Whether you watch late night TV infomercials or flip through fitness and health magazines, you have likely seen advertisements for various cleanses and detox programs. These types of programs tout all sorts of benefits ranging from fat loss, muscle gain, greater energy, better digestion, deeper sleep, and higher sex drive. While those are all great things that many of us would love to have, do their detox diets and cleanse pill and powders actually give them to you? Read below to find out more.
Detox has certainly become quite a buzzword as of late. Many people are using various programs from the Master Cleanse (water, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, maple syrup) to colonic cleansers with the hopes of improving digestion and ridding the body of harmful toxic chemicals. One would think that all these programs provide something to the body that it is currently lacking. Not so. The liver and kidneys are the body’s own detoxification organs and their job over millions of years has been to rid the body of wasteful chemicals and ingested toxins. When the kidneys and liver are functioning at their best, they do an incredible job of detoxifying the body. These organs, when not inhibited by processed and junk food (more on that later), are working every second of the day to naturally cleanse the body. So before you sign up for a cleanse or detox program, consider how you could improve the natural detoxification system your body already has.
Many detox programs follow a similar protocol. First you must avoid many food groups and usually only consume fruits, vegetables, water, and their proprietary blend of herbal supplements and powders. The individual herbs used are likely to be beneficial from a health standpoint, however detox programs and diets lack any substantial evidence of efficacy. There are simply no controlled trials of detox programs and cleanses improving health or supporting their purported claims. Why then, do so many people do these programs and report feeling so much better? First, think not about what they are taking in but instead of what they are cutting out. Not eating refined sugar, processed flour, and industrial cooking oils? No fries cooked in rancid oil for lunch, no donuts or bagels for breakfast, and no ice cream after your dinner? No wonder you may feel better! These harmful food products all inhibit the kidneys and liver from doing their job. When you eat foods that can cause fatty liver disease, it’s hard to imagine that your liver function is going to be very high.
You may be wondering, how do you then use the body’s own detoxification system, which by the way doesn’t have a 6 week trial program or 4 payments of $19.95? You must support the liver and kidneys with foods that improve their function and rid your diet of harmful processed and junk food which can be inhibitory to your detoxification system.
Eliminate - All processed and refined food. Eat no sugar, flour, or industrial cooking oils (soybean, canola, sunflower, vegetable oil, margarine). These oils contain harmful additives and are pro-inflammatory to the body.
Eat until satiety- Natural, unprocessed, fresh food. If it ran on the ground, swam in the water, or flew in the sky then eat it. If it grew out of the ground or on a tree, eat it. If you could make it yourself without an organic chemistry PhD and million dollar lab, eat it. This will nourish your body, support your organs, and give you a natural detox program.
So the next time you see an advertisement and realize you’d love your body to function and feel better, consider cleaning out your kitchen, heading to the produce and butcher departments, and getting some exercise. Your body will thank you for it!