JUICE CLEANSE DETOX DIETS: FAD OR FAB?

Never has there been a time in which the word detox has caught the attention of individuals seeking to follow a healthier lifestyle.

It’s undeniable that juice cleanses are popular, but it’s important to acknowledge that while these supposed super foods are packed with a selection of nutrients, in reality they don’t really prove to do what they promise: to flush toxins out of your system. So, before venturing off to your next fad, do your research, because if followed religiously, such detoxifying diets may be more risky and harmful than beneficial to your health, and can backfire.

The Golden Question: Do they work?

Sure, if you want to focus on weight loss, a detox cleanse can give you that temporary, quick-fix of slimming down, but the sad truth is you’re most likely to just gain the weight back just as easily as you lost it. Fact: Your body is capable of getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. More importantly, it’s designed to do so.

So let’s get down to the brass tacks… Should you detox or not?

If you crack open a Biology textbook, you’ll see that your body has its own powerful methods of detoxification, and it can activate these systems without the use of fancy, overpriced, upmarket cleanses. So, to answer the above question simply, no, primarily because the cleansing methods that are so avidly marketed with these diets attempt to promote a job that your own liver and kidneys do anyway.

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So how does your body detox?

Let’s get a bit scientific. Your liver inhibits pathogens from entering your bloodstream, breaks down environmental toxins for safe elimination, and aids to rid your body of leftover nitrogen that accumulates from the breakdown of proteins and amino acids. This filtering of blood removes toxins by using a two-stage method of chemical breakdown.

In the initial stage, toxins are deactivated and broken into smaller fragments. Then, during the second stage, they’re linked to other molecules, creating a new, non-toxic molecule that can be excreted in your bile, urine or stool. Meanwhile, your kidneys are working hard to clean and filter blood, eliminate any surplus water, pass urea (which is the toxin we produce as a by-product of protein breakdown), and sends this all out of your body via your urine.

In order for such natural detoxification to occur and work effectively however, a healthy and well balanced diet must be followed to support the liver and kidneys and ensure all the adequate nutrients are being consumed. That way, you know your body is detoxing naturally every day. If your body isn’t able to detoxify the way it should, you can be left with toxic substances that build up in your body.

So why do people claim to feel better post Detox Diet?

A lot of these popularly advertised detox and cleansing diets make customers feel better because of what they eliminate from their regular diet throughout the duration of the newly followed diet, and not because of the product they would’ve purchased. Think about it. All those fancy ingredients and designer water are probably not as functional as you might have hoped. Conversely, removing the junk food during your detox diet – foods loaded with preservatives, additives, processed fats, fructose and so on – is giving your liver and kidneys a break. This interim time frame allows them to step up and do their normal detoxification duties.

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It all boils down to being sensible, not gullible.

Unfortunately, many of our consumer decisions are made in naivety, ignorance and assumption, which is rarely challenged or informed. Most accept that the idea of washing away your calorific sins is the perfect cure to unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits. We’re all susceptible to some gimmicks every so often, because, to our own detriment, we live in a world with so much information, we’re happy to assign responsibility to others who might appear to understand things better.

And let’s face it, telling people that you’re on a juice cleanse is a really polite way of saying that you have severe diarrhoea. So before you head on to your next health food store or café, understand this: the idea that you can cleanse your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean with a detox diet is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical theory fabricated to sell you a magical remedy. So don’t give in to the hype. It’s a ridiculous idea that needs to be debunked.