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Why We Don't Need To Kick Off The New Year With A "Detox"

The holidays are a great opportunity to indulge in time with family, friends, and in delicious food and drink. The subsequent marketing overload of diet and exercise programs to help us “Get started on your New Year resolutions” however, can make us feel guilty for the good time just had. With the pressure to “reset” in the New Year, diets promoting “Detox” may seem more appealing. These diets claim to rid the body of harmful toxins and shed unwanted pounds. Not included in these too-good-to-be-true claims: our body already “detoxes” on it’s own, and these types of fad diets may do more harm than good.

Typical detox diets involve fasting, liquid diets, herbal supplement regimens, colonics, or a combination of the preceding. These diets usually don’t meet nutritional needs, especially for protein, and often eliminate certain food groups like grains or dairy. For instance, juice detoxes generally prescribe a regimen of drinking homemade or store bought juice concoctions, like lemon juice and cayenne pepper (tasty?), for a few days up to a few weeks while eating little to no food. It’s no surprise irritability, fatigue, weakness and even muscle loss can result from this lack of nourishment. The weight loss that may result is not due to a “freshly detoxed body,” but a result of dehydration, water-weight loss and sometimes malnutrition. Additionally, this water-weight is rapidly restored once normal eating resumes – and it will resume, how much juice can you drink?!

Lucky for us, the human body already detoxes on it’s own without needing the help of a fad diet by using it’s own organs and immune system to excrete toxins. When potentially harmful compounds, such as drugs, toxins, and pollutants, cross the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and skin, our body’s detoxification system goes into play. The result is a biochemical process that transforms toxins into compounds that can be excreted through sweat, urine, stool, etc. And our bodies are able to do this just fine without lemon juice and cayenne pepper.

So, when we start feeling the new-year-new-me pressure, let’s keep in mind that when a diet program makes claims that seem too-good-to-be-true – they typically are. Perhaps a more beneficial way of “resetting” this year can be working to shift our focus to indulging on the things that nourish us (body and soul) guilt-free.

 

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