To Detox or Not to Detox?

Clearing up the confusion on the health effects of detox diets

(RxWiki News) It seems like everyone is “detoxing” or "doing a cleanse” these days. But are these diets actually safe? Do they work?

Detoxification has been suggested as a way to remove toxins from the body, give you more energy and help you lose weight. However, "detoxing” has not been found to help remove toxins from the body or improve health, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Your body does a great job of detoxing itself. That's what your kidneys and liver are for. These organs work to remove waste from the body without any extra help.

Detox diets can take many forms. They can include fasting (eating little food and drinking only liquids), taking laxatives to clean out the colon or taking detoxing supplements. Some people choose a combination of these approaches.

But health experts recommend caution when using products for detoxing. These products actually lack regulation and can interact with the medications you are taking.

Detox diets do not lead to long-term weight loss. Weight loss when detoxing is more than likely a result of eating fewer calories. To achieve long-term weight control, opt for a healthy overall diet. That might include reducing the number of calories you take in, consuming less processed food, and eating lean protein and more fruits and vegetables.

Detoxing can be actually be quite harmful. Limiting your food intake affects the nutrients your body gets and can affect your energy levels. Fasting can lead to feeling very tired and weak, headaches and, in some cases, fainting.

Juice-only diets may be high in sugar, which can lead to sugar crashes at the end of the day. If you use laxatives, this can lead to dehydration and diarrhea, which can affect your body's electrolyte levels. Plus, constant colon flushing can affect your normal gut flora. All of these situations can impact your long-term health.

Before starting any new diet, speak with your health care provider. This is especially important for those with certain conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, previous colon surgery and certain gastrointestinal problems.

As tempting as detoxing is, safer options can help you achieve longer-lasting benefits. There is no fast-acting dietary cure-all.

Ask your health care provider any questions you have about weight management and your diet.

Written by Digital Pharmacist Staff

Review Date: 
February 21, 2019