Are Cleanse Diets Really A Good Idea?

By Jennifer Nelson
Mother Nature Network.

Detox diets are everywhere, but cleanliness may not be next to godliness when it comes to the body.

Are these popular juice fasts, master cleanses and detoxification diets really necessary?

“There is no evidence that those detox diets do any kind of detoxification in the body,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

One of the reasons that people, especially celebrities, embark on master cleanses and detox plans is that they are looking for the quick fix, explains Giancoli. Detoxes and cleanses promise quick weight loss.

What’s more, there’s a paranoia in today’s culture that our bodies are full of toxins and that we must detox in order to rid ourselves of these offensive chemicals.

“In reality, if you really want to detox your body the best thing to do is have a diet that has plenty of fiber, plenty of fruits and vegetables, a lot of whole grains, a lot of plant foods so that your immune system, your liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs in your body can naturally do their job to detox you on its own,” says Giancoli.

“We need to have more trust in our body’s ability to do that, but we also need to feed our body the right foods so that it can be at its best.”

The fact is we have a natural detox system in our body that works very well when treated well. The liver does a great job of flushing out waste every day, our lungs breathe out pollutants, our kidneys filter out toxins, and our digestive system lets things pass through that we don’t need.

Worse, Giancoli warns that juice diets and cleanses only lead to water weight loss. Depending on how long people do this, they’ll lose water weight and then start losing lean tissue mass where muscle breaks down, a huge no-no, which is only increasing your fat to lean muscle ratio.

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