A cleanse diet, designed around the notion of your body needing help eliminating excess toxins, has grown in popularity exponentially over the last decade, despite having little scientific backing or merit. Celebrities, manufacturers, and self-proclaimed nutritionists have hopped aboard the cleansing and detoxifying train to riches. Unfortunately, those unsubstantiated claims of detoxing and cleansing needs can result in health issues.
In any other context, the idea of depriving your body of food or essential nutrients would appear illogical. While the severe caloric restrictions of these “fad” diets do contribute to rapid weight loss, the loss is not a symptom of eliminated toxins; it is merely a consequence of severe calorie deprivation. Yet, it is no longer fair to consider these diets fads because popularity continues to grow. Cleanses are now a trend. The question becomes, is there any relevance to cleanse diets, or are any results purely speculative hokum?
Toxins and Your Body
In reality, your body has several organs and systems dedicated to removing toxins and bacteria — the liver, kidneys, intestines, etc. The human body, in general, effectively eliminates problematic toxins and harmful chemicals without any necessary interference or aid.
Most cleanse and detox diets claim the body needs help because of increased contaminants in the atmosphere and food, especially through environmental crises like global warming. However, despite the claims, there is little, if any, rational or well-researched evidence or logic to support such claims.
On top of misleading marketing, you will find it challenging, if not impossible, to find any cleanse or detox explaining what toxins the diet eliminates. The producers of these products and services cannot make such claims because it is considered fraud without proof. Instead, most cleanse services state generalities about health and wellness. Manufacturers might even discuss the potential benefits of specific ingredients in juices or supplements. However, in nearly every case, the company falls short of making any direct or conclusive statements about toxins.
Explaining the Positive Effects of Cleanses
Many people participate in cleanses, and some even do more than one cleanse per year. The drive or motivation is often based on the belief the diet makes them more focused or energetic. While an individual might feel healthier during a cleanse diet, the improvement is likely based on eliminating unhealthy foods and the increase of healthy options, like fruits and vegetables, not the cleanse.
Anyone who alters their diet to include more fruits and vegetables while eliminating refined sugars and processed meats are sure to feel some change. However, the difference is the result of healthier choices, not a specific cleanse or detox.
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Risks of Cleanses
Despite the focus on health and longevity, several cleanses can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies or dehydration. Still, several others can increase the potential risks of overdosing on diuretics, supplements, or laxatives. Because of the loopholes and lack of regulation in the supplement market, some labels might be inaccurate. While many might not see the risk of overdose on supplements or dietary products as a threat, it is potentially fatal, depending on the supplement.
There is a continued obsession with dieting, so much so that people now feel like health is reliant on the next new and improved fad. It is a constant and unwinnable game of whack-a-mole. In truth, all anyone needs to do is focus on consuming a healthy and balanced diet. If you do not know how or where to start, speak to a licensed nutritionist or primary care physician.