If you’ve been anywhere near the internet the past few years, you’ve heard about master cleanses, 4 day detoxes, and similar fast weight loss strategies. They’re all the rage amongst celebrities and diet “experts”.
Proponents of these quick cleanses make lots of claims, often touting how the process will decrease toxins and inflammation, stimulate weight loss, and give you more energy.
Take a look at the science behind common cleanse claims to learn the truth about these diets.
Dr. Oz, Oprah, and other celebrities often reference “cleanses” and “toxins”. What do they mean?
Medically speaking, detoxification is a “controlled and medically supervised withdrawal from addicting drugs, usually under the care of a physician.” This process prevents potentially life-threatening side effects of breaking an addiction.
Health cleanses often make references to "inflammation" and "toxins", but these rarely are backed up with scientific evidence. Other cleanse supporters claim that your body needs to be rid of sugars, meats, or refined grains.
There are many popular methods to “cleanse”. Some require fasting, juice fasting, or strict diets for a specific number of days.
Your body is already cleansing itself everyday. A series of organs works together to protect you from toxic substances and remove invading toxins from your body.
Cleanse proponents also claim that a “cleanse” diet aids in weight loss. A 2014 Australian study found that these “are popular dieting strategies that claim to facilitate toxin elimination and weight loss, thereby promoting health and well-being.” Yet, the same study stated that “to the best of our knowledge, no randomized controlled trials have been conducted to assess the effectiveness” of these diets.
Any weight you do lose during a cleanse will most likely be water weight. The bad news is that it could also be lean muscle mass. Fatigue and unhealthy changes to bowel movements are also side effects of the short term weight loss associated with cleanses.
Even without science, just think about this logically. If you go from a typical diet of 2,000 - 3,000 calories daily down to a juice fast, what will happen to your energy levels? They will flatline.
That means that a cleanse is not sustainable. Definitely don’t combine a cleanse diet with weight lifting. It will deplete your energy stores and leave you weak and exhausted, not “cleansed”.
Want to stay healthy without the vague nonsense of cleanse diets? Follow the balanced, scientifically advice from Rick Henrikson, M.D., a family medicine physician at University of Utah Health Care. He recommends “eating healthy, whole foods from natural processes.”
Catherine Collins, a dietician at St. George’s Hospital, has a simple regimen anyone can follow. “The ultimate lifestyle ‘detox’ is not smoking, exercising, and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet.”
Surprise, surprise. Again the solution is to avoid unhealthy habits, eat well, and get regular exercise.
Skip the fad diets and cleanses. Instead, support your body’s natural detox system. Take daily multivitamins to keep your organs healthy. Use a green tea fat burner to keep your energy levels high and promote kidney function or green tea weight loss tea to stimulate fat loss and stimulate your metabolism.
You won’t achieve good health by using a potentially dangerous diet. Wellness is about creating a lifestyle around a solid diet and a smart exercise routine.