Okay so this Friday’s post is about something that really rubs me the wrong way.
Do you know how many people opt to try out “detoxifying” products? When I worked at GoodnessMe! I had to really bite my tongue whenever someone would ask me about the effectiveness of the latest liver detox kit.
It bugs me even more when people jump onto a ‘detox diet’… that basically is a starvation diet… in order to rid their bodies of toxins because its overloaded…
Overloaded you say?
What does that even mean or feel like?
Is that the feeling you get after drinking all weekend? Having a holiday meal and perhaps eating one too many servings of overly sweet or calorically dense foods?
I’m sorry, but that’s not toxins, that’s just a feeling of sluggishness and fatigue from your body having to go into overdrive to break down everything you just ate.
So on this side, no, a detox isn’t required. Instead, next event, try to monitor yourself. No, I’m not saying to restrict, feel guilty or over compensate with restriction and over exercising the next day. What I’m saying is to be mindFUL of your choices and your satiety cues during these events to prevent yourself from over eating.
If you happen to over eat, the best detox would be …
Yeah. Easy no?
Conclusion of first rant: Feeling not so great is generally the outcome of nutrition related choices. Enjoy yourself and don’t feel the need to skip your favourite treat this holiday season but don’t let yourself take a free-for-all because no, your body will not be happy afterwards. It is not filled with toxins to be rid of, it’s simply stuffed and needs some time for processing.
Before I go onto rant numba 2, lets just highlight the fact that your body does a pretty good job as detoxifying your body.
That’s kind of its job.
Yes, we don’t eat the same quality of foods these days and we take in a lot more toxins from our air, water, etc, but the liver is still going to detox just fine unless it’s some extreme event. Otherwise, the fatigue and ‘bleh’ feeling you are experiencing is most probably more so the result of chronically eating foods that are not nutritionally dense and take a lot of processing. If heavily processed food is your go to, it’s not a detox you need, its a change in diet.
Okay so that’s one part out of the way, the other reason some people do detoxes is for weight loss or to ‘jump start’ their weight loss journey.
Why you shouldn’t do this…
~Any weight you loose is water most definitely because most of these detox diets and/or kits require a huge caloric deficit. Many of them are liquid based diets or eating mostly veggies. So no foods with real substance.
~You are freaking your body out with days and days of poor caloric intake. When it gets scared, it does things to compensate and save energy. When your body starts “saving energy”, say bye-bye to any potential for weigh loss.
~As mentioned in the first point, any weight loss is not something that will stick around. Once you actually begin to eat again, you will just gain the weight back and possibly more depending on the degree of dietary restriction and length of time (ie. how much your body adjusted)
So tell me again how this is helpful for loosing weight?
From what I have seen, it doesn’t help at all. It often just makes you worse off than when you started because many people binge eat after the detox
Over-eating when your body is not adjusting to being starved = weight gain.
My advice: Just don’t do it.
Lastly, because this can’t be all about me ranting, are their studies that actually show some effectiveness or positive outcomes from these detoxes?
Not really. There have been some studies showing some detoxifying benefits of certain types of foods BUT they are done on animals and some studies have been found to have some methodological issues. (Refer to this study)
The study just mentioned also discussed:
~How there have been no studies that have looked into detoxes and weight loss
~Presents a study that shows a potential mechanism for preventing weight loss due to high stress of a low calorie detox diet.
~Detox diets, whether food/liquid or supplement based, are DANGEROUS! Overdosing on the supplements and severe caloric restriction have major negative consequences
Another study looked at 3 types of detoxes and highlighted some interesting things:
~There is no data that shows the efficacy of detoxes
~Detoxes should not be attempted by everyone. If you are already sick, you definitely SHOULD NOT attempt these
stupid things because they are going to cause more stress on the body.
So to bring this post to a close, I will ask that if there is no evidence regarding benefits and/or potential negative consequences of these detoxes PLUS they are unpleasant to do, why even do them in the first place?
As proposed in the first study, what we should be focusing on is the reasoning behind WHY people want to do these. I personally believe that a big reason for most is weight loss and I’m going to be blunt and say that weight loss does not come from a quick fix. Dietary and lifestyle changes are needed and people need to accept that. No it’s not easy, but that’s just the way it is. If we just ate more so the way our previous generations ate (less processed/fast/convenience foods and actually had proper meal times) I don’t think we would be struggling as much as we are with obesity.
Just my two cents.
Have a great Friday night my friends!