In addition to promoting weight loss, detox diets are said to improve the dieterís digestion, energy, general health, mental health, and resistance to disease. At least, thatís the claim. The numerous detractors, including health care professionals and other scientists, often regard such diets as a useless waste of money that may possibly lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Detox diets generally propose that fruits, vegetables, and water make up the majority of the dieterís food intake. These diets usually reject processed and genetically modified foods and restrict or eliminate alcohol intake. Fasting can be dangerous and should never be undertaken lightly as it may remove the balance necessary for good nutrition. The body needs carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals and water and a shortage of any of these elements can lead to health problems. It is alleged that severely restrictive detox diets such as water fasting or the Master Cleanse can be a dangerous way to lose weight. Their lack of protein can lead to the wasting of muscle tissue and reduced metabolism. As always, donít get involved with detox diets before getting the OK from your health practitioner.
Detox diets eliminate foods that are hard on the metabolism; for example caffeine, alcohol, processed and canned foods, salt, sugar, wheat, red meat, pork, fried food, yellow cheese, cream, butter and margarine, and shortening. Recommended foods include raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, fish, vegetable oils, herbs and herbal teas, and water. Many detox dieters practice associated techniques such as raw foodism, fasting, calorie restriction, food combining, herbal detox, and drinking of detox teas.
In the eyes of its proponents, a detox diet is much more than a simple diet; it is really a lifestyle as exemplified in Gary Nullís book, Ultimate Lifetime Diet. Null is a controversial figure who has extensively lectured and written on many health and nutrition subjects. He is one of the major figures in this movement.
Read and see your doctor before detoxifying.
There are several important criticisms of detox diets. For example, detractors note that the body has its own detoxification systems which are said to be remarkably sophisticated and versatile, enabling us to live in very hostile environments. According to detractors detox diets can disrupt these natural detoxification systems and consequently cause more harm than good. They also note the likelihood of mercury poisoning from excessive fish consumption and the possibility of fainting from sudden dietary changes.