Detox programs promise to cleanse the body of toxins. But are they effective? In this article, you will learn why you shouldn’t waste your time and money on detox.
Followers of the detox philosophy believe that the human body, when exposed to pesticides and food additives, accumulates toxins and metabolic waste. Therefore, from time to time you need to go through a detoxification program to cleanse yourself of toxins.
As a rule, detox diets are very strict. The diet is limited to fruit or vegetable juices, often with spices. It is believed that such nutrition removes harmful substances from the body and restores health.
What is considered a detox toxin
Medical reference books define a toxin as a substance of plant or animal origin that is toxic to humans, and medicines in doses exceeding those recommended. In detoxification, a toxin is defined as any substance that can harm the body, such as heavy metals, pesticides, food additives, and other synthetic chemicals.
What substances are actually toxic
Any substance, natural or synthetic, can be harmful. It depends on many factors. For example, people can consume cocoa without health hazards, but the theobramine in it is harmful to dogs. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) causes fatty liver disease in mice, but is safe for humans. It is important to understand this and take into account when references are made to studies conducted on animals: after all, they are often referred to to “prove” that a particular substance is dangerous to the human body.
In addition, the dosage must be kept in mind. Even water can kill if you drink too much of it in a short period of time (the concentration of electrolytes in the blood, necessary for the work of muscles, including the heart).
Certain substances, in particular heavy metals, accumulate in the tissues of the body, which subsequently leads to serious health problems. Some people cut fish out of their diet because they contain mercury, thereby depriving themselves of the beneficial phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids. But you can simply reduce the number of fish dishes on the menu, and not refuse them, given that the harm depends on the dose.
Of course, there are substances that are by definition harmful to health, including tobacco and alcohol.
Does the body need cleaning
If a strong toxin has entered the body, dietary cleansing is powerless. In acute intoxication, the only effective solution is emergency medical care; with chronic – strict diet, but not unloading detox cocktails.
The liver, kidneys and lungs work non-stop to naturally detoxify the body, and they do not need the help of diets.
Opponents of detox justifiably believe that detox cocktails are just clever marketing. In 2009, a survey was conducted among 15 detox product manufacturers. No company has been able to provide evidence of the effectiveness of their product. Moreover, none of them named the specific toxins that their products fight against. They didn’t even find a definition of the term “detox”.
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What Science Says
The effectiveness of the detox diet has not been sufficiently studied, and the few studies that are being conducted are inconclusive due to small sample sizes, high biases, lack of control groups, and the use of qualitative rather than quantitative assessment. Nonetheless, detox remains popular – thanks in large part to customer reviews who have been able to lose weight and improve overall health.
Why are detox products in demand, despite the fact that their effectiveness has not been proven? The answer is simple: they provide the illusion of fast weight loss. How it works?
To store 1 gram of glycogen in the liver and muscles, the body needs 3 grams of water. With insufficient intake of carbohydrates, glycogen stores are depleted within 1–2 days, which entails a loss of several kilograms. But once the diet is over, glycogen and water return. Together with the weight.
So instead of “spring detox,” focus on improving your diet. Determine your daily calorie intake and gain it with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. So you will save the body from toxins, and the wallet from ruin.