14 Apr Detoxes and Cleanses
To Detox, or not to Detox…that is the question.
What is a detox diet or cleanse?
These are extreme, calorie and food restricted plans based on the ‘premise’ of removing poisonous toxins from our bodies that result from preservatives, food additives, insecticides or our bodies own waste products.
How do detoxes and cleanses work?
They are touted to work by limiting or completely eliminating whole foods from your regular diet for a designated period of time, usually 1 day to 1 week depending on the program.
What types of detoxes and cleanses are available?
There are TONS of these ‘cleanses’ out there. Most follow a very low-calorie plan with small amounts of fruits and vegetables, usually in juice form, and water. Many also include herbs, pills, powders, enemas, and various other forms of intestinal cleanses. Many of the products are sold EXCLUSIVELY by the cleanse creator and can be VERY costly.
Can I lose weight?
Yes, you WILL likely lose weight on most of the plans out there- however this is TEMPORARY. As I mentioned earlier, they are very low calorie (usually under 1,000 calories per day) but the weight you lose is primarily fluid or WATER WEIGHT and will return when normal eating resumes.
Do I NEED to detox my body?
Your body has the ability to detox itself, your liver, kidneys, and digestive system are your built-in cleanse. BESIDES, there is no scientific evidence that backs the claims that following a specific plan for a designated period of time will rid your body of toxins. ALSO, the diets and supplements are NOT regulated by the FDA.
What happens to my body on a strict JUICE detox?
The beginning – Each time you consume your juice products, your body responds to the high, natural sugar content with a spike in your insulin, which moves sugar in the form of glucose into your bloodstream. As your cells use up the glucose, your blood sugar level drops and this drop in blood sugar can leave you feeling dizzy and fatigued. Since you have consumed very few calories, your body is functioning off of stored glycogen supply (short-term energy supplied stored in your liver and muscles.)
The Early Days – With each dose of juice, your insulin levels shoot up because you are ONLY consuming carbohydrates, and once the body processes that blood sugar, you crash hard and quickly. By now, your glycogen stores are basically gone and you are likely to be feeling weak and even MORE fatigued than on day 1.
Since your body is getting about half its usual calories your body starts using two long-term energy sources. The first is from a type of fat (triglycerides) which are stored in fat cells. Hey, that sounds great, right? Maybe…we’ll see about that. The second source is protein being taken directly from your muscle mass which means you are LOSING muscle.
That is bad, right?
Staying Strong – Brain fog starts to set in as you are entering semi-starvation mode. Your body is now using ketones (this is fuel that comes from the breakdown of fat). Ketones DO work but it’s like your body running on CHEAP gas. Without a high protein source your brain is now lacking amino acids, which are the raw material your neurotransmitters NEED to regulate your mood.
You could be starting to feel a little down or depressed. The proteins left in your muscles break down into ammonia and uric acid, which are unwanted chemicals in your bloodstream. So basically, your kidneys are now working harder than ever to detox your detox. Also, at this point in the cleanse the juice’s high carb load causes an excess of water to enter your intestines, the excess water means you are prone to diarrhea.
Almost there – With no real food to digest, your small intestines are now affected. The fibers in your intestines that move food through are now starting to weaken and deteriorate, which in turn can cause your diarrhea to get worse and eventually lead to dehydration.
The End…finally there – (If you are STILL participating in the plan) Back to solid foods but beware… by this time you’ve lost lean muscle mass needed to burn those calories, which will likely be stored as fat instead of used as energy. NOW you have to work extra hard to put back on that lean muscle mass.
What are some of the common side effects of these cleanses?
Headache, fatigue, dizziness, bowel and intestinal distress, muscle aches, insomnia and nausea are common complaints from detoxes and cleanses of all types.
Are there serious, long-term side effects?
Due to the low calorie and restrictive nature of detoxes and cleanses your body WILL lose important nutrients. You WILL definitely LOSE muscle mass which in turn slows down your metabolism and a slow metabolism will result in weight gain from fewer calories consumed when you resume normal, eating.
What are some of the benefits? It’s a good chance to evaluate and RE-EVALUATE your eating habits. Since on most plans, you eliminate processed foods and beverages, you will also lose the craving for those types of unhealthful foods.
TEMPORARY weight loss. Most people turn to these types of plans when they have a special event coming up and want to lose a few quick pounds.
Are there any healthy options to cleanses and detoxes?
The idea of eliminating processed foods including saturated fats, sugars, white flour, and alcohol from your diet is always a good one… but that is what I feel is the ONLY benefit. You can do all of this without drastically reducing your caloric intake, giving up proteins and fats and without giving up whole foods.
In a nutshell, ADDING whole food juices to your diet have MANY nutritious benefits but replacing foods with them is not only risky, it is not necessary. There may better methods than a “cleanse” or a “detox” . You can eat foods as they have existed in nature for thousands of years and eliminated processed, altered and modified foods and gain all of the benefits of a cleanse without the risks. The choice is yours…
Excuses or solutions…YOU decide!