The truth about detoxing

More and more people, especially the overstressed, time-strapped, and nutrition-starved, are turning to detoxification to improve their diets and cleanse their systems. But what is detoxing really all about?

What is detoxing?

Detox refers to a process wherein the body gets rid of toxic substances through short-term dietary interventions. These toxins typically include air and water pollutants and processed food chemicals.

Detoxing is said to provide your body health benefits by giving a nutritional break so that it can become a better waste dumper and nutrient absorber. It usually lasts about a week and involves a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet consisting of foods high in essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. A typical detox diet includes fruit, vegetables, and plenty of water or clear fruit juices. Sometimes it also incorporates herbs and supplements.

How should I detox?

There are many ways to do a detox, but it usually involves fasting, eating certain foods, and limiting harmful ingredients. Detoxing usually has at least one of the following components:

  • Fasting for a short period (e.g., 1 to 3 days)
  • Eliminating foods high in heavy metals, contaminants, and allergens
  • Drinking plenty of water and fresh fruit or vegetable juices
  • Taking dietary supplements or other commercial products
  • Cleansing the colon with laxatives or enemas
  • Exercising regularly
  • Completely eliminating alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and refined sugar from your diet

What are the overall health benefits?

Detoxing is often thought to help enhance general physical and mental wellbeing.

However, scientific evidence on positive effects of detox diets are very limited, and the studies that exist today have been of low quality – with a small number of participants, study design flaws, and a lack of peer review.

Although you may lose some weight during the detox process, according to research findings, people who lose weight through detoxing usually regain it quickly once they go off the detox.

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