Detox Diets – The Truth
Why Detox Diets Don’t Work for Weight Loss
You’ve probably heard someone talking about how they lost X pounds on a detox diet. All with just a couple weeks of drinking liquids, taking “cleansing boosters,” and eating steamed vegetables.
But does it really work?
The short answer is yes. You “can” lose weight by doing a detox diet, but it may not be the kind of weight that you really want to shed.
You see, many detox diets start off with a liquid diet and then slowly add in other foods. For much of that time, though, you’ll be starving yourself of protein.
That includes both meat, and many times also non-meat protein sources (like beans and whole grains).
As you probably already know, without protein (and resistance exercise), you can’t build muscle.
So, while you’ll probably lose some fat while on a detox diet, you are just as likely to lose muscle.
Over the long run, this is the exact opposite of where you want to go, because adding lean muscle will help you lose weight and keep the weight off.
For long-term weight loss, then, you’re better off exercising more and eating more healthy.
For exercise—especially if you want to add lean muscle—try intense programs like P90X or Insanity, or weight-loss focused programs like ChaLEAN or Jillian Michaels Body Revolution.
All of these will help you add lean muscle mass, in a way that supports weight loss.
Why Detox Diets Aren’t All That Bad
So far we may come to the conclusion that detox diets are not the best way to lose weight (mainly because you’ll lose muscle mass along with fat).
That, however, doesn’t mean that detox diets are all that bad.
In moderation, detox diets can help you jump-start your lifestyle in a new, healthy direction.
The goal of most detox diets is to rid the body of toxins, like those from pesticides and pollutants.
But it also means keeping food additives and things like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol out of your body.
One week of not eating junk food, however, won’t do you any good if you go right back to your old junk food habits.
Instead, what you need are long-term changes (starting some of the workout programs I recommend is a great way to get into the mindset of long-term alterations to your diet and exercise regimes).
Instead of an extreme detox, though, try a “gentle cleanse” to start to build new, healthy habits.
It’s all about habit forming.
Once you start taking care of your body every day, you’ll have less need for doing extreme detox programs.
To learn more about detox diets and how to take charge of your health with a “gentle cleanse,” click here (opens in new window) to check out my previous post on are detox diets safe.
Power Foods For Every Day
If you really want to fuel your workouts, you need to start adding power foods to your diet.
Some of these, like seaweed and hemp, are things that you probably don’t eat all that often. You can, of course, eat them every day.
But those “exotic” foods are not the only power foods out there.
For more energy every day (in the gym and at home), you should start thinking of “power” foods as any that don’t sap your energy.
Think fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole grains. Non-meat protein sources like beans and grains.
All of these will power your workouts with wholesome protein, carbohydrates, and fats, along with a super helping of vitamins and antioxidants.
Other things that will keep you from exercising to your maximum potential are nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. The last two can be done in moderation, or even cut out completely.
So you might want to consider a gentle cleanse to get started with your new healthy transformation, but there is no need to restrict yourself to extremes.