A Healthy Way to Detox
Detoxification Diets (or Detox Diets) seem to be everywhere lately! These short-term diets claim to solve all your health problems from eliminating toxins to promoting weight loss. But, do we really know if they eliminate these so-called “toxins” in our bodies? Do they actually help with weight loss?
And what the heck are toxins doing in my body anyway??!
Let’s figure this out!
There appear to be two distinct types of people who gravitate towards this type of diet plan. Just so you know, I have been in both of these categories at certain points in my life. So I totally get it.
- WEIGHT LOSS: The first groups are the people who need a quick weight loss fix. This group seems to be convinced that their bodies hold significant weight in “toxins” and by ridding their bodies of these toxins, they will be able to lose weight and/or get a jump start on their healthy living plan.
- LIFE TRANSITION: The next group tends to be in an emotional time of transition in their lives. When life spins out of control, people tend to look for something they can control. Since many of the detox diets claim to eliminate toxins, they feel it is a “healthy” way to control something in their chaotic lives.
Unfortunately, both of these groups appear to have fallen for some unsubstantiated claims by the Detox Diet folks. After a thorough review of the literature, Klein & Kait (2014) concludes that there is no persuasive evidence to support detox diets for either weight loss or toxin elimination. If you’ve tried detox diets in the past, you probably disagree with this conclusion. Especially if you feel you’ve had results. This study also contradicts many books and Internet sites claiming otherwise.
This critical review of the literature looked at numerous clinical studies and found no studies that have been conducted that don’t suffer from “significant methodological limitations” such as small sample size and sampling bias. Self-report is also a way some of these folks determine if a detox diet worked, which can be a very unreliable way to determine the effectiveness of any study. Have you noticed how most books and articles (and those gosh-darn addictive infomercial/videos) on detoxification are attempting to sell us something? Any “research” to support a specific diet should be critically reviewed to determine if the researchers had a partial interest in the outcome.
Since we are on the topic of detoxing, what exactly is a “toxin” anyway?
In the medical community, a toxin generally refers to drugs or alcohol that a person needs to be weaned off. Within the detox community, the term “toxin” is poorly defined. Many of the commercial detox programs don’t specifically identify what “toxin” they are eliminating, which makes researching their claims difficult.
Do you lose weight on these diets?
Probably. Many detox diets don’t provide a healthy number of calories, which places stress on the body. So, people end up losing weight and can feel sick. How do the Detox Diet makers explain this? Detox diet makers claim that the negative symptoms experienced are due to “bad stuff leaving the body” which sounds a little too convenient for me.
Sometimes in our desperation to make changes in our lives, we buy-in to these claims and give the detox diets a try.
Are there harmful substances in our lives that we need to avoid? YES. Do we need a periodic detox diet to do it? NO.
Unfortunately, what we need to do is much harder. We need to gradually begin to eliminate these toxins from our everyday lives. But hang in there with me and remember: Small changes made each day add up to big changes to your overall health!
So, lets look at a few small changes that work to detoxify a few areas of your life:
The article supports that there are certain nutritional components that have detoxification properties:
- Malic acid (found in grapes and wine)
- Citric acid (found in citrus fruits)
- Sucinic acid (fond in apples and blueberries)
- Citrus pectin (found in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits)
- Chorella (a type of green algae)
Now, I wouldn’t run out to Costco and stock up on fruit and green algae (??!), because it is important to note that the research into the detoxification properties of those nutritional components was predominately conducted on animals (mostly mice).
You can also work to limit the amount of pesticide exposure in your diet. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) evaluates fruits and vegetables to determine their overall pesticide exposure. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen categories help consumers prioritize which foods are most important to purchase organic when trying to limit pesticide exposure. This group came up with 12 foods (The Dirty Dozen) with the highest pesticide loads and are best purchased organic. They also included fifteen (The Clean 15) foods that have the lease pesticide load.
Here is your FREE DOWNLOAD of the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 foods.
We have a tendency to focus on what we put IN our bodies instead of what we put ON our bodies. Unfortunately, the United States is behind the European Union (EU) when it comes to contaminants in our beauty products. The EU has effectively banned over 1000 harmful ingredients in their products while the USA has only banned 11.
This is more than a little terrifying to me.
I have taken it upon myself to do my own research regarding what products I use for myself and my family. I recently downloaded an app that can help me make better choices with my skin care (and food)! The app is called EWG’s Healthy Living App. If these guys sound familiar, its because they are the same organization that created the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list! I suggest you download the app and begin looking at the safety score on the products you use.
Here is your FREE DOWNLOAD of the Healthy Living App
I have partnered with Beautycounter for all of my skincare products. They have clean products for your skin and I LOVE them. Beautycounter bans the use of over 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals in their products. This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned (or restricted) by the EU, plus additional chemicals that Beautycounter has concerns about. I don’t wear a lot (or any) make-up but I love a healthy skin care routine.
According to The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey, 86 percent say they constantly or often check their emails, texts and social media accounts. They determined that this constant checking has been found to be associated with higher stress levels. The most stressful part? When technology doesn’t work (which is kind of funny because my printer JUST decided to stop printing).
In addition to stressing us out, technology can mess with our sleep at night. If you have a tendency to use your computer, TV, or phone before bed, it can make it difficult to fall sleep. Technology emits a blue light, which has the same wavelength as the sun. This blue light tricks your brain into thinking its time to wake up (because the sun it out)! It ends up messing up the normal sleep-wake cycles that we typically keep.
- Try to put your technology away for the hour before you go to bed. My clients and I call this The Power Down Hour. Take a bath and get ready for bed to music (or a podcast) instead. Or read an actual book. Perform activities that wind you down after a long day instead of revving you up.
- Take time during your day to periodically disconnect from your electronics. Go for a walk during lunch instead of checking your social media and put the phone away when you get home from work. Small breaks can help break the habit of constant checking.
The GOOD NEWS is that there are small things we can do everyday that will lead to significant and LASTING changes to our overall health and wellness. The BAD NEWS is that there isn’t a quick way to reduce the exposure to chemical in our life.
If you need help putting yourself first in your life and improving your health, please let me know.
I offer a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if the 90-Day Health Intensive program is for you. You can even grab a few friends to reduce the cost and increase the FUN!
Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. Would you mind sharing this article?