Does the Detox Diet Work?
Shirley Yeung, HK BioTek Nutritionist
Toxins are any substance that can be poisonous or bring negative effects. We are in constant contact with different kinds of toxins such as chemicals, air pollutants, food additives and pesticides that are harmful to us. A detox is a process in which a person removes toxins from body. Our body naturally has different detox pathways which could help to eliminate toxins through feces, urine and sweat. Detox diets are popular dieting strategies that claim to facilitate toxin elimination, thereby improving health.
There are different kinds of detox diets. A typical detox diet usually involves a period of fasting, followed by a diet of fruit, vegetables, juice and water. Sometimes a detox diet may include herbs, teas or supplements. It is claimed that detox diets could help the recovery of organs, boost the toxin removal through natural pathways, and provide our body with healthy nutrients. They are also claimed to help with various health problems, such as obesity, digestive problems, allergies and chronic fatigue. However, there is no strong scientific evidence linking detox diets and improved health.
Although there is no scientific research showing what and how toxins could be eliminated from body by detox diets, some aspects of detox programs are generally linked with improved health. First, reduce the intake of alcohol, salt, sugar, and processed food to reduce the burden of the body. Eat whole, nutritious and fresh food. It is also good to include more natural “detox foods” in your diet, such as grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, berries, and chia seeds. These foods are usually high in antioxidants and stimulate the detoxification enzymes. Second, do exercises regularly to promote toxin removal through sweating. Third, be well hydrated and have good night’s sleeps. During sleep, the body regenerates itself.
Last but not least, detox diets may not be suitable for all people. Be aware that some detox programs may limit energy and nutrient intake. Some also include supplements that can cause harm. It is always good to consult a doctor or healthcare professional first before starting any detox programs.