1. Beradi, John. The Metabolism Advantage. United States: Rodale. 2006; pp 210