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Your New Year’s Detox is No Good

By January 13, 2016Nutrition

by GameChanger Strength & Nutrition Coach Rob Riccobono

Are you currently doing (or about to start) a new detox or cleanse? Before committing to one, let’s first consider what a detox diet is.

A detox or cleanse is usually just a low-calorie diet plan. It often relies on fruits, vegetables, a special drink, and possibly a few pills. There’s often a list of must-have foods and must-avoid foods. Detox diets usually DO result in weight-loss because they do what any effective weight-loss plan does: help you eat less calories than you burn.  So why are most detox diets and products no-good?

You’ll Gain It All Back

A typical detox requires you to consume very few calories – something you cannot sustain beyond a few weeks. So what happens when you return to a more normal, sustainable way of eating? You’ll gain back much (if not all) of the weight you lost. If you can’t keep off the weight you worked so hard to lose, what’s the point of doing it at all?

You’re Being Lied to About Toxins

You don’t need to drink a special juice or product to cleanse your body of dangerous toxins. Your liver and kidneys are responsible for that! If you truly do have dangerous toxins that you need to rid your body of, that sounds like a serious condition you should consult with a physician about.

They Are Potentially Dangerous

This is certainly dependent on the specific detox diet, but some of them are so low in calories that they pose a health risk. Short term, very-low calorie nutrition interventions CAN be safe. In fact, you can survive for weeks without eating a single ounce of food (just watch the incredible tale in the movie Unbroken). However, if daily calories are super low (say under 1,000 per day), it should be done under the care of a medical professional. If you are exercising along with this diet protocol, the potential danger is compounded.

It’s Hard to Resist the Temptation

Diets that promise a quick-fix are attractive. Most detoxes not only promise a big weight loss within a short time-frame, but they also make life simple by spelling out exactly what to eat. The process is simple and the promised results are bountiful, but the attractive components are also the unappealing ones: You want to be fit and healthy for much longer than just a few weeks, and you know you can’t live on only a few foods and shakes forever.

I cannot support detox diets, but having said all of this, I also completely understand their popularity. Heck, even Tom Brady currently entrusts his diet and training regime to a man whom the FTC charged with making false claims that his greens product could cure terminal cancer. If the Super Bowl winning quarterback can’t see through the BS, is there hope for the rest of us regular schnooks?

In all honesty, the best way to get healthier is to eat more whole foods, control your calories, and exercise on a consistent basis. It’s not a quick-fix and you won’t see it in bottle form on an infomercial, but it’ll get the job done in a practical way.

If you want to learn more specific, practical nutrition tips, continue to read our blog. If you’re interested in nutrition coaching, email to learn more.

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