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Family Nutrition


Demystifying Detox Diets


I
f you’ve heard “I’m juicing” or “I’m detoxing” from a friend or relative, you’re not alone. These extreme diet measures are an effort to get rid of toxins in the body and jumpstart weight loss. Many undertake these extreme eating (or just drinking) measures several times a year – others see it as an annual spring cleaning measure. Do these diets work?

Most mainstream doctors agree that detoxification diets, super-cleanses and other forms of extreme dieting aren’t supported by scientific evidence, no matter what the author says. Our bodies continuously dispose of toxins through our colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands and skin. Yes, you can boost the process by using laxatives, antioxidants and other herbal remedies, but your body is already an efficient toxin-eliminating machine.



Yes, you’ll lose weight, but …
Juice and other cleansing diets provide fewer calories, so you’ll probably lose weight. But most people also feel at least one of the side-effects of low-calorie, nutrient-poor diets: Low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, dizziness and nausea.

And you’re likely to gain the weight back quickly too. Fad diets that limit you to certain foods or juices don’t teach you to eat healthier or control your portions. The simple fact is, an all-around lower calorie diet coupled with consistent exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.


Really easy diet ideas
•    Eat cleaner and smarter. Select only whole, unprocessed foods and nothing with additives, preservatives or chemicals. Focus on fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Opt for organic. Keep meals simple, eat slowly, eat regularly when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.

•    Swap bad ingredients for good ones. Step away from the high-sugar and corn syrup-laced coffee drink and try green tea with stevia. Add a cup or two of fresh spinach to your morning smoothie. Go for chicken or tofu instead of pork, or beef. Ask for fish instead of shellfish.

•    Mete out the meat. Slowly move toward a vegetarian diet by cutting back gradually on how much meat you eat including beef, pork, lamb, goat, all poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and seafood. Not only will you reduce your investment in your dinner table, you’ll improve your heart health.  

There’s no proof that detoxifying leads to long-term weight loss or improved health, and your liver and other organs already rid your body of toxins. So for the long haul, choose to focus on a richly diverse diet of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and a few lean proteins like fish or skinless poultry, and healthy fats like olive oil. And don’t forget to exercise regularly and vigorously.





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