Detox diet is a very popular form of diet to lose weight quickly. Various celebrities and the media have created a lot of hype surrounding this diet. The basic idea is that most of the foods that you eat cause more harm than good in your body. So, in order to live a healthy life and lose weight, you need to get rid of the toxins that have accumulated in your body. While the scientific evidence supporting the claim of the detox diet is rather frugal, there is no doubt that it does work in the short term. Before you decide to follow this diet, you should know the pros and cons of the diet.
The word detox diet comes from detoxification. The root of the diet lies in alternative medicine. They have become hugely popular now and schemes of detoxification including detox diets are widely publicized by models, film personalities, spas and health retreats. You may think that this diet is your best chance of getting rid of those stubborn calories but you should know more about this diet before you embark on it.
Understanding detox diet
People who follow the detox diet swear by its effectiveness, saying that they lost 20 or 30 pounds within a week or two of following the diet. The most famous example is of course that of Beyonce who dropped 20 pounds on the detox diet for her role in Dreamgirls within a very short time. On the other hand, the scientific community categorically point out that there is no benefits of a detox diet. Zeratsky (2010) suggested that there is no evidence of accumulation of toxins in the body from foods while a program on the BBC in January, 2013 declared that detox diets are waste of time and money. Hence, you need to know all the facts before you decide to go this route.
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The idea that certain foods can be harmful for the body was found in Greek and Egyptian ideas of medicine. Early research in biochemistry and microbiology in the 19th century supported these ideas. However, modern medicine soon discounted the toxin effect of foods. The idea persisted in alternative medicine and it now manifests itself through a variety of detox diets.
The main principles of detox diets
The main principles of detox diets are as follows:
- In the course of the day we eat a number of foods which are processed or packaged. If they ever contained any nutrients, these are lost by the process of manufacture. Instead, needless sugar and fat are added to make them tasty. These calories and other ingredients actually harm your body. So, the first principle is to cut out all processed foods. For this, just check the label to see if all the ingredients are natural or not.
- The next step is to avoid any food that adds no nutritional value to your diet. This is because, if they are not adding nutrients, they are definitely adding something else which manifests itself in the form of extra calories. So, walk past those isles of fizzy drinks, biscuits, cookies, crisps and cakes.
- The third principle is to identify what your body desires and what it needs and then to cut out all the addictive elements. This means elimination of alcohol, caffeine, chocolates and sugar. A detox diet helps you to really listen to the needs of your body and supply only that which is good for it.
- The final principle is to cut out all the foods to which your body is intolerant. You probably know very well if you have some medical condition like gluten allergy or dairy intolerance. But there may be a host of foods which are harming your body. Signs of such intolerance are bloating, gas and indigestion. It may be difficult to identify the particular food to which you are intolerant. The only way is to completely detoxify your body and then add the foods one by one. Whenever your body reacts unfavorably, you should know that the food is harmful and should cut it out from your diet.
In conclusion, it may be summarized as follows: You ingest a number of foods in your body which are harmful and they result in fatigue, obesity, sickness and headache. A detox diet enables you to cut out all those foods which are harm your body. The result is that you lose weight and feel much healthier after following this diet.
One of the main reasons why detox diet has become so popular is that a number of celebrities swear by it. Angelina Jolie, Beyonce Knowles and many others are well known examples.
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Most popular detox diets
There are a number of diet plans which can be considered as detox diets. Here are some of the most common detox diet plans.
- The most famous detox diet is the lemonade diet, also known as the master cleanser. It was devised by Stanley Burroughs in late 1940s. It is a tough regime to follow, but can be amazingly effective in getting rid of toxins and shedding extra weight, though its primary purpose is to cleanse the body. It consists of 60 oz of spring water; 2 tbsp Grade B maple syrup per glass, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed organic lemon juice per glass and about 1/10th tsp of cayenne pepper per glass. The water must be spread over 6 equal glasses throughout the day. This diet is supplemented by a laxative tea because the lack of fiber can cause constipation.
- The beauty detox solution is written by Kimberley Snyder and its aim is to make your skin glow and make you feel beautiful. This diet does not involve calorie counting and measuring. Instead, it emphasizes on fresh fruits and veggies. The consumption of animal foods are progressively reduced as most of your diet consists of green smoothie, tomato soup, kale salad, collard green, macadamia nuts etc.
- The Sugar detox diet is designed by Brooke Alpert and Dr. Patricia Ferris. It aims at overcoming sugar addiction. The diet starts with quitting sugar cold turkey for three days. You can consume lots of veggies in this diet while healthy fats from nuts, olives, avocados, coconuts and seeds are allowed. You can consume lean protein, legumes, fresh fruits and whole grains in moderation. The diet plan occupies 31 days and it replaces the bursts of energy that you got from sugar with healthy exercise.
- The Easy body cleansing diet is created by Cynthia Lechan Goodman. It is a three day diet which can flush the toxins from your body. The foods recommended in this diet includes apples, berries, spinach, kale, bananas, miso, sauerkraut, navy beans, spices, sesame oil, molasses, honey, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds etc.
- The clean diet program is designed by Dr. Alejandro Junger for people who are very busy. It is meant to be followed for 21 days. Liquid meals for breakfast and dinner while solid meal for lunch is recommended. It removes toxins by eliminating processed and packaged foods and balances the body by adding nutrient rich foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes etc. In addition, the daily exercise should be increased and lifestyle should be modified to get maximum benefits.
- The Eat Stop Eat diet by Brad Pillon has also gained a lot of popularity. He says that you should include several short periods of fasting for effortless weight loss. Incorporate fruits, veggies, spices, lean protein, herbs, spices, tea and coffee in your diet and you can also add artificial sweeteners. Eat normally till 6.00 pm. Then fast till 6.00 pm the next day and then start eating normally. This will produce the same effects as a week of very strict dieting.
- The Fruit Flush diet designed by Jay Robb is another three day detox diet. The diet largely relies on fresh fruits complemented by protein shakes and veggies. Exercises should be avoided during this time.
- The Liver cleansing diet is one of the earliest detox diet plans written by Dr. Sandra Cabot. The diet relies on veggies, most of which are to be eaten raw. In addition, liver cleansing supplements are recommended.
- The Quantum Wellness program was devised by Kathy Fareston and it became popular when Oprah followed this diet. This 21 day program is largely based on a vegan diet. Fresh fruits, veggies, gluten free bread, peanut butter, tofu, lentils, avocado, soy hot dogs and soy burgers are included. Meditation, fun work, visualization and exercise are important parts of the program.
- The Weight loss cure diet is formulated by Kevin Trudeau. Highly restricted organic diets are used in combination of other health measures to lose weight.
Apart from these, there are several other detox diets like the ultra simple diet by Dr. Hyman, the Mucus less diet by Arnold Ehert, Martha’s Vineyard detox diet, Fat flush diet by Ann Gittleman and many others.
Pros and cons of detox diets
The outline of the sample diets clearly show that they are not the easiest diet regimen to follow. So, before you embark on one, you need to know about the pros and cons of the detox diets:
The pros of these diets are as follows:
- Weight loss definitely occurs as evinced by a number of celebrities. If you are worried whether you are going to fit into a particular dress, then the most effective option is to follow one of these detox diets.
- As you cut off processed foods, alcohol and other addictive elements, they do have a positive impact on your health. Of course, the best results are seen when you completely eliminate these elements instead of reintroducing them in your diet after the program.
- Detox diets emphasize eating organic. This also helps to prevent harmful chemicals from entering your body.
- The toxins that have accumulated in your body from years of eating wrong are flushed out from your system leaving you feeling healthy and energetic.
- Your body system turns alkaline instead of acidic. Glowing skin, strong hair and nails and more efficient digestive system with no gas, indigestion or bloating are the main benefits of detox diets.
- Eating organic and less reliance on animal based foods has positive impact on the environment as well.
The cons of the detox diets are as follows:
- They are difficult to follow and many people leave before completing the regime.
- There is no scientific basis of any detoxification.
- As the metabolic rates are slowed down too much, when you go off the diet, you tend to regain the lost weight very fast and keep on adding more pounds.
- Organic fruits and veggies make these diets expensive.
- Your flexibility is hampered. These diets are difficult to follow if you lead a busy life.