“Cleanses” and “detoxes” are popular ideas that show up on daytime tv talk shows and all over the internet. They promise to clean out nasty toxins from your body helping make you healthier and lose weight.
A “cleanse” and a “detox” are essentially the same thing, you limit your food intake, avoiding certain foods and drink some mixture of juices that are supposed to get rid of the “toxins,” “pollutants” and “poisons” in your body.
If you drink nothing but juice, of course, you’re going to lose weight, you are not eating anything. Sounds good so far, but you’re not eating food, just drinking juice and juice doesn’t contain much fiber which impacts the function of your large intestine, that is probably why people describe the stomach feeling as being similar to the flu. Another problem with this lack of fiber is your body ends up absorbing more fructose sugar. Along those same lines, juice doesn’t contain much protein either when you’re not consuming protein your body begins to break down muscle tissue for the amino acids that it needs to function.
You have these cool built in detoxifiers already in your body called kidneys and a liver, they do an incredible job of cleaning any toxins out of your system. If they didn’t do this, you would probably be reading this from a dialysis bed, or you’d be dead already.
Registered Dietician Andy Bellati RD said it best:
“Nutrition and health is about the big picture. What you do for five or seven days out of the year is pretty inconsequential.
Rather than worry about ‘detoxing,’ people would be better off thinking about eating nutritious, health-promoting foods on a daily basis. Think leafy greens, beans, whole fruit, nuts, and seeds. The idea that six months of unhealthy eating can somehow be remedied by drinking nothing but green juice for 72 hours is erroneous.”
Instead of a cleanse, change the food you are putting into your body on a regular basis. Make sure you are giving your body the nutrients that it needs to keep your natural detoxifiers healthy and aid them in doing their job. See choosemyplate.gov for more information on food, and recommendations.