Skeptical about detoxing? 10 reasons why you should reconsider.
Updated: Mar 1
There are a lot of misconceptions about and misrepresentations of detoxification (also referred to as detox or detoxing), leaving many people who could benefit from it, skeptical about its effectiveness or benefits. And I can understand why. I too used to think of it as an extreme form of dieting, not realizing that when we are exposed to a daily dose of toxins, eventually the body gets tired and many of the symptoms discussed above start showing up.
You may be one of those people who are still skeptical about the usefulness of a detox, because perhaps for you, what comes up when you hear "detox" may be the image of extreme calorie-restriction, starving yourself, juice or water fast or other extreme dietary or lifestyle measures. And all these can contribute to weight and fat loss, but they can come at a cost if we are not well-guided into them.
Water-fast (WF) for example has known health benefits, including the ability to improve various markers of health such as "a reduction in the level of perceived stress, weight loss, ... and decreased serum glucose concentration, ..." but it can leave nutritional gaps and be especially harmful for people with renal diseases, according to Ewa Oglodek and Wieslaw Pillis in a NIH publication.
Ogdolek and Pillis conclude: "Therefore, for the safety of middle-aged people subjected to 8-day WF, it is recommended to discontinue such intervention, as it is a drastic form of fasting that already begins to generate unfavorable symptoms for a healthy person."
A juice fast is another approach that can boost nutrient intake in an easy to absorb form for the body, but it can be impractical or unsustainable. It requires a lot more fruits and vegetables than the average person can access or afford. Those who succeed at juice-fasting, must have adequate knowledge of what nutrients their body needs to reach and maintain balance.They must have access to a plentiful supply of fruits and vegetables, either by growing their own or working with a regular supplier of fresh, organic produce. Unfortunately, access to fresh organic produce has become a commodity that only a few can afford.
Juicing also takes a lot of time, both to clean and cut all the produce needed before juicing can begin. For a busy person whose time in the kitchen is limited, it can be quite a challenge to be consistent and adopt juicing a way of life. Commercially pressed juices are not the same. Juicing is best when made with freshly pressed produce and prepared right before the juice is consumed.
There are other types of diets that can support detoxification and the benefits they offer vary depending on the approach taken, current state of health of the one detoxing, consistency, duration, and age, among other factors. I have addressed these other types of diets that can support detoxification in a different post. Go here to read it
A well-planned and implemented detox program can be life-changing for people with stubborn belly fat and many other signs of imbalance.
Below are 10 health benefits of detoxification
Jump-starting the metabolism: Our metabolism slows down when the body accumulates toxins.
Increase energy: Toxins are energy zappers.
Enhance fat-burning: Toxins like to hide in fat cells pushing them to continue expanding, especially around the abdomen.
Improve digestion: When the body is full of toxins, it's a sign that key detoxification organs are not functioning optimally. A healthy digestion means that the bodily systems involved in detoxification are moving waste along, so that none are left hiding especially in fat cells.
Strengthen the immune system: This is achieved by reducing toxic load in the body and avoiding toxins found in foods and the environment so that the body feels grounded and in balance.
Balance hormones: Estrogen, insulin and thyroid hormones in particular need to be in balance for effective fat-burning. Toxins impair the functioning of the endocrine system.
Improve vitamin and mineral intake: An unprocessed, nutrient-dense diet is key to a successful detox.
Identify food sensitivities and limit known triggers (Cleveland Clinic, 2022): Gluten, dairy, soy, corn and foods in the nightshades family (eggplants, tomatoes, green peppers and tomatoes) can hamper the body's ability to detox and to burn fat.
Increase water intake (Popkin, 2010; Edmonds, 2009; Bjarnadottir, 2019): One of my favorite ways to hydrate in the morning is to drink flavored water in which I soak pineapple peels, fresh turmeric and slices of lemon, overnight in a large pitcher filled with filtered water and covered with a napkin (paper or cloth) and a saucer on top to secure the napkin in place. I leave it out on a counter if it is cool enough in the room, or put it in the fridge. Then I strain it and drink at least two large glasses of this drink first thing in the morning before breakfast. It's hydrating and good for the immune system. And it smells great! You'll love it especially if you like the smell of fresh pineapple.
Reduce inflammation in the body: Food sensitivities, a highly acidic diet and nutrient-deficiencies can be at the heart of increased inflammation. Detoxification can lower inflammation when it removes inflammatory triggers in sensitive people, increases intake of an alkaline and nutrient-dense diet.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these benefits point to the importance of "detoxification as a promising step in the process of restoring the body's natural balance and vitality", which comes with a healthy weight and waistline (Gates and Schatz, p. 50).
Detoxing is necessary because consistent exposure to hundreds of toxins increases risks of many health complications and it is nearly impossible to avoid toxins because they are everywhere in and around us.
Claim your copy of the Quick Start Detox Guide to get started today.
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See you on the other side!