Detox diets are increasing in popularity. But are they a good idea?
Most experts will tell you “no.”
There’s no shortage of teas, juices, supplements, cleanses and other products on the market that promise to help you detox, feel better and lose weight. Brian Jones, a registered dietitian at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, says they may not provide tangible health benefits.
“We are a society that likes quick fixes, and these promise a quick fix,” says Jones. “And the little evidence that we have shows that these things don’t work over the long term.”
Some people abandoned evidence-based treatments and therapies for these quick fixes. That means they’re losing out on health benefits like those that come from eating nutrient-dense foods, Jones explains.
Does your body need detoxing?
You may have seen advertisements for products that promise to detox your body, often by targeting the liver. It might be a diet, collection of herbs or some other type of supplement. The diet or products promise to eliminate toxins from your body, which claims to help your organ systems “rest” and “recover”.
According to Jones, you don’t need to purchase a product to help your body detox because your liver and other organs already do that job for you. Your liver filters out toxins from your blood and converts them into waste products, which your body then eliminates. It also helps you metabolize nutrients, so your body can function normally.
Are there more benefits to thinking long-term?
There’s no scientific evidence that shows that liver detoxification products do anything to boost your liver’s health or help you lose weight long-term. Plus, many of these products, like the supplements, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so you don’t know exactly what you’re getting.
And some of the benefits claimed for certain products can be short-lived — and possibly unpleasant in the short run.
For example, consider a product that promises quick weight loss, like five or ten pounds in just a few days. You might just lose a few pounds in water weight, from diarrhea and dehydration, and then put them back on shortly afterward.
Here are 2 key things Jones says you should keep in mind:
- In the short term, making the right choices is not going to result in quick weight loss.
- But making smarter choices will lead to weight loss in the longer term.
- And you’re more likely to keep the weight off.
When in doubt, talk to your doctor before trying a new dietary supplement or regimen.