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What is a detox diet? Misconceptions and facts you need to know

 Most detoxification programs are based on significant calorie restriction and consumption of juices and smoothies ; But according to many nutritionists, detox diets have no scientific roots, and may even have the opposite effect, leading to weight gain or malnutrition . 

Today, we see widespread propaganda of the detoxification regime in many magazines and websites. There are a variety of 3-day and 7-day detox diets with the promise of weight loss , increased health and other benefits.

In this article, we will learn more about detoxification diet and its effect on health.

Where does the detoxification regime come from?

The idea of ​​detoxification goes back thousands of years. According to some sources, the process of detoxification was seen in ancient Egypt and in the religious rites of the American Indians. Getting rid of toxins and increasing your health seems like an attractive idea; Unfortunately, this theory does not have strong scientific evidence.

In medicine, the term “detoxification” is a process in which the body is cleansed of alcohol , drugs and toxins. Detoxification treatments are performed in a hospital under the supervision of a doctor using medications or other treatments. However, the theory of detoxification regime is different. 

Many of these theories refer to the release of toxins from the body that we encounter in our daily lives. These toxins mostly include insecticides and pesticides, antibiotics , chemical compounds from food packaging, detergents, food additives, heavy metals, airborne contaminants, drugs and cigarettes.

Many detoxification programs claim to remove these wastes from the body, resulting in increased energy, clear skin, weight loss and other benefits. Unfortunately, there is no quality, independent clinical trial to support these claims.

What are the effective foods in detoxification?

Detoxification regime;  Everything you need to know + 7-day plan - Some foods such as grapefruit are effective in detoxifying the body.

The drinks and foods of each detox diet can be very different. The authors of a research paper, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2015, identified some foods that are effective in detoxifying the body. These foods include garlic , grapefruit , rosemary and a variety of teas . Of course, the researchers also pointed out that people should get their meals from an experienced doctor.

Needless to say, there are no specific guidelines for detox foods, but some programs have become more popular.

Most detox diets focus on reducing processed foods such as sausages, processed breads and pastas, and foods high in sugar and sodium. Many detoxification programs limit the foods you eat to fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Also, most detoxification programs are limited to fruit juices and solid foods. The healthiest detoxification programs allow you to get different foods from all food groups. These food groups include:

Unfortunately, detoxification programs that include all of these food groups are not very common.

Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of a detoxification regimen

Many followers choose this diet for rapid weight loss. Of course, it is not usually possible to lose weight with short-term plans; But you can lose some weight with a low carb detox diet. Another advantage of these programs is their short duration. A 3-day detox program may be more practical for some and may be a step towards developing healthier lifestyle habits.

However, the problem with these programs is that without long-term plans for a healthy diet, the benefits of a detox diet will probably be lost very quickly and you will return to your daily diet.

One study found that detox diets are usually effective in the short term because of their low calorie content; But after returning to a normal diet, their effects usually disappear and the person gains weight again. If the detox diet is low in calories, then the person will probably gain weight again after overeating. Research has shown that when a diet is too restrictive, a person is more likely to overeat and gain weight.

Misconceptions about the detoxification regime

Claims about the detoxification regime are seen in the media. It is better to know the truth of these claims before starting this regime.

Myth 1: The detox diet helps increase energy levels

Some detox diets dramatically reduce your calorie intake; For example, some fruit detox diets may burn only 600 calories a day. This is much less than a person’s daily calorie requirement. Without enough energy, a person can become lethargic and tired. However, if your detox diet can provide the nutrients you need and reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods, you may feel energized after a few days.

Myth 2: Special supplements should be used during the detoxification diet

Detoxification regime;  Everything you need to know + 7-day plan - with a healthy diet, you do not need to take supplements.

Some companies offer detox diet supplements at relatively high prices. These supplements usually include fiber supplements, green tea or other pills that are thought to increase energy and weight loss; But you should know that you do not need to pay for supplements. When you have a good diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you get the fiber you need. Getting enough fluids, along with proper calories, also helps provide the body with energy and a healthy fuel.

Myth 3: Laxatives and colon cleansing products increase detoxification

Some sources claim that their products can increase detoxification. There is no evidence that laxative products help detoxify the body. According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), laxative detoxification programs can cause severe diarrhea and eventually lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Myth 4: Detoxification regimen helps cure some diseases

A detox diet is not only beneficial for certain diseases, but may also make them worse. There is no research on the positive effects of this diet on improving blood pressure, cholesterol or improving heart health. This diet can be dangerous for people with diabetes. Any diet that severely restricts food intake and lowers blood sugar may be dangerous for people with diabetes or those taking medication.

Only a healthy diet is effective in controlling some diseases.

Comparison of detoxification regimen with other regimes

Comparison of detoxification regimen

In general, detox diets have little advantage over other diets or dietitian recommendations.

In accordance with USDA guidelines, most detox diets cannot provide the macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) or micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) the body needs. Even if these diets provide the calories you need, you may still be deficient in carbohydrates, dairy, and many healthy proteins and fats.

Many popular diets in recent years (such as the Atkins diet and the South Coast diet) such as the detox diet start with a restrictive phase; The Atkins diet, for example, begins with the elimination of almost all carbohydrates, but unlike detox diets, these diets have a plan that eventually becomes a healthier, longer-term diet that includes all food groups.

A healthy alternative to a detox diet

If you feel heavy and lazy, why not pursue a healthy short-term detox program? Try to reduce your intake of unhealthy foods for 7 days and focus instead on nutritious and unprocessed foods. This short-term change in your daily diet gives you the opportunity to try fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains and healthy vegetable oils.

Eliminate processed foods, high-fat dairy, refined grains, and foods containing sugar , caffeine, processed meats, and condiments during the 7-day detox period . It is also best to avoid alcoholic beverages during this period. Alcohol is further broken down in the liver. Some of the alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a chemical compound that can damage liver cells and body tissues before excretion. By eliminating alcohol, in addition to helping your liver relax, you can exercise to build healthy habits.

In this 7-day period:

1. Eat healthy foods

There are no hard and fast rules for eating certain foods during a 7-day detox diet. However, you should focus on eating fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, high-fiber foods such as whole grains, nuts and seeds. Of course, you should consume these foods in moderation. Consuming plant proteins and probiotic products will also help you achieve your goal.

2. Drink plenty of fluids

Detoxification regime;  Everything you need to know + 7-day plan - Consuming plenty of fluids in a detox diet is essential.

Drinking plenty of water will help flush toxins out of your body. When you are on a detox diet, you should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. This includes 1 glass of water in the early morning. Adding lemon juice to water can also help you start the detoxification process. Some people need more fluids and some need less. Although thirst is a guide to your fluid needs, it is best to talk to your doctor about the proper amount of fluid intake.

3. Do not forget about physical activity

Physical activity increases blood circulation, which in turn helps eliminate toxins from the body. To increase blood circulation during the detox diet, you can add light exercise to your daily routine. These include walking or attending yoga classes . Since you may have trouble getting energy in the first few days, it’s a good idea to do your workouts short and intermittent. If you do not exercise regularly, consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Tips on further preparation for detoxification regimen

If you have decided to enter a detox diet, you need to pay attention to important points. If you plan and consult a specialist, the detoxification program will be more successful. To have a better detox diet, pay attention to the following points.

1. Prepare in advance to start the program

In the preparation phase, you should plan for your next week. By intelligently planning your diet, you are less likely to be confused during a detox diet. You can also use this time and empty your kitchen of tempting inappropriate foods and drinks.

2. Manage side effects

Potential side effects of the detox diet include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, dizziness, and nausea. To reduce the common side effects of a detox diet, such as headaches and nausea, it is best to eliminate caffeine and processed foods and artificial sweeteners from your diet in the days leading up to the detox diet.

If you are not ready to eliminate caffeine , you can use low-caffeinated beverages such as green tea and white tea. Also, if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber, it may take a few days for your body to get used to eating high-fiber foods from the detox diet. To stimulate the digestive system, it is not bad to consume teas such as ginger tea, peppermint tea and cinnamon tea. Usually on days 4 and 5 of the detox diet, most people feel more energized and their digestive condition improves.

3. Consult a doctor

Talk to your doctor before starting a detoxification program. A 7-day detox diet is not suitable for everyone. If you have any problems such as liver disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease or eating disorders, it is best to consult a doctor before starting this diet. Also, if you have any concerns about changes in your diet, talk to your doctor to find out if a detox diet is right for you.

Concluding remarks

There are several diets to lose weight and increase health. The detox regime’s propaganda may be very attractive; But most of these types of diets do not have a significant long-term effect. If you want to follow a detox diet, it is better to choose one that includes different foods.