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Detox diets are popular dieting strategies that claim to facilitate toxin elimination and weight loss, thereby promoting health and wellbeing.
I am going to explain that ‘Detoxification’ is just a fancy word for a quick fix to reduce weight quickly. In this article I explain what the research is actually telling us and offer you some real advice on ways you can improve your health and may be even lose a bit of weight in the process. If your body needs to drop the weight then it will and when done naturally and slowly it will actually be a lasting health benefit rather than a quick fix that could end up doing more harm than good.
What the Research says
Most if not all ‘cleanses’ and ‘detoxes’ have no scientific evidence behind it. NCBI (PubMed: National Institutes of Health) states that although the detox industry is booming, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of these diets. A handful of clinical studies have shown that commercial detox diets enhance liver detoxification and eliminate persistent organic pollutants from the body, although these studies are hampered by flawed methodologies and small sample size .
So I am not going to tell you about a magic fix that will see you strip fat and bounce around with all the energy in the world. Don’t you think that if this could happen then everyone would be doing it and we wouldn’t be in an obesity epidemic?
There are natural things you can do that will benefit your body and allow for a healthier you. This ‘could’ see you drop a few pounds for summer because you are giving the body nutrients it needs rather than hindering its functioning with alcohol, processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle.
The liver, kidneys, lungs, and several other organs work around the clock to remove harmful substances and excrete the waste products of metabolism. They don’t need help from fad diets.
You may have seen or even experienced some of these ‘detox’ programs such as:
- Consuming only juices or other liquids
- Eating a very restricted selection of foods
- Cleansing the colon with enemas, laxatives or colonic irrigation.
- Pills and shakes
I have tried them all so I am coming from a voice of experience. Yes, I have even done at home coffee enema remedies.
So why are the fad cleanses and detoxes so popular despite the proven lack of benefits? One answer is: rapid weight loss. Which could be great, if weight loss always meant fat loss.
A statement from examine.com (an unbiased research website on supplements) states: To store one gram of glycogen in the liver and muscles, the body uses three grams of water. Glycogen stores are easily depleted in 24–48 hours if the body isn’t getting enough carbohydrates, which results in a weight loss of several pounds. Once a regular eating schedule is resumed, however, the glycogen and water come rushing back .
Nearly all the foods we consume are essential for and can be beneficial or detrimental to the healthy or diseased liver. Plants food is an essential part of the human diet and comprises various compounds, which are closely related to liver health.
Lets Get Real
Here’s a list I have put together for you to help aid your bodies natural detoxification process:
- Remove alcohol: This is a poison to the body hence why you feel so ill after consumption. The liver is working overdrive to remove the alcohol from the body because it is toxic to the body’s function.
- Time: Give your body some time to process foods, rest and repair. Allow 12 hours without food. Now this is not a drastic thing to do. If you finished dinner at 9pm, don’t eat your breakfast the next day until 9am, not hard right?
- Coriander: There is preliminary evidence to suggest that certain foods such as coriander, nori and olestra have detoxification properties. Try adding them to your salads or a smoothie.
- Peppermint tea: reduces bloating and aids digestion by reducing inflammation in the gut. Peppermint is very soothing for the body.
- Asparagus: A green veggie that helps to reduce water retention in the body.
- Walking: 30 mins on an empty stomach before breakfast every day and watch the body naturally an easily shift those pounds (if it needs to) and feel a natural boost in energy levels. Movement will also help get your bowels working.
- Sleep: One of the most underestimated activities you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing and will ultimately help you reduce the excess weight.
- Most important: If you ignore everything else, at least do this; drink water. If you are not use to drinking a lot then start with 4 glasses of water and increase. Yes you will go to the toilet a lot but then your body will get use to it and you will notice a dramatic improvement in your energy levels, skin and weight, to name but a few. No, coffee, tea fizzy drinks and cordials do not count! Drink water, pure, plain and natural. Try adding room temperature lemon water to your morning ritual as a cleansing shower for your insides.
There isn’t any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health. Weight loss on a detox diet may be because these diets are often very low in calories.
If you want to improve your health and drop a few extra pounds (if your body requires it) then a well-balanced diet is critically important for liver health. A healthy life-style includes additionally rejoicing with a merry mind, keeping smoke-free and alcohol-free, having good sleep, and drinking adequate water .
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