THE DETOX DECEPTION: MYTHS, TRUTHS, AND FACTS.
We live in a fast society—fast information, fast news, fast communication—and subsequently we’ve grown used to fast solutions to our problems. We don’t have time to spare, after all.
Health, in particular, is a very tricky issue. Being in good shape requires a long-term commitment, effort, and dedication. It takes time. And time is precisely what most people lack.
Taking this into consideration, is no wonder that the detox diet hype is as long standing as it is. It promises that a single food regime can fix the long-term damage within the body, in a reasonably short timeframe, and with no big effort.
Who doesn’t like the sound of purging the pollution out of the body in a couple days by just drinking certain juices? It sounds like the Thanos of health—with a finger snap, half your body toxins will flush down the toilet.
Rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
WHAT ARE TOXINS?
To understand the detox diets’ premises, it is important to discuss first its worst enemy—toxins.
Toxins are, by general rule, substances that have the potential to be poisonous for living organisms, such as humans. While this seems frankly straightforward, what can be a toxin or not is actually far more complex than that.
Substances can be unambiguously toxic, but they can also become noxious only in large doses—or maybe simply by virtue of interaction with another substance. In fact, something that can be toxic for an organism, may not have an adverse effect on another one.
An enjoyable exercise is when a sales person tries to sell you a detox product, kindly ask which toxins will it remove. Then follow up which anti toxins will remove them, this is how the medical community views detoxing,
As you can see, defining a toxin isn’t as clear-cut as initially thought.
TOXINS ACCUMULATE INSIDE YOUR BODY (SO THEY SAY.)
Then, what is a toxin, according to the cleansing gurus? The answer is surprisingly straightforward—anything that harms the body, period.
Cleansing treatments and detox diets do not distinguish between noxious substances. For them, every toxin behaves in roughly the same manner, despite differences in chemical composition and structure.
According to the prevailing belief within the community, the body is constantly receiving nefarious chemicals and damaging elements, be it through exposure, breathing, consumption, or other means.
These toxins have the unpleasant side-effect of remaining within the body, accumulating over time in a manner akin to the dust settling on that counter you never bother to clean.
In other words, according to the cleansing experts, substances like pesticides, preservatives, metals, pollution, and assorted chemicals, do not leave your organism regardless of your lifestyle, so you must purge them out through the detox diet.
DETOX TO GET RID OF TOXINS. (APPARENTLY.)
After horrifying you to the core by describing (in a highly detailed manner) the ghastly pollutants dwelling inside your body, the so-called experts proceed to tell you not to worry—such an aggravating issue has a simple solution: detox diet!
According to these theories, the accumulated toxins that couldn’t leave your body by ordinary means, are promptly expelled by following a rigorous and restrictive diet for a given timeframe. In theory, detox diets give your digestive system a “break”—reduced work means more time to heal itself.
Detox diets come in many shapes and sizes—some are a regular, if highly restrictive, fad weight loss plans. The famed Master Cleanse, for example, is a glorified program that temporarily replaces food with tea and lemonade, promising the loss of both weight and toxins in a matter of days.
Seems like a highly accessible solution to a worrisome problem—and this alone should be a giant red flag.
If such toxins are as resistant as to remain within your body for years, how come some juices and powders can eliminate them in an instant? Is a smoothie really that powerful?
SCIENCE HAS A GIVEN ITS VEREDICT—DETOX DIETS ARE BOGUS.
Scientists agree: while smoothies and fruits are, indeed, healthy and delicious, they do not have magical healing properties.
While it is true there are toxic substances harmful to the human body—pesticides, mercury and high-fructose corn syrup all have adverse effects on your health—they only provide long-term damage when consumed in high doses, and that is not an easy feat.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, pesticide leftovers on food are well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards—not to mention most of it can be washed away or cooked. Likewise, while plenty fishes contain mercury, you would have to consume a lot in order to go through mercury poisoning. Finally, high-fructose corn syrup is not particularly toxic, and its negative side-effects are the ones derived from the excessive consumption of sugars.
As you can see, toxicity isn’t that easy to achieve. But despite that, some readers may remain skeptical—detox diets must be purifying and positive for a person’s well-being, right?
YOUR BODY CLEANSES ITSELF.
As you may remember, the human body has something named the excretory system. It is basically the system that fulfills the duty of eliminating waste. Waste, in this case, being anything that isn’t energy and nutrients.
This, of course, includes toxins.
It turns out that plenty organs within your body—kidneys, lungs, and mostly the liver—are working nonstop to detect toxins and redirect them towards excretion. Implying your body accumulates harmful substances is doing a disservice to nature’s most complex machine.
By engaging in fad diets that severely deprive your organism of the nutrient ingredients needed to ensure proper functioning, you are, in fact, making it more difficult for your body to get rid of the very toxins you seek to eliminate.
But it’s important to remember the body cannot eliminate certain toxins—pesticide poisoning, for example, is something that our system is not fully equipped to deal with, and therefore is an emergency that should be treated in medical centers.
Needless to say, in the case of an actual toxic shock within the body, supplements and tea are kind of useless.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO, THEN?
Instead of losing time and money on a cleansing diet that will never bear fruits, invest in real fruits.
It turns out that a healthy lifestyle is all you need. Eat a balanced diet regularly—not by fads or intermittently—and make it a long-term commitment. This is all the help your organism needs to get rid of the damaging waste you may have been consuming.
Aiding your liver—the main detox champion—should be your priority, and the best way to do so is through healthy food and regular exercise. If you need serious liver support look into NAC, TUDUCA and the Spirulina article on here.
No magical one-week spells needed.
2016 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Detoxes: an undefined scam by Kamal Patel. [Examine.com]
“Detoxes” and “Cleanses” by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
How Not to Wreck Your Liver by Suz Redfearn. [WebMD]
Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet) by U.S. News.
Regulation of Pesticide Residues on Food by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency.
The Truth About Detox Diets by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. [WebMD]
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