It seems like new detox programs are popping up all over the place. That might leave you wondering if you need one or not. I feel the same way. Part of me says it’s not necessary while another part of me says it must be beneficial if so many people are doing detoxes. Your best bet before doing a detox of any kind is to talk to your doctor beforehand and learn as much as you can about your program before you start. In general, here are several things to keep in mind before you detox.
1. Your Body is Fully Capable of Detoxing Itself
While there may be certain benefits to a detox program, your body is actually designed to do this job without any help. Your kidney and liver work to filter and eliminate waste from your entire body. Unless either organ is compromised, you usually don’t have to worry about toxins building up in your system.
2. A Detox is Often Very Low in Calories
According to the Mayo Clinic, many detox programs consist of a period of time where you only consume liquids followed by a time where you eat only fruits and vegetables. Because this restricts your calorie intake, you may experience weight loss while on a detox. Eating like this can compromise your health if it goes on too long, however, so don’t attempt to detox for more than a few days.
3. You Could Suffer Nutrient Deficiencies
This is true anytime you eliminate food groups from your meal plans. Most detox programs eliminate meats, dairy and grains, leaving you only fruits and vegetables. Yes, they are loaded with vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy, but they don’t load you up with calcium, protein, iron and B vitamins the way other food groups do. Doctors say to stay away from long-term detox diets to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
4. You’ll Probably Feel Hungry and Weak
When you scale back your eating to the degree that detox diets require, you are bound to feel hungry and weak. This is due to a dramatically reduced intake of calories and fat, which your body needs some of just to function. Be prepared for this so that it doesn’t derail you or cause you to throw in the towel before you’re done.
5. A Detox Can Jump Start Healthy Habits
Because most detox programs only last for a short time, you may find that they jump start healthy habits you can stick with long-term. Perhaps a detox helps you fit more fruits and veggies in your diet. Or maybe it helps you see how great you feel when you eliminate soda, processed foods and candy from your meal plan. Use a detox as a way to get you on track and you’ll probably achieve the success you’re after.
6. Exercise Isn’t Required, but It is Recommended
Most detox diets are all about what you can and can’t eat and don’t bring exercise into the mix. Your primary choices when you want to lead a healthier lifestyle should be getting more physical activity and making sound eating choices. While you may feel too weak to exercise during a detox, make a point to add it to your routine when you’re done and you can speed weight loss and feel great at the same time.
7. There Are Some Side Effects You Should Be Watching for
Because a detox plan limits your food intake, be on the lookout for side effects that could be dangerous. This includes dizziness, nausea, fatigue, muscle cramps and low blood sugar. If you experience any of these, it might be time to add some additional food to your day. Talk to your doctor about the best next move for you.
Have you ever done a detox? What advice can you share to make it successful?