fasting, followed by a strict diet regimen of fruit and vegetable juices and water.
Many Americans are attracted to juice detoxing because of its proposed benefits of weight loss, increased immunity, and detoxification of wastes.
However, currently there is no nutritional evidence that supports any of these proposed claims.
Myth #1: Detoxing will cleanse the body of impurities, chemicals, and wastes.
False. Never underestimate the body: Everyday the body naturally cleanses itself of toxins via the liver and the kidneys. Urine and feces are perfect examples of how the body detoxifies itself on a regular basis. Detoxing, therefore, is unnecessary, since the body is equipped with its own detoxing capabilities.
Myth #2: It is a quick and easy way to start a healthy lifestyle.
False. Sure, drinking juice and water is better than eating junk foods like cake and potato chips. However, too much of one thing can be detrimental to the body. Strictly drinking juice and water for days deprives the body of essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, fiber...etc that the body needs to function on a daily basis. Therefore, this is NOT a great start to a healthy lifestyle.
A better way to kickstart a healthy lifestyle is to consume a balanced diet that incorporates each of the food groups (Fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, dairy).
Myth #3: You will speed up your metabolism.
False. After about 18-48 hours of nutrient deprivation, the body will enter a "fasting state." In this state, the metabolism will slow down its efforts to retain any nutrients the body currently has in store to prevent further nutrient losses. Additionally, since the body's protein stores are not being replenished through the juices, muscles will begin to degrade throughout this process. Muscles promote lean body mass and increased metabolic functions. Therefore, breaking them down will additionally slow down the metabolism.
Myth #4: You will get rid of only harmful bacteria through your GI tract by cleansing.
False. The GI tract is lined with a lot of bacteria, both good and bad. The good bacteria, known as probiotics, help maintain a good balance between the good and the bad bacteria in the intestines. Additionally, they help fight infections and promote immunity. When people detox, they often cause self-induced diarrhea from the high amount of liquids being consumed. As a result of the diarrhea, essential nutrients are malabsorbed by the intestines, both the bad and good bacteria are wiped out of the body, and immunity becomes compromised.
Overall, detox dieting is ultimately a waste of your time, money, and energy- (literally).
Rule of Thumb: Usually any nutrition recommendation that deprives you of one or more essential food groups is most likely a hoax.
- Gropper, S., Smith, J., & Groff, J. (2009). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. (5th ed.). Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
- Mayo Clinic. Detox Diets: Do They Work? Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/detox-diets/expert-answers/faq-20058040. Accessed January 19, 2014.
- Carter, D. (2009, August 20). Coming clean: Detox diets are back. Retrieved from http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090821/FEATURES0401/908210322/Coming clean Detox diets are back
- Jett, M. (2011, January). Not-so-fantastic-fads. Student Scoop: The American Dietetic Association. Retrieved from file:///Users/shaynafrost/Downloads/January2011_StudentScoop.pdf
*Note: This information is meant for the general, healthy public, and does not apply to those with specific kidney or liver diseases. If you have one of these diseases, consult your physician or personal Registered Dietitian for more personalized dietary recommendations.