Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Detox & Cleansing Hurts

Search for "detox products" online and you'll get over 35,000 hits. Detox diet books number in the hundreds. Surprising? Unfortunately, no. Ridiculous? Absolutely. It's continually shocking to me the amount that some people will pay for products that have absolutely no scientific evidence that they do...anything. The theory behind detoxing is that our body becomes overloaded with "toxins" from the food we eat, mainly coming from additives, caffeine, preservatives, and alcohol. Supposedly these toxins stay in the body, wreaking all kinds of havoc, from weight gain to belly bloat to fatigue. The truth is that this entire premise is faulty.

Talk to any GI specialist and he/she will tell you the same thing: our bodies don't get "backed up with toxins" that come from the foods we eat. The body is perfectly capable of cleansing itself using its own special device: your liver. Ever heard the phrase, "You live-r you die"? You need your liver - can't live without it! It is your body's natural way of filtering out the "bad stuff" and keeping the good.

So why do people keep buying detox and cleansing products, claiming to see results? Many of these products are filled with intestinal irritants, designed to upset the lining of your gastro-intestinal (GI) system so that you go to the bathroom (and therefore think the products is effective). The products claim that this is your body ridding itself of "toxins and years of build-up", when all you have done is irritate your intestines.
Unfortunately, the consequences can go beyond mere irritation of your GI system. Many detox products or detox diets are downright dangerous. Some products require extreme fasting for days or weeks at a time, in which participants only drink liquids or eat only one or two foods. Taking in so few calories leads to severe muscle wasting (not fat loss). Still other detox products contain laxatives or colonics; these can be dangerously dehydrating and cause electrolyte imbalances in the body. Use the products enough and you will start decreasing how effectively your intestines absorb the vitamins and minerals in the food you eat. Some people become dependent on these "colon cleanses" to go to the bathroom because they have overused them and upset the natural regularity of their bodies.

Looking for a healthy way to "cleanse" your body? Try this:
1. Drink plenty of water
2. Eat whole foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grain.
3. Fuel your muscles with low-fat dairy products and other lean sources of protein.
4. Eat consistently throughout the day: every 3-4 hours is ideal.
5. With the okay from your doctor, be physically active every day.
6. Avoid laxatives and detox supplements.
So whether it's a pill, liquid, diet, or foot pad (yes, those are out there too), stay far away.
Be Extraordinary,

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