‘Tis the season for detox. All over the news and magazines and twitter are people pushing detox tips and diets for the new year. I hate to break it to you but there is no need to detox. Oh sure, if you generally eat an unhealthy diet then you’re going to benefit from a switch to eating more fruits and vegetables and home-prepared whole foods. But that juice cleanse or the seemingly endless number of detoxifying foods being promoted? Complete nonsense.
Think about it. What toxins do you think are lurking around in your body awaiting the magical parsley and lemon smoothie to be removed? Where exactly are these alleged toxins lurking anyway? Give your body a little credit; it’s a waste and toxin removing machine. Your kidneys and liver (provided you aren’t suffering from failure of these organs) do a great job of filtering out the toxins from your body. Admittedly, some toxins such as mercury (1) and many pesticides (2) accumulate in your body and take much longer to be excreted. Even so, a detox diet is going to do nothing to hasten the removal of these compounds.
While some detox diets simply advocate for healthy food choices, others are extremely limiting and can be dangerous. If you’re not consuming adequate nutrients for an extended period you’re putting yourself at risk of nutrient deficiency. If you’re consuming insufficient calories you’re likely doing the opposite of what you desire and wreaking havoc on your metabolism. Most people I know who undertake these extreme detox kicks end-up bouncing back-and-forth between extremes; from deprivation to excess (particularly of unhealthy food choices). I know that it’s not quick or sexy but making gradual, sensible choices that you can continue to adhere to for the rest of your life is going to provide you with longer lasting benefits than any detox will.