Detox diets are hotter than ever. And a lot of so-called “experts” offer plenty of ways to do it, including fasting, juicing, sweating, and enemas. But do we need to detoxify our bodies? And do detoxes work? Here are the scientific facts:
Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin is chief of women’s sports medicine at Harvard Medical School. And she says that the human body – specifically our colon, liver and kidneys – are designed to get rid of toxins which come from the air we breathe, the chemicals we encounter, and the food, alcohol, and medicine we ingest. So, not only are detoxes unnecessary but there’s absolutely no scientific proof that they can improve your health at all!
Here’s the breakdown: When it comes to “sweating away the toxins”: Our expert says that sweating has no impact on our body’s ability to detoxify itself. In fact, getting sweaty just releases water, and a little sodium.
Then there are detox diets – like the lemon juice fast. It may help you lose weight – because you’re ingesting almost zero calories but it’s only temporary. A detox diet won’t help your long-term health. In fact, it’ll slow down your metabolism and you’ll gain the weight right back the moment you start eating normally again.
Finally, our expert says that enemas can’t improve on your body’s normal elimination process. But you do run the risk of scary side effects, like salmonella poisoning, electrolyte imbalances, brain infections, and heart failure. Medical experts only recommend enemas for specific medical issues, like if you need a colonoscopy.
But even though your body doesn’t need help to detoxify itself – you can certainly reduce the number of toxins it has to deal with. How? By exercising, drinking plenty of water, and eating a healthy diet, one that includes fewer processed foods, and plenty of lean protein, fiber, and fruits and vegetables.