Debunking Detox Diets

While the idea behind them is catchy—cleanse, start anew, and drop weight fast—detox diets are just another popular, ineffective, and yet harmful form of fad dieting. The sciences do not offer any peer-reviewed research that attests to the safety or effectiveness of these often extreme diets. When considering any strict diet that encourages excessive consumption of water, yellow foods, meat, syrup with juice mixed with strange combinations of spices, remember that any diet that is not balanced should be avoided.

There are healthier, more effective ways to lose weight. Aim for a well-balanced diet. Focus on drinking water and adding fiber. Calorie reduction will come naturally. In addition, getting sufficient amounts of sleep, between 7 and 8 hours a night, is crucial for effective dieting and maintaining energy levels.

Moreover, watch your portions. People often spend more time analyzing what they’re eating with little regard to how much but it’s these little things, done every day that can sabotage a diet. Try to make small changes with a big impact—ones that can be carried out over the long term, very unlike the typical 7-day detox diet that does not offer stable, permanent change. Record your meals and track your progress in a diet diary for 3 days. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see where you’re frequently led astray, making self correction easier – whether it’s Friday night alcohol or dessert after dinner that’s adding up for you. iPhone applications and the internet can make calorie-counting and recording very easy. Some of these inlcude caloriecount.about.com, my-calorie-counter.com and livestrong.com/thedailyplate/.

Detox diets are unhealthy and unnecessary because your body detoxes itself every day. In fact, a large role of the kidneys and liver is detoxification. Take care of yourself – limit alcohol, drink plenty of water, have a diet based on fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, and get regular exercise to boost weight loss and increase energy levels. While a positive aspect of some detox diets are to promote eating fruits and vegetables and drink ample amounts of water, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising will provide a foundation for a healthier lifestyle. The end result will be a more satisfying diet plan, and a more confident you.

Interested in learning more about a healthy, sustainable diet? Some insurance plans will pay for visits with a dietitian. Review your specific plan and make an appointment today. To make an appointment with a WakeMed Dietitian, call (919) 350-2358.

Ilsy Chappell, RD, is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital.

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