Detoxification or dietary cleanse diets remain popular on the long list of diet fads. They are based on the notion that the body accumulates toxins and cleansing is a way to rid our body of these toxins and help us lose weight. They usually consist of fasting or juicing for a period of time combined with specific supplements designed to promote bowel movements. And although they continue to enjoy popularity, they are unfortunately not scientifically proven (Mishori, 2010). Therefore it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor first before beginning one of these programs.
The weight loss that may occur in short-term cleanse diets is mostly due to temporary fluid shifts as a result of intestinal emptying. Some people report having more energy and focus following a cleanse and attribute these feelings to the removal of toxins. However, scientific evidence doesn’t support these claims and actually attributes these feelings to the fact that these diets avoid processed foods, added sugar, and solid fats; three components important in any diet. There are also potential side effects to consider before beginning one of these fad diets.
Potential Cleanse Diet Side Effects
• Severe Fatigue
• Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies
Muscle loss is also a major concern with these programs due to the extremely low intake of calories. And while reducing your calorie intake will usually help you lose weight, when it’s done on an extreme level, the body will give up muscle to conserve energy. This results in a slower metabolism at the end of the cleanse-making it very likely that you’ll regain any weight lost fairly rapidly.
Quick loss fad diets are never a good option in the long run. Your best diet for long-term results is one you can safely and enjoyably do for the rest life. This includes an adequate daily intake of water, fiber, whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains alongside regular physical activity (USDA, 2010).
Mishori R. (2010) The dangers of colon cleansing. Journal of Family Practice. 60:454.