Discover the Detox Diet, Do They Really Work to detoxify the body?
The detox diet is commonly used, especially after periods of overeating, as there is a belief that there is a need to follow periods of a detox diet to purify the body of previously accumulated toxins.
There is a belief that most foods, especially industrial ones, are rich in toxic agents which, if accumulated in excess, can lead to various diseases and illnesses.
Does all this really have a scientific basis? What is it and how does it work? Does it also serve those who are healthy? Does it have side effects for all athletes, who go to the gym or bodybuilding!
What Is The Detox Diet?
The detox diet is generally a particularly restrictive low-calorie diet, both in quantity and in the choice of foods.
It is based on the large consumption of fruit and vegetables with the aim of taking an important amount of dietary fiber, low glycemic index cereals and nuts, oilseeds, and legumes for the rest of the day.
The foods to be eliminated are all those of industrial origin and which contain high quantities of proteins, especially animal, saturated fats, trans fats, and sugars.
There are also other practices that are not always suitable for health, such as prolonged fasting for several days, the intake of numerous draining herbal teas, and changes in the consistency of the diet using fruit and vegetable-based centrifuged.
Benefits And Advantages Of The Detox Diet
How much truth is there in detoxifying practice? Is it necessary to do a detox diet to cleanse the body? Are there really these health benefits?
The answer is definitely and absolutely NO.
There are 2 points to absolutely understand:
- The organs are engaged every day in the disposal of harmful substances and toxic agents possibly included in the food. This task is mainly carried out by the liver, which has among its metabolic functions also the activation of detoxification processes and elimination of toxic waste present in the body.
- There is NO intrinsically purifying or detoxifying food or supplement.
There are some substances that, although not “purifying”, could support the liver in its detoxifying function.
Those nutrients are used by the hepatic organ in these processes among these there are also proteins, in particular certain amino acids (glutamine, taurine, glycine, cysteine), of which the traditional detox diet, the one disclosed and advertised far and wide, is absolutely lacking.
- The best way to keep the liver healthy, “purify itself of toxins” and prevent most inflammatory, metabolic, and endocrine diseases, is to eat in moderate quantities, reducing the content of saturated fats and simple sugars and avoiding prolonged periods of abundance.
How Much Is Lost In The Detox Diet?
You may be wondering if a detox diet can make you lose weight. The answer is yes!
The reason is very simple and lies in the reduced caloric power of this diet, being mostly composed of foods with little energy density (fruit, vegetables) and rich in fiber and chelating agents, which partially reduce the absorption of nutrients.
Typically a detox diet causes you to lose up to 8 lbs in a week. We remind you that as regards the factors involved in weight loss, at the base of the pyramid there is the energy balance. A diet, in order to be slimming, must necessarily be low-calorie!
However, any correct weight loss program requires some planning that takes into account the achievement of certain goals, such as:
- Awareness of what you eat and the role of nutrition in your lifestyle;
- Weight loss that is not excessive and reflects a loss of fat mass and not muscle mass;
- Learning new healthy eating habits, new foods, new combinations, new cooking.
The detox diet as seen by most people, especially women, does not respect any of these essential parameters.
In the event that you would like to “make up” for a couple of days in which you ate excessively, either for having attended parties or for having granted yourself a ” food sneak “, just one day of greater control in food consumption is enough.
There is no need for a real ” detox diet “, but only for a day with greater food restriction by consuming, if anything, more easily digestible foods with less “demanding” cooking, such as frying.
Very often the detox diet, as it is known, by encouraging a very high quantity of fiber, however, introduced without any gradual process, leads to further swelling and stomach pain and this is interpreted by most people as a negative effect to be attributed to the bad day and not to too many fibers.
This mechanism is then further fueled leading people to think that there is a need for longer periods of restriction and therefore to prolong the detoxifying practice. Often these diets do not exceed 600-800 kcal and provide very few essential amino acids nutrients.
How Is The Detox Diet Done?
The detox diet can be followed for a few days and involves adhering to dietary rules that exclude or prefer certain foods.
By eliminating a large part of foods of animal origin, such as dairy products, eggs, and fatty meats, the detox diet is often associated with the vegan diet.
The fundamental principle of the vegan detox diet is that it can be followed only for a very limited period of time, even more than the traditional detox diet.
The reason is that in addition to the elimination of all products of animal origin and their derivatives, there is it is also a ban on many foods that usually represent the nutritional basis of vegans, like most cereals.
Usually, we talk about a 3-day detox diet in which we will feed only on seasonal vegetables and fruit in order to purify the body in a very short time.
What Foods To Eliminate In The Detox Diet?
- Dairy and all dairy products, including butter and yogurt
- All foods containing gluten
- Artificial sweeteners
- Coffee and caffeinated foods and beverages
- Animal products, generally mainly fatty foods
- Industrial condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, margarine
- High-fat foods in general
- Non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
What To Eat On The Detox Diet?
First, eliminate some foods and drinks before starting the diet to avoid any “withdrawal” reactions mainly sugar, coffee, and other drinks and foods that contain caffeine, such as tea, cola, chocolate.
- Fresh fruit in large quantities;
- Centrifuged or fruit smoothies with natural juice and no added sugar;
- Nuts such as blueberries and raisins, but in small quantities due to their fructose and calorie content.
A detox diet is most often a liquid or semi-liquid diet, and water is certainly the most consumed drink but it is not uncommon to observe a use, even important, of draining herbal teas and green tea, in the belief that this can serve to lose weight or reduce water retention and cellulite.
Unfortunately, however, these practices are more useless than anything else, indeed, the excess of diuretics, even natural ones, can be counterproductive.
All fruit juices are also recommended, as long as they are not with added sugar.
Finally, the advice to take water and lemon, strictly in the early morning, is famous in an attempt to act positively on the acid-base balance and on the pH.
Too bad that even this practice is not useful for the purpose and scientific research has never provided evidence, not even fragile, that this dietary imposition can have any kind of health advantage. Vegetable milk is allowed, unlike milk of animal origin.
Vegetables and Greens
In particular, all vegetables high in fiber and low in sugar are fine, especially those that are considered natural draining, such as fennel, cauliflower, asparagus, and green leafy vegetables.
Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates
In particular, you refer to starchy foods and therefore mainly to cereals and their derivatives.
It is preferable that these foods are whole grains, pseudo-cereals, and lesser-known cereals such as quinoa, and oats, especially since gluten, is one of the substances abolished in purifying diets.
It is important to remember that these foods should be consumed in any case in generally limited quantities and only in the first part of the day, at least in traditional detox diets.
Legumes represent a good category of foods even for those who want to follow a detox diet as they are generally foods with a low glycemic index, a good source of vegetable proteins especially by virtue of the consumption of cereals, an excellent satiating power, and a good amount of fiber and micronutrients.
There are some detox diets that also allow for the consumption of animal proteins, from lean sources such as chicken breast and turkey and from cold-water fish.
Example Of A Detox Diet Menu
- Oat flakes and almond milk
- A cup of oat milk
- Pear juice with no added sugar
- Fruit smoothie and a low-fat yogurt
- A bowl of fruit salad
- Quinoa and peas, an orange
- Fennel and chicken breast
- Wholemeal pasta and lentils
- Steamed millet and vegetables
- Fillet of sole and steamed potatoes
- Brown rice with vegetables
- Grilled asparagus and tuna
- Salad with tomatoes and dried fruit
- Pureed green vegetables and beans
- Potato and carrot soup
Detox Diet Negative Effects
Basically, the negative effects of detox diets can be summarized with the possible excessive energy restriction, which can sometimes lead to nutritional deficiencies.
About 50 years ago there were also deaths following the administration of a purifying liquid diet that was obviously deficient in nutrients and energy.
In any case, we are taking it to the extreme, nowadays it is practically impossible for such a diet to lead to such serious consequences, if only because it is not observed for long enough periods but only for 3 days, 5 days, or 7 days.
The fact remains that these types of diets represent an absolutely useless and ineffective dietary prescription in any case.
The continuous search, by the subject, for healthy, “clean”, “detoxifying” food, which most of the time translates into some kind of vegetable, boiled or raw, over time leads to the elimination of a large amount of food or to observe unbalanced diets.
Finally, the detox diet is not accepted by the scientific community, not only because it has never been shown to bring particular benefits, but above all for the possibility of causing potential damage to the body through the induction of nutritional deficiencies and the possible increase in the risk of developing eating disorders.
How Many Days Must It Last?
A detox diet followed for 3 days is particularly restrictive and is generally used as a purifying diet after the holidays, combining it with a vegan regime, or is represented by the high consumption of smoothies and centrifuged: a semi-liquid diet or a pureed diet; the only reason it is not dangerous to health is that it is observed for a very limited period.
Detox Diet 3 Days Example Menu
- Breakfast: fruit salad and dried fruit
- Lunch: brown rice and cooked vegetables
- Dinner: fresh vegetable salad
- Breakfast: whole grain oatmeal, fresh fruit
- Lunch: salad of raw vegetables and legumes
- Snack: fresh fruit salad
- Dinner: brown rice and cooked potatoes
- Breakfast: centrifuged fruit and vegetables
- Lunch: quinoa and legumes
- Snack: fresh fruit salad
- Dinner: salad of vegetables and dried fruit
This is a traditional example of a detox diet observed for 3 days. Specifically, this menu is also observable by vegans, as it is totally devoid of food of animal origin.
In this type of diet, observed for such a short time, the weight loss is mainly represented by liquids and not by body fat, so we cannot speak of real weight loss.
7 Day Detox Diet Sample Menu
- Breakfast: low-fat yogurt and a banana
- Lunch: vegetable and tuna salad
- Snack: 100 grams of berries
- Dinner: steamed fish with vegetables
- Breakfast: a cup of almond milk and a fruit
- Lunch: 50g of brown rice and legumes
- Dinner: 100g of defatted chicken breast and vegetable salad
- Breakfast: a fruit salad, Greek yogurt, and 30 grams of dried fruit
- Lunch: 100 grams of steamed fish and 50 grams of quinoa
- Dinner: mixed salad and potatoes
- Breakfast: rolled oats and a handful of nuts
- Lunch: 100 grams of defatted turkey and steamed vegetables
- Dinner: 80g of wholemeal pasta with tomato sauce and fresh basil.
- Breakfast: a glass of fruit salad
- Lunch: 80 grams of wholemeal pasta and tomato sauce
- Snack: 30 grams of dried fruit
- Dinner: vegetable soup and 1 fruit
- Breakfast: low-fat yogurt and a fruit
- Lunch: salad of mixed vegetables and legumes
- Snack: a glass of fruit salad
- Dinner: 100g of baked salmon and potatoes
- Breakfast: rolled oats and a seasonal fruit
- Lunch: 100 grams of lean meat and grilled vegetables
- Dinner: 80 grams of wholemeal pasta and legumes
Detox Diet, Gym, And Bodybuilding
One of the goals of a diet that detox neglects is to guarantee weight loss by avoiding the loss of muscle mass as much as possible.
But we must put it in context: as you read, the detox period lasts only a few days, a time when weight loss is essentially due to the loss of fluids.
For those who do not want to lose their beloved muscle fibers built with a lot of patience in the gym, the advice is not to extend this period or not to do it often if you resort to 3-4 days of a detox diet every weekend mid-month you will be strong and unbalanced low-calorie. The situation is certainly not beneficial for both muscle tissue.
The same concept applies to protein requirements even if for a few days you have to give up foods rich in proteins with high biological value (animal foods), there is not this great impact on the maintenance of muscle mass.
If, on the other hand, the detox times are prolonged and repeated, yes.
Detox Diet And Sports
The athlete needs energy, the right nutrients, to be in the best condition for training is nothing new. And the detox diet, especially in the most intense training periods, does not meet these needs.
On the one hand, there is the energy requirement: 600-800 kcal both for a woman and even more for a man are very few and almost certainly even below the basal metabolic rate.
Of course, for a few days nothing happens (after all, there are also fasting protocols in which you don’t eat anything even for 24 hours), but certainly coming from a few days at these energy levels will not give the best in training.
The lack of energy also derives from a natural lack of nutrients, if not of the fibers that are present in the detoxifying diet: an excess of fiber can be “annoying” both for the gastrointestinal tract and for sports performance.
Fibrous foods take a long time to be disposed of, which is why it would be best to avoid them in pre-workout meals.
Furthermore, depending on the physical exercise, and energy deficiency of carbohydrates can be more or less influential a half marathon, a baseball game or a chess game certainly have a different energy need.
Detox Juice Plus Diet
The detox juice plus diet is a specific detoxifying diet based on the intake of many food supplements.
It has become very famous in recent years following the dissemination of works through social networks.
Juice Plus is in fact an American line of food supplements that offers replacement pills and powdered meals.
In general, these supplements contain substances found in fruit and vegetables, such as vitamins, minerals, satiating fibers, and phytonutrients.
The company, founded in 1993, has simply put in place a careful and effective marketing system, convincing people that a diet based on supplements, sold at a high cost, can be beneficial to health and replace traditional meals.
In reality, the exact same result could be achieved by consuming the fresh fruit and vegetables that are used to produce these supplements, spending much less, and, above all, avoiding denying oneself the pleasure of eating.
Recall that the food act has not only a nutritional function but also a hedonistic meaning.
It has no scientific value to buy supplements that contain exactly the same substances found in fruit and vegetables that we can find on the market at a high price.
Conclusion On The Detox Diet
The detox diet is nothing more than a low-calorie diet, often particularly restrictive, which is followed for short periods after periods of plenty of food (e.g. anniversaries, holidays) with the aim of purifying the body of toxic substances accumulated in the previous days.
It is a common belief that we need liquid meals or smoothies, draining herbal teas, and alkaline foods (fruit and vegetables in general) to be able to detoxify our bodies.
However, there is no scientific evidence that such a practice has any kind of positive health effect.
The body does not need detoxifying foods or supplements which, incidentally, do not really exist.
Every day, continuously, our organs, in particular the liver, contribute to eliminating metabolic waste and toxic substances taken, making food detoxifying practices completely useless.
Surely a mini-period of greater energy restriction, after a period in which you have given yourself a little more in terms of food, especially if you are trying to lose weight or maintain physical shape, can be a good solution.
But there is no reason to totally eliminate certain foods or follow extreme practices such as prolonged fasting or consuming numerous draining herbal teas, which can do more harm than good.