Wednesday 9 March 2016

Are detox diets good for you ?

        Those colorful, expensive bottles of juice look healthy. But are detox diets good for you? Here's what the science says.
        Not to long ago, the only people who went on on detox diets were Hollywood stars and trend-obsessed editors at fashion and lifestyel magazines.These days it seems like everybody is doing them. The big question is: Are they good for you?         
At best...... maybe,minimally. Any small benefit you might get from a detox diet coild be overshadowed by the risk.

What is a detox ,anyway ?
 "dietary detox" has no universal definition. We know in the absence of science, people are usually left with confusion,superstition,and myth(plus plenty of people ready and willing to take your money).
Despite a lack of scientific support for any "detoxifying " dietary process, many "detox diets have emerged. Most prescribe: certain foods,special juices,teas or even colonics.Some simply promote fasting. The purpose of these interventions is to purge would- be toxins from our bodies in the interest of better health.By definition toxins are small peptides or proteins capable of causing disease on contact with body tissues. Toxins vary greatly in severity,ranging from minor to immediatly deadly.And,it's not as simple as "toxic " vs. "nontoxic". Most everything is toxic at some level.It's unavoidable.
Some toxins can be beneficial.  In relatively small amounts, many toxins can be processed easily and are actually good  for us. Examples :

Vitamin A : To much can cause headaches,drowsiness and anorexia.

Vitamin B :  Too much,and your neurological and liver function will   

Phytochemicals: Found naturally in plants,excessive amounts may be
                              toxic to the liver,kidney and intestine

Lectins : Found in grains and legumes can bind to cell membranes and 
                damage intestinal tissue

Glucosinolates:  Found in vegetables like broccoli,Brussels sprout,and 
                             bok choy .High consumption of these chemicals 
                             have been shown to contribute to hyperthyroidism

Alcohol: Heavy drinking can increase your risk of many health 
Fortunatley,the body "cleanses" itself.
If we can't avoid toxins, doesn't it make sense to do some sort of detox ?
No. Because our bodies have very robust detoxification systems which include:

* digestive tract
* kidneys
* skin
* lungs
* liver
* lymphatic and respiratory system
These systems break down chemicals into other forms we can eliminate via the toilet,sweat or breathing. If the body is great at self-cleansing,why would anyone consider detoxing in the first place?
Detoxing does not promote weight loss. The reason people loss any weight at all is because they're "empty". They quickly lose body water,carbohydrates stores and intestinal bulk. It all come back a few hours after the detox ends. You can't stay empty forever.The fact is these folks lose very little fat if at all. You're not losing anything that won't come right back within hours after the end of the diet. Worse. You're putting you're health at risk to support the illusion. So,if weight loss is your goal, there are smater and more permanent ways to do it. Given that detox diets won't rid the body of impurities or lead to weight loss,are there any benefits? No. 

Some disadvantages of detox diets
The disadvantages of a detox diet are much more numerous than the potential benefits.Any diet will take some effort to organize, and detox diets are no exception.You will never put in as much work into eating less as you do into a detox diet.People with limited time ,money and resources won't enjoy juicing as much as seven kilograms of fruits and vegetable each day. Especially if they're feeling weak,listless or dizzy. Most juice diets are extremely low in calories. With the low energy intake  you'll often notice other things slowing down: you may feel colder,or sluggish,or notice digestion taking a while. Many of the negative side effects that people typically notice could be the result of overload. Their bodies are working  overtime to deal with a noxious cocktail of oxalates,nitrates,etc- all from fruit and vegetable juice. The very "detox" itself could prove "toxic". This brings me to one of my own theories. Many people get headaches whem they are on juice diets. I think this could be due to nitrates.
Many detox juices use a lot of celery and beets. Normally,we don't consume such high quantities of these. Many detox juices are rich in nutrates,which promote vasodilation. This can lead to some pounding headaches. Fruit juices can cause major swings in blood sugar - making them dangerous for people with diabetes, and potetially risky for many others. 
Extreme variations in fat intake can cause trouble for organs that process dietary fats,like the gallbladder. These things can cause potentially serious problems when a person starts eating normally again.  
Detox diets- the entire concept of "cleansing",in fact-can enable feast or famine style eating patterns. It's the classic dieter mentality. On the wagon,off the wagon,on the wagon,ad infinitum. It's always more harmful than helpful. You never learn to prepare real food and real meals that are both nutritious and delicious.Worst of all: You never feel truly happy with any of your choices .
When we eat solid foods,the foods must go through digestion in order for us to liberate nutrients When food is pre-chewed by a juicer or a blender, this decreases the work of digestion.You've heard of the thermic effect of eating.
The more digestion the more calories you burn digesting food.When you juice cleanse you burn significantly fewer calories via digestion.
At this point, there just doesn't seem to be a strong scientific case in support of detox diets. There are plenty of anecdotes in support of detoxing,especially from companies selling detoxing kits.But the vast majority of unbiased and nutrition experts say that a simple pattern built around whole nutritious foods with regular exercise beats a juice cleanse or detox diet every time.    

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