Detox- What do these products actually do?!
There is an abundance of products, diets and supplements which claim to "detox or cleanse " and help undo all the damage done with the boozing and poor lifestyle choices with quick fixes. They are typically marketed as amazing products that help "cleanse" your body and aid in weight loss.
However..... It is very hard to find any proper research to back the claims of these products or find any evidence as to how effective they are, either for long term weight loss or being able to eliminate waste products from the body. In fact a lot of companies don't even know what toxins their product targets or can give a definition of what detox is.
WHAT IS A CLEANSE OR DETOX......??
It is difficult to get a specific definition for what a "cleanse" is. Many Cleanse products will tell us the body accumulates toxins through our lifestyle choices, pollutants etc.
Many products will also tell us about the liver and kidneys and how they act like filters that will store all sorts of nasty toxins and how their product can help clean out our organs. But the liver and kidneys are self cleansing (exceptions from people who have documented medical conditions) .
The liver will convert toxic substances through a series of chemical reactions, to which it will then be eliminated. In healthy individuals the liver will do a pretty good job naturally of removing toxins without the aid of special teas or juices. Our body has its own pretty efficient detox system, which include the liver, kidneys, skin, respiratory and immune systems. If the body does not like a substance it will find a way to get rid of it.
As Alan Aragon states-
"The body is a self-cleansing unit with a constant turnover of cells. There’s no need for the typical healthy non-heroin addict to attempt to detoxify or cleanse,”
Have a read of The Detox Dossier (google it) it makes almost comical reading. A team of researchers did a little investigation and found that not a single company behind 15 commercial cleanses could name the toxins targeted by their treatment, agree on the definition of the word ‘detox’, or even supply evidence that their products work. In fact many of the claims the representatives gave about how the body works were wrong and some even dangerous.
" THE WEIGHT LOSS"-
As well as the supposed health benefits we will also hear amazing weight loss stories. Sorry to burst a lot of peoples bubble but stories of 5 day /10 / 14 or 28 day before and after weight loss won't cut it, because the weight loss is just NOT SUSTAINABLE and it is NOT likely to be FAT LOSS!
AS these detox or Cleanse diets generally involve cutting out a whole lot of calories from food and then replacing them with shakes, juices, powders and pills, of course weight will be lost initially. However with the weight loss it is not likely much of it will be fat loss. The weight will more likely be from loss of glycogen from muscles and liver. Once someone goes back to normal eating habits, water and glycogen will go straight to muscles and liver and the person will more than likely go back to their normal weight. Cue back on the cleanse loose weight, regain and repeat.
As I have stated in previous blogs, any diet can work short term as long as it isn't completely moronic and you are in some form of calorie deficit. Diets are effective if they can be maintained long term not just short term crash weight loss. Many of those juice/shake diets are not long term diet solutions. Many lack protein, essential fatty acids and carbs and let's be honest its pretty miserable having juices and shakes instead of real food.
While using the detox or cleanse the products will often advise to avoid or cut back on
- Processed foods etc
- Eat plenty fruit and veg
- Drink plenty of water
- Add some exercise
Then low and behold you lose weight, feel better and have more energy!
Is it the magic drink?
cutting back on the crap and increasing fruit and veg consumption, getting more exercise and drinking more water that is making you feel better? Hmmm.
People round about this time of year generally eat poorly, binge eat and go out get trollied more than usual. Once the partying is over people will go on the cleanse and claim to feel better and lose some weight.
A cleanse or detox often brings with it vegetable and fruit consumption, which brings a lot of nutrients the diet is likely to have been severely lacking during this time, which yes will probably help them feel better. You will also start to feel better when you cut back on the booze, having a better diet with plenty fruit and veg and generally cutting back on the excess.
So instead of doing a detox or cleanse the "quick fix" but unfortunately unstainable and unnecessary option to help you feel better and help with weight loss, I would recommend trying to focus on long-term sustainable health habits. Eating proper nutritious food daily. Getting in plenty of protein, veg and fruit, other nutritiously dense food and drinking plenty of water. It is a lot more enjoyable, affordable and will do just a good or better job than any detox or cleanse product and definitely benefit your health and weight long more long term.
Jamie Miller Personal Trainer
UK FITNESS PERSONAL TRAINING
FITNESS, NUTRITION & PERSONAL TRAINING