I recently talked a dietitian, Robin Fouroutan, who will be presenting on “detox diets” at the Westchester Rockland Dietetic Association Clinical Update in December. I found her by reading her article “Defining Detox” in the Food & Nutrition Magazine by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I HIGHLY suggest reading the entire article if you have access to the magazine.
Once I read the article, I started thinking about how common the word “detox” is used in our society. “Detox” is a relatively new concept in the nutrition world. However chances are you have heard of someone doing a “detox diet” or saying that they are going on a “cleanse” after a weekend of junk food eating. But do people really know what they are talking about??
Taken from the article, “Detoxification is the biochemical process that transforms non-water-soluble toxins and metabolites into water-soluble compounds that can be excreted in urine, sweat, bile or stool. Because these processes rely on specific nutrients such as flavonoids, minerals, certain amino acids and B-vitamins, there are therapeutic detoxification protocols to support the organ systems through which the body detoxifies.” I do agree that many people need detoxification in their life- we are stressed out in so many ways. However, what we think of as “detox” is usually a scam- there are so many supplements, products, and claims out there pretending to support detoxification, when all they are is a WASTE OF MONEY. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration therefore what’s on the label is often NOT what’s actually in the bottle. Scary right??
I think too often people psychologically “psych” themselves up to go on a “detox” after they feel like they have overdone it. Thoughts of “This is a jumpstart” or “This time I’m going to have willpower” is all a way to repeat the diet, fail, resent, and repeat cycle that so many people are in. In order to change your lifestyle toward healthier habits, you have to change your relationship with food. Nothing else will work!!
Bottom line: Bad news is there is not one product out there that is magically going to change your life. Good news is that you can eat foods everyday to “detox” your system and gain health. You do not need a special product or “cleanse” in order to do so. In fact, that is just a diet in disguise!
Takeaway points: Include a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables, fiber foods like whole grains, brown rice, various spices, probiotics, eggs, green tea, and lots of water in your overall intake. These foods have a lot of “detox” properties and are really great for your liver and entire body to do it’s (natural) thing. Also try to breathe deeply, stretch and do yoga, and sweat! Simple, realistic suggestions that you can do everyday–> no “detox diet” needed.