Undergoing any type of lifestyle change is difficult whether it is quitting smoking, taking up a new diet or going organic. The amount of misinformation available about detox diets makes it difficult to muddle through the mess and discern the truth from fiction. Since detox diets are back (again) and more popular than ever, the level of misinformation is higher than ever and the big money fad diets are getting all the publicity.
Detox diets have made in comeback in popular media thanks to celebrity endorsements and clever marketing ploys. But most of these popular diets have serious flaws that not only don’t contribute to wellness but may have a negative impact on your health and the problems you seek to correct.
The good news is that most of the detox diets you need to avoid fall into a few key categories making them easy to spot. The bad news is that they often hide the negative side of their diets so you’ll buy the products associated with it.
So avoid these diets and find a healthier way to detox.
Very Low Calorie Intake
The most common type of popular detox diet and the one that tops of the list of those you should avoid is the very low calorie detox diet. These diets often recommend between 600 and 1,000 calories per day which is far lower than is suggested for a healthy diet.
Very low calorie detox diets should be avoided because, regardless of your reason for wanting to detox, you will experience plenty of unwanted side effects. First you will crave food, particularly food you should not eat such as junk food, refined sugars and processed prepackaged foods. Even if you don’t succumb to the cravings you will not be getting the nutrients your body requires to reap the benefits of a real detox diet like increased energy levels and improved mental focus.
Detox diets that only allow one or two foods or very specific ingredients should be avoided as well. These diets are not well-balanced so you are not getting the nutrients needed for good mental and physical health. So called detox diets like the cabbage diet or master cleanse, focus on consuming the fewest possible calories rather than a sufficient amount of nutrients.
Any diet, regardless of its purpose should be well balanced to pack as many vitamins and minerals into the diet as possible. There isn’t just one nutrient that contributes to improved immune function, heart health and mental stability so it’s important that your detox diet provides them all.
Any diet that tells you to only eat cabbage or broccoli or cauliflower is a diet you should feel pretty good about avoiding.
Broth Only Diets
Since most fad detox diets are technically also very low calorie diets, there is a distinct difference. Some low calorie detoxes allow consumption of raw fruits and vegetables and their juices, which increases the nutritional benefits received. Liquid diets that don’t focus on the nutrients derived from fruits and vegetables, however are very nutrient deficient and will leave you feeling tired, hungry and lightheaded. The most common type of liquid diet allows only the consumption of broth, which provides almost no nutrients.
Whether these diets last for a couple of days or a couple of months, liquid only diets that don’t offer fruit and vegetable juices can cause long term health problems such as muscle breakdown, irregular blood sugar levels and vitamin deficiencies. Even in the short term these liquid crash diets can upend levels of important good health indicators such as potassium and blood sugar.
One of the main reasons some people decide to try a detox diet is to improve their digestive function, which a traditional liquid diet does successfully because raw fruit and vegetable juice have been ‘pre-digested’ and quickly enter the bloodstream for a quick infusion of nutrients (and energy!).
A broth only liquid diet can have the reverse impact on digestion. Frequent trips to the bathroom can cause skin irritation, bowel irritation and dehydration.
Pills, Stimulants & Laxatives
These days the quickest route to solve just about any physical ailment is some type of pill or other medication and detox diets are no exception. Unfortunately these types of detox diets are some of the most ineffective around and when combined with other diets you should avoid, can be downright dangerous.
Detox teas and pills often contain stimulants and laxatives that do detox the body, but in the most harmful way possible. The point of a detox diet is to rid the body of toxins we come across in our diet and environment and these pills and other chemicals only serve to flush out the water our body so desperately needs. This causes dehydration which hinders normal body functions.
The risks associated with detox diets that rely on pills, laxatives or stimulants include elevated blood pressure, heart problems and an imbalance of electrolytes.
If It Seems Too Easy…
One of the things you should always take into consideration when finding a detox diet is if it seems too easy it probably is. This isn’t to say that detoxing is difficult but it requires more than buying a head of cabbage or popping a pill. The idea that expelling toxins from the body is simple is a common misconception, and it is what has allowed the fad detox diet industry to boom.
A proper and healthy detox diet should involve a certain level of exercise and a well-balanced diet so you get the proper intake of vitamins and minerals. The most effective method of detoxification should include raw organic foods and exclude junk food and other toxins.
While detoxification is an important tool in keeping the body free of chronic illness and disease, not all detox diets are created equally. The detoxes we’ve covered today all have some fatal flaws that prevent them from being effective for weight loss, improved mental function and overall good health.
Do your homework before starting any detox diet and take note of what is required. If you see that your new detox diet requires only soups, juices and teas chances are good you should avoid it. If you have any concerns about a diet, explore them until your questions have been answered and you feel confident that the detox diet you choose does not have the opposite effect you intend.
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