"Stepping into 2017 with a detox? Get the facts before you do..."
Detoxification is a natural process in the human body, where the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system promote elimination of accumulated toxins and unwanted chemicals from the body. In perfect conditions - where one consumes a healthy and balanced diet without excess saturated and trans fats, nitrates, heavy metals, POP’s, BPA’s, carcinogens, artificial colours and flavours - the body will easily detoxify and eliminate the natural byproducts of metabolism through feces, urine, and sweat. This is the beauty of the human body - the ability to self heal and keep itself clean and vibrant!
Unfortunately, we live in sub optimal conditions where all the negative effects from unhealthy diets, pollution and stress play a major role in limiting these natural abilities to cleanse and self heal. Many toxins have fat soluble properties, thus the more one holds on to extra body weight, the more toxins are locked within the body. Thus, guided detoxification through removal of unhealthy eating habits and support with an essential array of vitamins and minerals from whole foods is the best way to safely cleanse the body and help it self-heal.
So many cleanses are out there? Are they safe and reliable? Do they work?
It’s easy to find many anecdotal reports of success and failure for most detox programs out there, but the reality is that currently there is a huge deficiency of scientific, peer reviewed studies evaluating their effectiveness and safety. Lets focus on two types of detox: Pills and Cleanses.
Most detox “pills’ are simply extra fibre, which helps to clean out the gastro intestinal system. Some contain other ingredients like bentonite clay and aloe vera, most of which as safe to take. Effectiveness of these type of detox programs is superficial, as they don’t restrict toxins coming into the system (no dietary changes to follow, no lifestyle eating habits changed). Some pills even contain excess supplements, diuretics, laxatives, which can be harmful to the body if overdosed.
Cleanses can be done in many different ways. Some are based on water and lemon, some are just juices, and some allow intake of healthy unprocessed foods. Many of these cleanses are very low in calories, which in turn results in initial weight loss (a good indicator of getting rid of toxins). Though if we look deeper, the weight loss is most often resulting from low intake of carbohydrates (carbs hold water in the body, so if one is on a low carb diet simply means you’re holding on to less water). As soon as regular diet resumes the water binds to carbs and your weight is rebound to normal. This short-term weight loss is most often followed by a bigger weight increase due to splurging on treats since you’re been “detoxing” for a week or two! So again, this is a superficial effect. Some cleanses can actually cause one to reduce their metabolic rate if maintained for a prolonged period of time as the body will adapt to burn less calories than under normal caloric conditions (thus slower metabolism). In addition, severe restriction can result in lacking the essential vitamins and minerals that the body requires to carry out natural detoxification processes. Having said this, if done right, a whole food cleanse which provides all essential nutrients, and limits harmful dietary habits, can be extremely beneficial to one's health!
A well designed whole food cleanse or a fruit and vegetable juice cleanse is naturally detoxifying and helps the body re-balance itself. It helps improve digestion and assimilation of micro nutrients, helps fight free radicals (anti-ageing), promotes radiant skin, improves vitality, immunity and resilience. Following a whole food cleanse packed with essential nutrients will propel you on a healthy eating pathway with lifelong benefits .