Myth: Detox is a healthy way to reboot your metabolism


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Detox the myth that detox diets are healthy.  

Fruit and Vegetable Smoothy

Fruit and Vegetable Smoothy

Detox or detoxification diets are being sold as the cure to all that ails you.  You can find it on TV on such shows as the Dr. Oz show and on just about every website that is dedicated to fitness, health, and weight loss.  The basis of the belief is that removing toxins from your body and your metabolic system will allow it to reboot.  They vary from a simple fruit juice or water cleanse or fast to the strange practice of coffee or colon cleanses.  No matter which technique you choose, these detox diets and techniques are not only unnecessary but also potentially harmful and may result in long-term weight gain.  

Is there any proof that these processes help with health or weight loss?  There is zero evidence that any of these detoxing methods remove your body of harmful or toxic substances. Your body already has special organs to do this.  Detoxification occurs in every cell of your body, but in particular, the liver and kidneys have the primary job of performing these functions.  Each cell release toxins into your blood and with each heart beat, a portion of you blood delivers toxins to these organs to be cleaned of the toxic compounds.  It is a very efficient process that does not need any help unless you have introduced too heavy of a load of toxins such as when you take too much of a particular drug such as Tylenol.  

Will a detox diet help with weight loss?  Yes and no.  Any time you severely limit your caloric intake, you will loose weight.  Weight is not really what you want

Fruit Vegetable Juices

Fruit Vegetable Juices

to lose.  You want to lose fat.  Losing weight can be counterproductive if you lose muscle in the process.  The fact si that when you go on a crash diet with limited calories and no protein, you will lose muscle as you body breaks down muscle to keep producing enzymes and to make sugar to feed your brain.  Detox diets cannot deliver the long-term weight loss you desire.   A severe calorie restriction may make you thinner temporarily, but the loss of muscle mass will reduce your ability to maintain weight loss over time.  The loss of muscle will reduce your overall metabolic rate and may reduce your ability to lose weight in the future and keep the weight off with future weight gain.  


The bottom line:  Detox diets and cleanses are unnecessary and potentially harmful.  These crash diets are sabotaging your ability to lose and keep weight off in the future.  I recommend that you just make healthy choices and moderate your intake of the less healthy foods and alcohol.  If you do not eat in excess, why would you need to detox your body?   Instead of investing your time and money in a risky and potentially harmful fad diet like detoxes, buy whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.  Moderation of you diet and alcohol accompanied by adequate sleep and exercise will do more to make you healthy than a fat diet and enemas.  


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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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