By: Katie Jackson, RDN, LD
Detox diets come in many different shapes and sizes and have been gaining in popularity over the last few years. With different health claims, such as weight loss and increased energy, it seems that every day a new form has emerged, but have we actually investigated the research to see if these diet methods are backed by science? Whenever a new diet or supplement comes into the spotlight it’s important to look into them to better understand the facts.
First, let’s review what detox diets are. They come in many forms, including: fasting for certain hours of the day, only drinking certain juices or waters for a designated period of time, restricting certain food groups, or taking a supplement regimen to “clean out” the body. They are believed to help rid the body of toxins that may be hiding throughout the digestive tract, which could lead to weight loss and improve energy levels. But our bodies have our own built in detoxification system that handles this job on its own! Participating in these diets will not aid this process and at times may be harmful to our health.
Detoxification is a natural and complex process that is primarily completed by our livers and kidneys. These organs work on removing toxins in the body all day, every day. The best thing we can do to help assist them in this process is not by doing our own detox diet, but by providing our bodies with a well-rounded diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Shoot for a healthy lifestyle that includes eating all five food groups, drinking 8 cups of water/day, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting in 8 hours of sleep every night.
Overall, there is no clear research to support detox diets as a means for ridding our bodies of toxins. If our liver and kidneys were no longer able to detox on their own, there would be additional serious health conditions that you would suffer from. As mentioned earlier, if you want to help our bodies with this natural process, drink enough water! If unflavored water isn’t appealing to you, try this blueberry and orange flavored water to help you get in those 8 cups/day.
Blueberry Orange Infused Water
- ¼ cup blueberries, can use fresh or frozen
- 1 orange, sliced
- 4 cups water
- Place fruit in bottom of a glass pitcher.
- Fill with water and stir. Set in the refrigerator and let rest for 12 hours or overnight.
- Drain solids if desired and enjoy!