From the get go detoxing sounds pretty appealing. A few days of denial and your body will be cleansed. Made anew. Free of toxins and unhealthy substances; it’s the body’s equivalent of a spring clean. Wonderful. But do detox diets, juice fasts and cleanses work? Or are they a clever marketing ploy?
Can you ever really detox your body? We did some digging and found out.
What exactly is a detox?
The detoxing concept is a simple one: flush out toxins and unhealthy substances and leave your organs fighting fit. In one fell swoop, rid your body of weeks, months or even years of calorific foods, poor lifestyle choices and one too many glasses of Pinot.
As a nation, we’re somewhat enamoured with the notion of detoxing and it’s easy to see why. We love quick fixes and what better quick fix than a full body cleanse? It stops us having to make any permanent, long-term lifestyle changes; instead, we can wash away a multitude of sins with a few days of denial – or hours if you go for a colon cleanse.
What kind of detoxes are there?
Detoxes come in many different guises. From the tame: juice cleanses, sugar bans, fasting and cutting out alcohol, to the extreme: colon cleansing. Some detox ‘practitioners’ recommend cutting out whole food groups and focusing on raw, unprocessed foods. Others, concentrate on flushing out your system with water and vegetable juices. Factor in ‘detoxing’ tablets, tea bags, bath salts and beauty products and you can see how detoxing has become big business.
Central to all these treatments is the outcome: your body will be cleansed. Your organs: clean as a whistle. You’ll feel like a new person. Pretty impressive claims – and incredibly hard not to get sucked in and swallowed by the hype.
Do detoxes work?
In short: no. The idea of detoxing – that you can clean out your organs, cells, molecules for a brighter, more beautiful you is deliberately misleading and fictitious.
No juice fast, colon cleanse or detox tablet can do what your organs do: flush out the impurities and toxins in your body. Don’t underestimate the power of your organs. They’re naturally programmed to do this. Right now, your digestive system, kidneys, liver, skin and lungs are putting in overtime to naturally detoxify your body of anything that doesn’t belong there.
If you were to experience a build-up of toxins your body can’t shift, the health implications would be pretty serious – certainly not anything a few quick fruit juices could fix.
Why you might want to ‘detox’
It’s not all bad news. Whilst the concept of detoxing your body is flawed; the philosophy behind it is worth looking at. Whilst we’d never encourage or promote crash diets, we like the idea of making smarter and more wholesome food choices.
No food should ever be on your ‘banned’ list but practising healthier eating habits, filling up on more fruit and veg and cutting back on alcohol can benefit your general health in the long-term.
You can’t detox your body with food but you can provide your body with nutrients that will make your detoxing organs more efficient and happy. No starvation or colonic irrigation required.