With the start of a new year, many people think they need to clear their digestive systems after over indulging through the holidays. Cleansing, or detox dieting, has become popular, claiming to eliminate toxins over several days, giving your healthy eating habits a jump start.
Cleanses can be done several ways. Some require fasting, while others require drinking special drinks such as green tea, juices, or drinks made from powders for 1 to 3 days. These detox diets claim to boost energy, help you lose weight and clean your system out, helping your body absorb nutrients better.
However, our bodies naturally cleanse themselves! Our digestive system, liver, kidneys and skin eliminate toxins through our urine, stool and sweat. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is no conclusive evidence that eliminating solid foods can benefit the digestive system. We need solid food, especially fiber-rich food such as fruit and vegetables, to slow digestion, improve nutrient absorption and nourish our intestines with beneficial bacteria.
Cleanses can help you drop a few pounds, but that is just a result of losing water, carbs and stool over a few days. That weight comes back when you return to your normal diet. If you are working out, detoxing is never a good idea, since you are depriving your body of proper fuel for energy.
So are there any benefits to cleansing? Yes, but they are limited. You may feel better due to taking in more vitamins and minerals from the drinks. You may also become more hydrated, and because you probably will find yourself visiting the restroom more often, you could feel like you’re “cleaned out.”
However, since you aren’t taking in many calories, you could interfere with your metabolism and glucose level. You could also have gastrointestinal distress. Bottom line? Your body naturally detoxes itself every day. To feel better long term, eat a healthy, balanced diet and you can’t go wrong. If you’d like some help, just call Fitness Together and we can get your new year started on the right path!