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The Truth About Detox Diets

What Dr. Michael Smith Says:

Does It Work?

If your goal is weight loss, a detox diet might help you drop a few pounds, but you’ll likely just gain it back. In the end, you haven’t accomplished anything, and it’s certainly not a healthy approach.

If your goal is to detox your system, don’t waste your time or money. Your body is an expert at getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. Toxins don’t build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you’re not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder. Especially avoid diets that promise to detox your liver with supplements or “cleanse” whatever the diet determines needs washing out.

The only type of detox diet that is worthwhile is one that limits processed, high-fat, and sugary foods, and replaces them with more fruits and vegetables. That clean-eating approach is your best bet to getting your body in tip-top shape.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Not only are detox diets not good for people with certain medical conditions, they could be harmful. They don’t improve blood pressure or cholesterol. Detox diets have no positive effect on the heart. For people with diabetes, they may be quite dangerous. Any diet that severely restricts what you eat could lead to dangerously low blood sugar if you take medicine for diabetes.

The exception would be a detox diet that just focuses on clean-eating. This approach would be great for anyone living with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart disease.

The Final Word

We’ve heard a great deal about detox diets in recent years. But it’s all hype with no health benefits. There are many ways to get your body clean and healthy. This isn’t one of them.

SOURCES:

Frank Sacks, MD, professor of cardiovascular disease prevention, Harvard School of Public Health.

Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, spokeswoman, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; author, Doctor’s Detox Diet.

Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, nutrition director, Washington University, St. Louis; author, The Everything Mediterranean Diet Book; past president, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on December 04, 2013
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