Detox, cleanse diets not all they're cracked up to be

KUSA - It's that time of year when many of us start realizing how the weight we put on over the winter is going to make us look in short sleeves, shorts, and not to mention, swimsuits.

To slim down quickly many people start looking into a "detox" or "cleanse." Perhaps you've even heard about people losing several inches, having more energy, and looking years younger, all in just weeks.

It all sounds great but is it too good to be true? These detox type diets combine fasting with certain drink concoctions that are all supposed to help you lose weight and gain energy. Some detox for weight loss, others detox because it's touted as a diet that can help you clean toxins from your body.

Some of the more extreme detox diets want you to not eat anything solid for 10 days. At the same time you are supposed to drink multiple glasses of a lemon juice and cayenne pepper mixture. Both the fasting and the mixture are supposed to clean the toxins that remain in your system and shed the pounds away. Some celebrities report using this diet to shed quick weight which has increase the popularity of this type of detox program.

From a medical perspective, there are a few issues with both the diet and its claims. First off, you will lose weight on this diet but that's because it severely restricts calories. Any diet, especially very low-calorie ones, will shed pounds, but the problem comes in once the diet is stopped. The pounds usually end up coming right back.

Since this detox diet is short-term it won't help from gaining that weight right back.

As for the detox claim, our bodies do a great job of "detoxing" on a continuous basis. Our liver, kidney and intestinal tract work well to rid our body of the same toxins these diets are helping us get rid of. Although there are different environmental chemicals in our bodies, these diets are not any more effective at removing them then our own bodies are. Avoiding these chemicals and toxins in the first place is your most effective step.

One way you can help shed pounds and keep your body as toxin-free as possible is by eating a healthy diet. Some foods can actually help your liver, kidneys and intestinal tract get rid of toxins naturally. For the liver, onions, whole grains, artichokes and garlic can all help it filter out the things your body does not need.

The same goes for the kidneys with Brazil nuts, beans, spinach and tomatoes. Our digestive tract can also benefit from avocados, kale, raspberries, pears and apples.

When it comes to dieting, especially for weight loss, picking one that can be sustained long term is important. This means eating a healthy diet of the things that are good for you while reducing food portions. This can not only help you lose weight but, more importantly, keep the weight off over the years.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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