What You Should Know about Detox Diets

Detox diets lemon water

Your eating seems out of control, your pants are tight, and you are frantically searching for an online healthy eating plan to get you back on track.  As you are searching, several detox diets come up.  Hmm… these sound good and seem to promote fast weight-loss, but should you really try them?

What Are Detox Diets?

First, what is a detox diet? There is actually not a specific definition,  as there are hundreds of varieties that can last anywhere from 3-7 days.  There is also little science behind each method, but you will see many testimonies proclaiming their benefits of cleansing the body, boosting energy, helping with weight-loss, improving skin health and reducing inflammation.

There are a variety of plans you can choose to follow.  A few that you might have heard before include:

  • Broth for two days
  • Lemon, lime or orange in your water every morning
  • Green smoothies
  • Addition of certain ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, watermelon, cucumber, etc.
  • Eliminating processed foods
  • Teas
  • Garlic

The Good:

Detox diets are a step.  They may not be the most nutritious step, but you are thinking about your health and wanting to make a change.  Just think of doing a little more research before you have a solid plan.

These diet plans cut out all the bad: the sugar, salt and processed foods.  Yes, they do cut some good things out of your diet as well — but you definitely eliminate the bad, which is a great start in the right direction.

The Not So Good:

Most of these diet plans eliminate essential nutrients, and many times this includes protein.  For example, if you are choosing a broth-only diet, you will only get a few grams of protein for the whole day. This will make daily living hard – especially exercise.

Detox diets are also pretty drastic and hard to follow.  If you quit in the middle of a two-day fast, you may feel like a “failure” and want to give up altogether.  Not successfully staying on plan can wreck anybody’s confidence.  Try for a more realistic plan that may work long-term.

So… how about this:

Try a modified detox plan.  Pick one item in your diet to get rid of.  For example, detox your body from all processed foods or all added sugar.  This will leave you with plenty of healthful foods to choose from.

Furthermore, try adding some additional items to your diet that can have a health benefit. Just make sure you get the basics down as well!  Start every day with a mix of protein and veggies, and the rest is a nutritional bonus!

Sarah Muntel, RDAbout the Author:

Sarah Muntel, RD, is the Bariatric Coordinator at Community Bariatric Surgeons in Indianapolis, IN. She has 15 years of experience working with bariatric patients and loves to watch people as they change their lives and improve their health. Her favorite part of her job is her weekly support group. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. 

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