Detox Diets: Juice Up Your Health?
Fasting and "Cleansing" Not Necessary, Some Experts Say
For some people, a detox diet might be a first step toward
healthier eating, says Cindy Moore, MS, RD, director of nutrition therapy at
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic
"If it means someone has decided to eat a vegetarian diet,
the benefit may be that they're consuming more fruits and vegetables than they
usually do, more plant-based foods," Moore tells WebMD. "But I wouldn't
consider that to be detoxification."
It's true that pesticides are stored in body fat. "But
there's no evidence that a detox regimen, which works on the GI
[gastrointestinal] tract, is going to do anything to get rid of those stored
pesticides," says Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, associate dean of the College
of Health and Human Sciences and professor of nutrition at Georgia State
University in Atlanta.
A healthy body needs no help ridding itself of toxins,
Rosenbloom tells WebMD. "There's no reason to do any kind of
detoxification. The toxins don't need to be forced out by some kind of fasting
or laxative or enema regimen."
In fact, some measures -- such as colonics -- "can actually
be dangerous, because you're introducing something foreign into your body that
could cause infection or perforation of your bowel," says Rosenbloom.
Also, detox diets aren't a great way to lose weight, she
explains. "All you lose is water weight." Stay on the diet too long,
and you could lose muscle mass rather than fat -- which will slow your
metabolism. That translates into no weight loss at all, she says.
Weil's Words of Advice
Forget detox diets, says Weil. "The best thing you can do
is to stop putting toxins into your system.Eat organic foods, drink water that
is purified, don't be around second-hand smoke -- the obvious things."