THE 411 ON DETOX DIETS
Saturday/Sunday, January 5, 2008.
By Nutrition Team
Have you spent so much time as a couch-potato during the Christmas festivities that you have started to sprout, particularly around the abdominal region? Does anybody feel heavy, sluggish or even guilty about the amount that they have eaten and drunk over the holidays? Well, you are not alone…
Holiday excess does take its toll. We might feel tired or sluggish and many of us want to get back to our usual routine - and lose that extra pound or two.
If this is how you feel then the chances are that you may now be considering a detox diet as a kick-start to your weight loss. But is this a good idea? Is it really necessary to eat like a rabbit to get back on track?
It’s true that a lot of the toxins we encounter come from the food we eat. Huge meals with bottles of wine being a regular event mean that our livers have to work very hard to process all the extra nutrients and toxins. And eating more means that we potentially ingest more additives and preservatives than usual. Just think back to that staff party, family gathering, get together with friends...
As a result, it’s very tempting to try to undo any damage we have inflicted on ourselves by detoxing for a couple of days. The idea of cleaning out our insides and boosting our energy level with mega doses of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals is very attractive but is it safe to follow a strict detox plan?
While there is little risk of harm when undergoing this type of diet, it’s worth remembering that detox diets are a quick fix solution, which will have little effect in the long term. Your body eliminates toxins from your body on a daily basis anyway. Detox diets are useful because they give the body a rest; they are NOT long-term plans but simply short-term regimes that allow the body to cleanse itself.
The severity of a detox diet can vary widely: at one extreme you have the fasting plans which only allow water, and at the other extreme you have gentle cleansing diets which advocate the elimination of alcohol, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, processed foods and excess fat and sugar in favour of lots of water, fruit juices, vegetables juices, and meals based on fruit and vegetables.
The general rule is the more extreme the detox plan the quicker it works BUT the more unwanted side-effects such as headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue and skin problems you can expect to experience.
Do not stay on a severe detox diet for more than two days or you may suffer vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies. A diet consisting of water only is not recommended. If you have any kind of medical condition, do not embark on this kind of diet at all without consulting your doctor.
After undergoing a brief period of detoxing, you can expect to have more energy, a greater sense of well-being, clearer skin, lower stress level, a great sense of achievement and, best of all, it will kick-start your healthy diet.
However, this is because you are coming from the point of view of having abused your body in the weeks prior to your detox. If you remember correctly, this is probably how you felt before Christmas…
The best way to get your body back on track is to adopt a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to keep flushing out the toxins on a daily basis.
With thanks to Tescodiets
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