To detox or not? Before I get deeper into this question, the first thing you should ask yourself is why do you want to detox? What do you want out of your detox system? Are you looking for a health purpose, to boost your metabolism, to increase energy levels and to sleep better, or to get your body off of bad foods like sugars, processed foods etc? Or are you doing it to lose weight as a crash/fad diet? Depending on your answer and reasons to do it will educate you on whether or not it is appropriate for you. Remember if you are going to embark on a totally new thing, make sure you converse with your doctor before you do it especially if you are going to use a detox product.
It is important to understand what a detox/cleanse really means. I feel as though a lot of people who embark on cleanses do not really understand the purpose, they just do it because they heard somewhere they should. But should you really? Through my curiosity to dig deeper, I did some snooping around (research) to understand more about these cleanses. What I have discovered is that detox/cleanses found in boxes are “not supported by science, with no medical benefits demonstrated, and is based on questionable or disproved scientific claims”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detoxification_(alternative_medicine)
For someone like me who likes science and evidence this is a bit disheartening. What do these cleanses usually consist of? Usually they incorporate some sort of dietary restrictions and or fasting, all while taking a few pills a day. By the directions on most detox products most people who are on a regimented diet are “detoxing”. By this definition I have a detox diet as a lifestyle. Especially when I am competing. I only eat foods that will benefit my energy levels, allow me to train hard and keep me lean. I do not eat refined sugars or alcohol either. Truthfully, these restrictions placed on you by the detox company is why most people see huge advantages such as weightloss, improved energy levels and improved sleep. Just by simply cleaning up their diets, not because they were taking these magic pills.
Another red flag about detox kits that is misleading to consumers, they claim it will help eliminate our bodies of waste products. These products lead us to believe that our bodies have a build up of bad things inside us and that embarking on a cleanse will rid your body of these nasty toxins that have accumulated. But what toxins are they talking about? These toxins are conveniently undefined and there is no proper evidence to support their negative impact on our well being and health. In fact our bodies do a great job at protecting us from bad things, our liver, which is our waste system will red flag anything entering our gut as bad and our body will eliminate it through our rectum. So it sounds like cleanses just do exactly what our bodies already do, so why do you need it if your body is eliminating waste regularly?
The BBC did an article about detoxing and how it seems to be a marketing scheme as scientist say that ”They [detox products] waste money and sow confusion about how our bodies, nutrition and chemistry actually work” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4576574.stm Read this article to get a good sense of how our bodies work on a daily to keep us healthy.
In my experience the best way to detox has nothing to do with what product you use but what foods you eat. If you are feeling lethargic, bloated and have been eating far too much processed foods or drinking too much alcohol then a food detox/cleanse is the ticket to reset your metabolism. For one week dedicate yourself to a lifestyle of eating root veg, green and colourful veg, seaweeds, berries and lean proteins. The goal is to eat foods rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and lean proteins all while eliminating alcohol, sugar, fatty, fried and processed foods.
Essentially there is not way out of a bad diet, if you eat like crap, you will look and feel like crap too. So what is crap? If you choose to eat processed, refined, packaged, fried and fatty foods your body will accumulate more body fat. If you choose to eat more naturally occurring foods like vegetables, fruits and lean meats your body will be more effective at eliminating waste and keeping you lean. Your body is a loyal machine, if you battle against it, it will win, if you treat it well you will win and achieve your goals in health, wellness and achieve a lean physique. Remember there really is no such thing as a quick fix, it is a life long battle but this battle is worth choosing to fight! Start fighting for your health!