I too thought that the Cleanses and Detoxes fad ended in about 2009. Well, despite being conclusively disproved some are still toting the benefits of such systems. The lemon detox, Master Cleanse, 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, Isagenix Cleanse for Life, Blueprint Cleanse, Dherbs Full Body Cleanse, Slendera Garcinia and Natural Cleanse… Yep they’re all still out there fooling consumers and they’re going stronger than ever.
Do Cleanses and Detoxes work?
No before I go any further lets make one thing very clear. It is science FACT that Cleanses and Detoxes DO NOT WORK. Here’s Why;
The basic idea behind ‘detox diets’ is to temporarily remove certain foods or food groups, or take a specific food or supplement, to help eliminate toxins that build up from our environment, diet and lifestyle, to help a person feel healthier and lose weight. But here’s the thing. Our bodies don’t work that way. We don’t just continually build up toxins from all the alcohol, fast food and medications we consume until we explode in a disgusting toxic black mess.
The body is naturally designed to be able to clear waste materials such as toxins, chemicals and old hormones in order to prevent an accumulation of potentially toxic and harmful byproducts building up in our systems. It does this on a constant and consistent basis.
Our bodies do not need Cleanses and Detoxes. This is because they already do it all the time and they do a very good job of it – mainly through the actions of the liver, kidneys, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. There is simply no storage of toxins. These organs help remove any harmful substances that should not be in the body. In essence, the body is always in a natural state of cleansing and, therefore, detox diets are not necessary and can sometimes do more harm than good.
So if your natural detoxification is not functioning, a special supplement is not going to help you. It means that one of your organs is impaired. In these instances, it’s important to get to a hospital. NOT treat it with a ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse’
Why is My Friend Seeing Fantastic Results?
So why do people see results on these systems and speak so highly of them? The answer is simple; Caloric Defecit. A caloric deficit is any shortage in the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of current body weight (energy homeostasis). A deficit can be created by reducing input/calories consumed (lower food intake, aka dieting). A deficit can also be created by increasing output without a corresponding increase in input (exercising). When we are in caloric deficit we lose weight, simple stuff.
Most of these systems work in a similar way. Basically, you replace some of your real meals with “shake meals” (240 to 280 calories), and, for your real meal, you eat something healthy between 400 and 600 calories. Some will also have small, 100 to 150-calorie snacks. After a few “shake days,” you’ll have a “cleanse day,” where you’ll drink servings of a low-cal cleanse liquid and snack on “Meal Bars”, which are more like a chewable vitamin tablet than a snack.
Users feel as though they are eating more than ever when in fact if you look at the total calories consumed for the week, they are far less than would be ever safely recommended for any individual. This is where cleanse systems become dangerous.
The Risks of Cleanses and Detoxes
If your calorie intake dips too low, your body tries desperately to adapt. Initially you will lose a lot of weight. But as your body adapts it will start to store fat because it needs to preserve those precious few calories it is getting. You will be at a point where your body is kind of at a standstill. Your metabolism slows to a crawl, burning calories as slowly as possible to conserve its energy stores. This is why people who cut their calories too much will always reach a plateau, stop losing weight and eventually gain far more weight than before.
In addition to sabotaging your weight-loss efforts, eating too few calories can also harm your health. When you are in extreme caloric deficit, you are at increased risk for the following:
- Abnormally low blood pressure and slow heart rate
- Heart rhythm abnormalities
- Electrolyte imbalances, especially potassium deficiency
- Hair loss
- Brittle fingernails
- Loss of menstrual periods in women
- Soft hair growth over entire body
- Trouble concentrating
- Swelling in your joints
- Brittle bones
The Final Say
The take away is this, While you will see fast seemingly impressive results from a cleanse or detox system, the weight loss is not attributed to anything more than caloric deficit. These results will be short term and users of these systems will run into weight gain in the future as well as possible serious harm to health. We know that Cleanses and Detoxes don’t work, this is not an area up for debate. IT IS PROVEN. No matter how convincing the pitch or how scientific sounding one of these systems is, don’t fall for it.