Lose 20 pounds in 20 days! Cleanse your colon and flatten your tummy! Eliminate toxins and regain your health!
Detox diets promise big results in a matter of days, but how do they really measure up?
Detox (short for detoxification) diets are touted as having all sorts of health benefits, ranging from rapid weight loss to cancer prevention (or cure!). Just visit any detox website and you’ll read all sorts of personal testimonials that seem too good to be true. Celebrities have used them to drop pounds for movie roles and even Dr. Oz has gotten on the bandwagon.
The premise is that our typical diets and environments are laden with ‘toxins’ that our bodies cannot process or eliminate on their own. To kick these nasties, we must purge them with (insert detox regimen). Once ‘detoxified,’ our bodies will purportedly function at a higher level, sending our metabolism into high gear.
Detox diets can vary widely in their recommendations. Most involve literal fasting (if not starvation), while some allow for a small, select menu of foods. The majority of these plans are very low in calories (sometimes as little as a few hundred calories per day) and are extremely restrictive. Many include special formulations or drinks that are meant to expedite or enhance the body’s natural flushing and filtering processes and may include use of laxatives and/or enemas. Plans typically last a couple days up to a couple weeks.
But is there evidence to support these claims? Will drinking a maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper concoction truly cleanse your system and promote health? And, most importantly, are they safe?