Detox For Weight Loss

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Detox Diets

Detox diets have exploded in popularity in the past few years. Does this have anything to do with the increasing number of pollutants we’re exposed to? Possibly. But, most experts agree that detox diets are worth your time and effort.

Losing weight quickly can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on several factors. That said, numerous people still prefer rapid weight loss. This is where detox diets and cleanses come in. People who try these types of diets are often looking for a relatively quick way to lose a large amount of weight. They are not the best way to do this, and there’s evidence that they might actually sabotage your efforts if you’re going about it the wrong way.

Organic and natural ingredients have been the subject of a lot of hype in recent years, with the industry portraying them as better alternatives to synthetic alternatives. We’ve seen the rise of green cleaning products, shampoos that are said to “remove toxins,” water filters said to “cleanse” your water supply — even your food is said to be filled with toxic chemicals. However, when you take a closer look at these claims, they fall apart — often revealing themselves as nothing more than marketing tricks.

 

What You Can Eat and What You Can’t

That depends on the particular detox diet you’re following. There are many of them. Some involve fasting, or just drinking liquids. Others allow some foods, like fruits and vegetables. They typically are short diets — they’re not a way of eating you can stick with in the long run.

Level of Effort: High

You’ll be hungry and may feel weak. Whether or not a detox diet is safe depends on the plan and how long you stay on it.

Most people don’t feel good on low-calorie, nutrient-poor diets. Potential side effects include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and nausea.

If the idea of detoxing appeals, you might try “clean” eating that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein — basically, whole foods without a lot of processing. That’s good for you and more likely to give you results that last, especially if you make exercise a habit.

Limitations: You’re going to go without a lot of the foods you usually eat. Detox diets are typically very rigid and involve eating the same few things over and over.

Cooking and shopping: Depends on the detox plan you’re following. Because there’s not a lot you’re allowed to eat, you won’t have a long shopping list and prep work should be minimal.

Packaged foods or meals: Some detox plans recommend herbs, pills, powders, enemas, and other forms of colon cleansing. Methods vary and often include products that are only available from the author’s web site.

In-person meetings? No.

Exercise: Not required, and you may not have the energy for it, because you’re not getting that many calories.

Full Body Detox: 9 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body

Detoxification — or detox — is a popular buzzword.

It typically implies following a specific diet or using special products that claim to rid your body of toxins, thereby improving health and promoting weight loss.

Your body is actually well equipped to eliminate toxins and doesn’t require special diets or expensive supplements to do so.

That said, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system.

This article explains some common misconceptions about detoxing along with listing nine evidence-based ways to rejuvenate your body’s detoxification system.

Common misconceptions about detoxing

Detox diets are said to eliminate toxins from your body, improve health, and promote weight loss.

They often involve the use of laxatives, diuretics, vitamins, minerals, teas, and other foods thought to have detoxing properties.

The term “toxin” in the context of detox diets is loosely defined. It typically includes pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and processed foods, which can negatively affect health.

However, popular detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove or the mechanism by which they supposedly eliminate them.

Moreover, no evidence supports the use of these diets for toxin elimination or sustainable weight loss (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

Your body has a sophisticated way of eliminating toxins that involves the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs.

Still, only when these organs are healthy can they effectively eliminate unwanted substances.

So while detox diets don’t do anything that your body can’t naturally do on its own, you can optimize your body’s natural detoxification system.

SUMMARY

While detox diets have a seductive appeal, your body is fully equipped to handle toxins and other unwanted substances.

photo of fruits

1. Limit alcohol

Your liver metabolizes more than 90% of the alcohol you consume

Liver enzymes metabolize alcohol to acetaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical

Recognizing acetaldehyde as a toxin, your liver converts it to a harmless substance called acetate, which it eliminates from your body

While observational studies have shown that low to moderate alcohol consumption benefits heart health, excessive drinking can cause many health problems

Excessive drinking can severely damage your liver function by causing fat buildup, inflammation, and scarring

When this happens, your liver cannot function adequately and perform its necessary tasks — including filtering waste and other toxins from your body.

Limiting or abstaining entirely from alcohol is one of the best ways to keep your body’s detoxification system running strong.

Health authorities recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two for men. If you currently don’t drink, you might want to consider not starting for the potential heart benefits associated with light to moderate drinking

SUMMARY

Drinking too much alcohol reduces your liver’s ability to carry out its normal functions, such as detoxifying.

2. Focus on sleep

Ensuring adequate quality sleep each night is a must to support your body’s health and natural detoxification system.

Sleeping allows your brain to reorganize and recharge itself, as well as remove toxic waste byproducts that accumulate throughout the day (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

One of those waste products is a protein called beta-amyloid, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease

With sleep deprivation, your body does not have time to perform those functions, so toxins can build up and affect several aspects of health

Poor sleep has links to short- and long-term health consequences, such as stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity

You should regularly sleep 7 to 9 hours per night to help promote good health

If you have difficulties staying or falling asleep at night, lifestyle changes like sticking to a sleep schedule and limiting blue light before bed are useful for improving sleep

SUMMARY

Adequate sleep allows your brain to reorganize, recharge, and eliminate toxins that accumulate throughout the day.

3. Drink more water

Water does so much more than quench your thirst. It regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints, aids digestion and nutrient absorption, and detoxifies your body by removing waste products

Your body’s cells must continuously repair themselves to function optimally and break down nutrients for your body to use as energy.

However, these processes release wastes in the form of urea and carbon dioxide, which can cause harm if they build up in your blood

Water transports these waste products, efficiently removing them through urination, breathing, or sweating. So staying properly hydrated is important for detoxification

The adequate daily water intake is 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women. You may need more or less depending on your diet, where you live, and your activity level

SUMMARY

In addition to its many roles in your body, water allows your body’s detoxification system to remove waste products from your blood.

4. Reduce your intake of sugar and processed foods

People often attribute sugar and processed foods to many of today’s public health crises

Research links high consumption of sugary and highly processed foods to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes

These diseases hinder your body’s ability to naturally detoxify by harming organs that play an important role, such as your liver and kidneys.

For example, high consumption of sugary beverages can cause fatty liver, a condition that negatively impacts liver function

You can keep your body’s detoxification system healthy by consuming less junk food.

You can limit junk food by leaving it on the store shelf. Not having it in your kitchen takes away the temptation altogether.

Replacing junk food with healthier choices like fruits and vegetables is also a healthy way to reduce consumption.

SUMMARY

Excess junk food consumption is linked to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. These conditions can cause harm to organs important to detoxifying, such as your liver and kidneys.

5. Eat antioxidant-rich foods

Antioxidants protect your cells against damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Oxidative stress is a condition that results from the excessive production of free radicals.

Your body naturally produces these molecules for cellular processes, such as digestion. However, alcohol, tobacco smoke, a low nutrient diet, and exposure to pollutants can produce excessive free radicals

These molecules cause damage to a range of cells. Research suggests that free radical damage plays a role in conditions such as dementia, heart disease, liver disease, asthma, and certain types of cancer

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help your body counter oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals and other toxins that increase your disease risk.

Focus on getting antioxidants from food and not supplements, which may, in fact, increase your risk of certain diseases when taken in large amounts

Examples of antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants

SUMMARY

Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants helps your body reduce damage caused by free radicals and may lower your risk of diseases that can impact detoxification.

6. Eat foods high in prebiotics

Gut health is important for keeping your detoxification system healthy. Your intestinal cells have a detoxification and excretion system that protects your gut and body from harmful toxins, such as chemicals

Good gut health starts with prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut called probiotics. With prebiotics, your good bacteria can produce nutrients called short-chain fatty acids that are beneficial for health

Antibiotic use, poor dental hygiene, and diet quality can all alter the bacterial balance in your gut

Consequently, this unhealthy shift in bacteria can weaken your immune and detoxification systems and increase your risk of disease and inflammation

Eating foods rich in prebiotics can keep your immune and detoxification systems healthy. Good food sources of prebiotics include tomatoes, artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats

SUMMARY

Eating a diet rich in prebiotics keeps your digestive system healthy, which is important for proper detoxification and immune health.

7. Decrease your salt intake

For some people, detoxing is a means of eliminating excess water.

Consuming too much salt can cause your body to retain excess fluid, especially if you have a condition that affects your kidneys or liver — or if you don’t drink enough water.

This excess fluid buildup can cause bloating and make clothing uncomfortable. If you consume too much salt, you can detox yourself of the extra water weight.

While it may sound counterintuitive, increasing your water intake is one of the best ways to eliminate excess water weight from consuming too much salt.

That’s because when you consume too much salt and not enough water, your body releases an antidiuretic hormone that prevents you from urinating and therefore, detoxifying

By increasing your water intake, your body reduces the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone and increases urination, eliminating more water and waste products

Increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods — which counterbalance some of sodium’s effects — also helps. Foods rich in potassium include potatoes, squash, kidney beans, bananas, and spinach

SUMMARY

Consuming too much salt can increase water retention. You can eliminate excess water — and waste — by increasing your intake of water and potassium-rich foods.

8. Stay active

Regular exercise — regardless of body weight — is associated with a longer life and a reduced risk of many conditions and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers

While there are several mechanisms behind the health benefits of exercise, reduced inflammation is a key point

While some inflammation is necessary for recovering from infection or healing wounds, too much of it weakens your body’s systems and promotes disease.

By reducing inflammation, exercise can help your body’s systems — including its detoxification system — function properly and protect against disease.

You should aim to do at least 150–300 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise — such as brisk walking — or 75–150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity physical activity — such as running

SUMMARY

Regular physical activity lowers inflammation and allows your body’s detoxification system to work properly.

9. Other helpful detox tips

Although no current evidence supports the use of detox diets for removing toxins from your body, certain dietary changes and lifestyle practices may help reduce toxin load and support your body’s detoxification system.

  • Eat sulfur-containing foods. Foods high in sulfur, such as onions, broccoli, and garlic, enhance the excretion of heavy metals like cadmium
  • Try out chlorella. Chlorella is a type of algae that has many nutritional benefits and may enhance the elimination of toxins like heavy metals, according to animal studies
  • Flavor dishes with cilantro. Cilantro enhances the excretion of certain toxins, such as heavy metals like lead and chemicals, including phthalates and insecticides
  • Support glutathione. Eating sulfur-rich foods like eggs, broccoli, and garlic helps enhance the function of glutathione, a major antioxidant produced by your body that is heavily involved in detoxification
  • Switch to natural cleaning products. Choosing natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda over commercial cleaning agents can reduce your exposure to potentially toxic chemicals
  • Choose natural body care. Using natural deodorants, makeups, moisturizers, shampoos, and other personal care products can also reduce your exposure to chemicals.

While promising, many of these effects are only evident in animal studies. Therefore, studies in humans are needed to confirm these findings.

SUMMARY

Some lifestyle and dietary modifications may enhance your body’s natural detoxification system.

The bottom line

Detox diets are said to eliminate toxins, which supports improving health and promoting weight loss.

While these diets are popular, they are not necessary. Your body has its own highly efficient detoxification system.

That said, you can enhance your body’s natural detoxification system and improve your overall health by staying hydrated, consuming less salt, staying active, and following an antioxidant-rich diet.

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