Dieting methods come and go with the years. Cutting out carbs, fats, or sugars has proven to work well for some, while others have different dietary needs. Detoxes and cleanses have been popular lately; you’ll find many people sipping on lemon water with cayenne to “flush” toxins out of their bodies. Before you start a detox or cleanse of your own, read up on the science behind it. Here are the basics of what to know before starting a detox diet; arm yourself with knowledge and make an informed decision.
What Does It Claim To Do?
A detox, like any other diet, makes promises about what it’ll do for your body. As the name suggests, proponents of the detox diet claim that it “flushes toxins out of your system” and cleanses your body. The mental picture of eating and drinking things that will rejuvenate you and get rid of icky buildup is tantalizing, but the science behind it is unclear.
What Are the Health Benefits?
There’s no denying that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is good for your body. Increasing your vitamin intake and avoiding alcohol and extra-fatty foods will, in fact, make you feel better. People who cut commonly allergenic foods like gluten out of their diets do often feel rejuvenated and decide to quit those allergens entirely.
How Do the Toxins Get Removed?
There isn’t any hard science proving that the detox diet (lemon water, enemas, and all) flushes any actual toxins out of your system. If your kidneys are healthy, your body is “detoxing” itself—that’s why the kidneys are there! They filter your blood and push waste products out of your body. The “toxins” those diet proponents talk about are likely just a substance called creatinine, a waste product that your kidneys filter out of your blood and excrete in your urine. Your kidneys are doing the real detox work.
Cleanses and detox diets are trends that promise a laundry list of health benefits. Some of those benefits are real, but some are elaborate embellishments that only paint a lovely picture. Everyone wants a clean and healthy body, and many elements of the detox diet contribute to that goal. However, what to know before starting a detox diet is simple: the actual “detoxing” happens through normal kidney function, not herbs or laxatives.