Fitness and Weight Loss 3 important things you need to know before trying a detox diet

Except that’s actually a really bad idea. Don’t buy into the hype of detox diets for these three reasons.

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3 important things you need to know before trying a detox diet play

3 important things you need to know before trying a detox diet

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It sounds like a perfectly good idea: After a season of “toxifying” your system with punch-bowl booze, bacon-studded cheese balls, and those ever-present little hot dog weenies, you feel crummy and want to stop feeling crummy. 

So you see a diet book or Instagram influencer hawking some “detox” that’ll have you feeling great and losing weight in just a few short days.

Except that’s actually a really bad idea. Don’t buy into the hype of detox diets for these three reasons.

1. A Healthy Body Already Does A Good Job Of Flushing Toxins 

Detox diets claim they help flush toxins like pesticides and metals out of your system, but your body already has an amazing detoxification system in your liver, kidneys, and colon. “There is not any researched information to show that any of these detox diets do anything more than what our bodies do naturally in response to reducing sugar, fat, and caloric intake,” says Cassandra Forsythe, Ph.D., R.D., a Connecticut-based dietician specializing in nutrition for fat loss.

2. Most Detox Diets Are Super Low In Protein 

Six glasses of green juice every day may help you lose weight temporarily, but it will not deliver the protein you need to build or maintain muscle. You’re essentially “starving the muscles of their building blocks,” Forsythe says. So while you may be losing weight, some of that weight may be muscle mass.

3. Detox Diets Encourage A Poor View Of Good Nutrition 

Detoxing isn’t an eating disorder, but it can certainly fit into the category of disordered eating. Look at the Master Cleanse, in which you ingest only lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and water for 10 days. (Sounds delicious, right?)

When your 10-day sentence is over, you're probably going to want a quad-stacked bacon cheeseburger, large fries, and a chocolate milkshake—something you wouldn't have downed if you hadn't just starved yourself for a week and a half. Plus, that burger binge will likely lead to you feeling terrible about your body (and yourself in general), putting you on the path to another restrictive eating period. It's a viscious cycle.

The bottom line: Forsythe says that what you consume can help you feel better: Cut out the junk. Eat more whole protein, vegetables, and grains. Lay off the sugar and drink lots of water. And maybe go easy on the toxifying, okay? 

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