Cleanses & Detox Diets

I am often asked about "doing a safe detox" or "trying out the latest cleanse"....are they really necessary? -- and good for you? -- or a potentially dangerous trend?

Cleanses and detoxes are certainly all the rage right now...and if I think about it, they have been quite the rage for a very long time! Here is the thing, these cleanses are based on MYTH...not science. They prey on those that are vulnerable to quick fixes...and those who do not realize how harmful they may be to your health and metabolism.

1) Detoxes and cleanses put your body through starvation mode. You are starving for calories -- and your metabolism slows to hold on to the very few calories that you are becomes more efficient -- but in a way that is not beneficial once you start eating normally again. Your body has learned to hold onto calories, and therefore is more at risk for packing on the extra pounds. 

2) They are also not well-rounded nutritionally. Your body requires over 40 essential nutrients -- vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, etc. No cleanse that I have seen is well-rounded nutritionally. Also, if they tell you to take a supplement while you are "detoxing" to fill in these nutritional gaps, that is even more ridiculous. Eat whole nutritious food. PERIOD.

3) What are they "detoxing" or "cleansing" anyhow?? What are these toxins that I have not been educated on during my advanced degrees in nutrition? The last thing I heard was that we are well equipped, with a FINE detox system, which includes our liver and kidneys. Also, what about fiber? And cutting back on caffeine and alcohol and pills (including supplements)? Yes, eat whole unprocessed foods -- high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains -- all chock full of nutrients and fiber -- nature's own little scrub-brush -- and you will have come a long way in our highly processed diet world. 

4) As a nutrition scientist, I would never support or claim that any "detox" with magic potions, combinations, juices, etc. are either safe OR healthy