The Truth About Detoxing
Summer is here! While we may see summer as a time for adventure and a sense of freedom, many companies view the summer months as a time to capitalize on our insecurities. Marketing ploys during the summer months make us feel as though we should be striving to look a certain way. Through empty promises of attaining our ideal body, companies shell out thousands of dollars to have us buy into quick fixes and unsustainable diet trends. One of the most common offenders during these summer months is a store-bought detox.
There are endless detoxes promoted to the public through all forms of media nowadays. Though detoxing has been around for thousands of years, what exactly does this term mean? Do detox practices offer the benefits they claim to have on the body? Continue reading as we dive further into the world of detoxes.
What is a detox? The term detox refers to ridding the body of dangerous levels of poisons or toxins. The term encompasses ridding the body of toxins that people believe contribute to symptoms including headache, bloating, fatigue, joint pain, and depression.
The supplement industry has capitalized on this term and redefined its meaning. Today, the number one reason people choose to detox is for a quick weight loss solution or to eliminate bad food habits or cravings. Detoxes are short bouts of consuming pressed juices, water, herbal teas, eliminating foods or food groups. But is this healthy, or even necessary?
How effective are detoxes? There have been a small number of studies performed regarding detox diets in humans. A study done in 2015 concluded that there was no complete research to support the use of these detox programs for weight loss or eliminating toxins from the body.
Research also shows that these detox diets can cause initial weight loss as they are low in calories. Detoxes are essentially putting our bodies into a state of starvation, in which much of the weight lost is water or muscle. Over time, once the detox is complete, weight gain is inevitable. There is also a lot of unknown information about the long-term effects of detoxes on the body.
Can I detox for weight loss? Can a detox cause weight loss? It is a loaded question. A juice detox or water-only fast can promote a temporary lower number on the scale. However, it is where that weight loss is occurring is where the concern lies.
In a water-only fast or juice detox, the body will use lean body mass for energy. Our lean body mass is where we want to preserve our weight. These types of detoxes and fasts deprive our body of water, nutrients and deplete our muscles by relying on them for energy. Weight loss that results from a detox diet is not sustainable, nor is it the healthy weight loss we want to achieve.
What are the risks of detoxes?: The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against certain detox products. One of the ongoing concerns with drinking only water, juices, or herbal teas for days in a row is complications with electrolyte imbalances. Electrolytes are minerals in the body that help carry out functions in the body.
Electrolytes stimulate electrical signals through the body that create nerve impulses. Electrolytes help to keep your organs functioning properly and maintain optimum performance of your digestive, cardiac, nervous, and muscular systems.
Detoxes promote electrolyte imbalance through the large influx of fluid into the body, as well as the severe caloric restriction. The large influx of fluid can dilute our systems and alter our electrolyte levels. Severely limiting calories can lead to nutrient deficiencies by not providing us the nutrients we need. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to a disruption of our metabolic system. The combination of the two disturbances can cause nausea, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat, and even seizures.
If I'm not detoxing, how do I get rid of toxins in my body? In the marketing of the diet industry, it can sometimes feel as though we need to buy a product to detox. However, we tend to forget that our body has a natural detox system. Our organs work together to rid our bodies of toxins.
Toxins are foreign objects in our bodies that can cause harm. Our immune system recognizes foreign substances and eliminates them from the body. Our skin serves as an external barrier against harmful substances such Our lungs are lined with cilia that help trap the toxins, and through actions like coughing, we excrete them.
The liver is the primary filter in the body. Proteins produced by the liver neutralize harmful metals. The liver also contains cells that produce enzymes that regulate the metabolism of drugs and other chemicals or toxins found in the body. Once metabolized to be safely passed, the kidneys excrete waste substances out of the body.
What else is there? If weight loss is on your mind, think about consulting with a Registered Dietitian who can help guide you to a healthy lifestyle that you can sustain. Working to incorporate a balanced diet with adequate fluids, the right amount of sleep, and physical activity can help you achieve your health goals.
If you are looking for a reset, the sister company to Nutrition for Longevity, L-Nutra, has developed ProLon- a 5-day program designed to nourish and rejuvenate the body while also supporting metabolic balance. Unlike a detox diet, the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) provides micro and macronutrients in quantities that nourish the body but are not recognized as food, allowing our body to mimic the fasting state.
FMD differs from a water-only fast in the sense that FMD preserves lean body mass and targets visceral fat (the fat surrounding the abdominal area), the weight we want to lose!
Nutrition for Longevity offers a 12 Day Reset program that can help you get back on track with your health goals! Reach out to the dietitians at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!