The Truth about Detox Diets
These days, everyone seems to be talking about cleanses or detox diets. Proponents say that toxins are a problem which you should eliminate from your body for optimal health. But—just what are these toxins, and what do detox diets actually achieve? These days, everyone seems to be talking about cleanses or detox diets. Proponents say that toxins are a problem which you should eliminate from your body for optimal health. But—just what are these toxins, and what do detox diets actually achieve?
Your body’s natural detoxification abilities
The fact is that your body naturally detoxifies around the clock using essential nutrients from your diet. Detoxification is the process in which your body rids itself of molecules that it doesn’t need – AKA “toxins.” These molecules may be by-products of normal metabolism (endotoxins), or they may come from outside the body through eating, drinking, breathing, and skin absorption (exotoxins).
It’s true that these “toxins” are potentially harmful to your health. Therefore, your body excretes them through respiration, sweat, urine, and faeces. People have different rates of detoxification, which suggests that some people may need detoxification support more than others. If the amount of toxins to which you are exposed exceeds your body’s ability to excrete them, these toxins may negatively affect your health because they are then stored in your bones, soft tissues, and fat cells.
For this reason, it makes sense to make choices that support your body’s natural detoxification processes. The problem is that many non-credentialed individuals claim to be experts in detoxification, recommending “diets” that may not be healthy. Also, some individuals should not take part in strict detox diets, such as those who are pregnant or taking multiple medications. Therefore, if you want to do a detox diet, it’s essential to discuss it with a credentialed health professional first – one who is familiar with your health conditions and goals and can tell you whether the program you are considering is safe and healthy.
Natural detoxification support
If you’d like to forego the products and programs and support your body’s own natural detox processes instead, you can:
- Drink plenty of clean water
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Consume plenty of fibre
- Focus on foods such as cruciferous veggies, artichokes, garlic, berries, and green tea, which support detoxification pathways
- Eat adequate protein
- Maintain bowel regularity
Again, your body detoxes quite well on its own, and some detox diets are dangerous. Always check with a registered dietitian or physician before beginning one.