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The truth behind "detox" diets

January 4, 2018

This is the time of year when many people think they’d like to drop a few pounds – particularly after all the holiday excess. However, in their quest for a quick result, a large number of people turn to so-called “detox” diets.

Detox, as it relates to dieting, means the removal of toxic substances from the human body by either eating certain foods or taking particular supplements, a task mostly carried out by the liver. Of course, the diets also offer the allure of fast, relatively easy, weight-loss.

Physicians and nutrition experts are quick to caution that detox is something of a misnomer, and in some cases can be dangerous.

No specific detox diet can take the place of what your body is naturally programmed to do, nor can it increase the speed at which your body releases toxins. Most detox products on the market today require the user to significantly increase their consumption of liquids and herbal remedies. However, these all-natural products aren’t without side-effects.

Drinking too much water can be just as dangerous as not drinking enough. And there have been reports of individuals hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries after doing a New Year’s “detox” that consisted of liquids and various herbal remedies. Doctors linked these adverse health ramifications to abnormally low levels of sodium in the blood.

Instead of a quick fix detox routine, try putting some of these tips into practice to get you back on track and feeling great again:

  • Get some daily physical activity
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods
  • Don’t smoke
  • Consume less sugar

The goal is not just to lose weight, but to make changes that lead to good health over the long term – this year, and beyond.  So, give yourself time, seek support when you need it, and make 2018 the year you work on improving your overall health.