There are a lot of diet plans, and among them, detox diets are a rage. The detox diet has several associations. The first association is that you adapt to this new diet, and you not only lose weight but also lose weight healthily. The underlying faith in this diet also arises from the diet’s promises of being capable of letting people who follow it achieve quick weight loss.
Along with rapid weight loss, detox diets claim to be capable of debloating the body, removing harmful toxins, etc. Detoxes are sometimes called cleanses by their followers because of their capability to remove toxins from the gut and give the digestive system a break.
A detox diet is generally a period of fasting that may last from three to seven days. Sometimes it can go up to two weeks designed to detoxify our body. It is a very restrictive diet plan with a long list of food not to consume.
It sometimes includes consuming certain supplements and other similar packaged food items that claim to be rich in various nutrients and herbs. The plan consists of a fasting period followed by a strict diet with just fruits and their juices, vegetables and water included in the diet.
There is still little evidence that proves a detox diet to be capable of improving health. But, on the other hand, that does not mean that such a diet plan is not beneficial. Many celebrities and influencers swear by a detox diet. But that also does not make it a very healthy diet plan, including fasting and skipping meals.
If you are looking to take up a detox diet plan or are confused about what sort of diet is the best for you, you must first have a general idea of such diet plans. As a result, this will help you draw out a comparison detox diet vs other diets which will help you understand if a detox diet is the best dietary plan for you.
Detox Diets vs Other Diets
Several dietary plans now aim at weight loss, sustainability, detoxification, etc., and generally aim to improve our health. Other than the detox diet, which aims at detoxifying our body and helping us lose weight, several different diets are in vogue. The popular ones are paleo, low-carb, GM, Atkins, etc. All these diet plans follow their kind of system to achieve weight loss.
Besides these, several diets claim to detoxify our body and provide advantages like improved immunity, sustainability, etc. So, it is essential to understand what kind of diet is the best for you and if a detox diet is an ultimate answer to detoxification and weight loss compared to other diets.
A detox diet can be diverse, from complete fasting to modest food adjustments. A general detox diet follows the below plan:
- One to three days of fasting
- Drinking only juices and smoothies made from fresh fruits, vegetables, salted water, lemon juice, etc.
- Consumption of certain dietary supplements that claim to be rich in particular nutrients and herbs
- Using enemas, colon hydrotherapy and laxatives to cleanse the colon
- Eliminating all alcoholic beverages, coffee, cigarettes, and processed sugar.
- A reduction of environmental exposures.
- Regularly exercising
- Using a sauna
The following are the food items that are usually encouraged while following a detox diet:
- Detoxing vegetables: beets, artichokes, carrots, broccoli, red cabbage, radishes, sweet potatoes, avocado, spinach, pumpkin, kale and squash.
- Detoxifying fruits: Fruits rich in anthocyanins like grapes, currants, berries, etc.
- Detoxifying pulses: lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans
- Detoxifying drinks: fruits and vegetables, juices and smoothies, green tea and black tea, water
This detox diet claims to have a lot of benefits like detoxing your body, improving skin and hair health, boosting the immune system, weight loss, etc. However, the experiments done on the detox diet is minimal, so any studies do not back such claims.
Many still claim to have successfully lost weight by following the diet. These claims may be right as the diet plan involves fasting and consuming limited food items. Avoiding the consumption of food items like coffee, alcohol, salt, sugar, and processed foods can help lower the body’s fat content and zero accumulation of any more.
Out of the few studies conducted on detox diets, a 2017 review suggests that such a diet plan is capable of helping people achieve weight loss. Also, it entails a minimal intake of calories during the duration of the diet, which might lead to weight gain once they resume their regular diet. However, no studies have proven that such a detox diet has a long-term effect.
Not many other diets claim to be capable of detoxifying or cleansing our gut. Most other diet plans focus on fasting, building immunity, etc. So, if your aim is the same and not weight loss or anything else, you can try the detox diet. But it is not advised for you to make the detox diet your regular diet. Regular fasting, skipping meals and avoiding eating many foods may cause issues like dehydration, fainting, weakness, headaches, etc.
Health Benefits of the Detox Diet
Even though the body can detoxify, eating a nutritious diet and avoiding exposure to hazardous substances in foods can support the organs engaged in biotransformation. Also, certain studies found that fasting, an essential phase in a detox diet, can improve liver functioning. It is the major site of detoxification. As a result, the activity of detoxification enzymes improves.
No research confirms detox diets to be 100% effective. However, some studies suggest that the detox diet may have some health benefits. One uses various diet plans like raw-food, liquid, dry, and no-grain diets interchangeably as detox diets.
There are some benefits from the standard detox diets:
Aids Weight Loss
The key benefit of a detox diet plan is said to be its capability to reduce body weight. Also, this is often the reason why such a diet plan is chosen by many. This diet plan can reduce the body weight by 2 to 4 kgs.
Improves Skin and Hair Health
Consuming detox foods removes toxins from the body, further improving skin and hair health. Such detoxification can also help in reducing acne and achieving clear skin.
A detox diet is also said to be capable of removing toxins at the follicles, making our hair shinier and promoting it to go thicker and longer.
Boosts the Immune System
The detox diet usually includes the consumption of several nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Therefore it is capable of improving immunity.
Moreover, our body can get healthier with a better immune system since the detox diet plan also includes avoiding alcohol, sugary foods, cigarettes, etc.
Improved Digestive System
The detox diet includes a food plan containing certain low-calorie items or prohibiting certain food groups. For example, consuming foods and vegetables will promote easier digestion as they are low in calories.
In addition, they are rich in fibres, vitamins, water and other minerals that help in easy digestion. The detoxification of the body, which the diet plan claims to be capable of, will help enhance the absorption of nutrients. Detox diets can alter metabolism, which might help in long-term weight management.
Encourages Mindful Eating
By following a detox diet, you will know what to eat and what not to improve your health. Even if the diet plan didn’t give results, you would be mindful of what you must eat and the foods you should avoid. You will also know the quantity of food to manage healthy body weight. So, a detox diet can promote mindful eating and encourage you to build a better lifestyle.
Cons of Detox Diet
Some studies say that no scientific proof has been found on the benefits of a detox diet. But on the other hand, scientists say that our bodies can mend, renew, and detoxify. Thus we do not necessarily have to follow a detox diet unless recommended by a medical practitioner.
Our organs like the liver, kidneys, skin, digestive system, and lungs, as well as enzymes in our cells, are all built to break down and eliminate toxins and waste products. However, experts say that our body does not let toxins accumulate in literal terms, so there is nothing to “detoxify”. Instead, what happens is a condition occurs which requires specific dietary interventions.
For example, in case of high blood sugar, one may need to cut down on carbs and increase protein intake for consecutive days. In that case, eliminating carbs implies detoxification, and the protein-rich diet becomes the detox diet.
Detox diets can help you break bad habits. For example, you crave sweets right after lunch. On the other hand, it could be because you are protein deficient and overloading carbs. In that case, increasing protein may help you let go of your dependence on sugar. Therefore each addiction requires a different approach to detoxification.
A qualified professional can help you decide on the right plan, keeping in mind the underlying health conditions and emotional, behavioural and lifestyle issues.
Some of the shortcomings and side effects of a detox diet that makes it unnecessary include the following:
- Fasting is an important phase in some detox diet forms. However, skipping meals or undergoing severe calorie restrictions can lead to issues like fatigue, bad breath and irritability.
- Studies have proved that issues like vitamin and mineral deficiencies and lack of energy can occur due to long-term fasting, a part of a detox diet.
- According to certain studies, the colon cleansing methods sometimes used in a detox diet can lead to nausea and vomiting, bloating, dehydration, cramping, etc.
- Some detox diets encourage you to take certain supplements. However, consuming them without any prescription might lead to overdosing, which can have serious effects.
- The weight loss achieved through a detox diet is due to the reduced calorie intake and fluid loss resulting from the use of laxatives, which is not very healthy.
- During the detox diet, a decrease in the consumption of food items decreases the metabolism rate, so when you resume your regular diet, there may be a rapid weight gain.
While detox procedures are safe, detox programs that use severe measures raise safety concerns. For the same reason, some people should avoid following a detox diet as it can cause specific adverse effects. For example, it can lead to vitamin deficiencies, weakness, mood swings, dehydration, etc.
If you suffer from certain chronic diseases, are pregnant and breastfeeding, or with an eating disorder, you must avoid following a detox diet.
Detox diets are especially popular for helping people lose weight. Since detox diets include a restricted food consumption plan for avoiding certain food items, one usually loses weight. However, the detox diet is not one of the most excellent options for long-term weight loss unless customised, keeping in mind your metabolic parameters.
An extreme form of starvation usually has a boomerang effect. As a result, the chances of you gaining much more weight are high after you stop following the plan.
Weight loss is directly proportional to metabolism. Therefore, the healthier your metabolic health, the more weight you shed. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, a wrong detox diet slows down your metabolism, so it will be difficult for you to reduce weight in the future.
In some detox diet forms, you lose water weight due to using laxatives rather than fat weight during the detox process. That is why after the course of the diet, you will regain the weight you lost and more. Muscle loss can also occur due to a detox diet, but this is not advantageous if you want to lose weight permanently. Also, our muscles can burn excessive calories in our bodies.
Sustainability diets protect ecosystems and biodiversity and are affordable, nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy. However, all diets may not be sustainable for everyone as the nutritional needs of different people’s bodies differ.
It is hard to say that detox diets are sustainable. As it includes a lot of fasting, it is not very healthy for many. Such a diet plan may reduce the number of certain nutrients like proteins in the body, making it less safe and healthy. Detox diets also include the consumption of supplements, laxatives, etc., so a diet may not be sustainable for those who cannot afford such expensive medicines.
The HealthifyMe Note
A detox diet can also be sustainable in other ways as it promotes mindful eating. In addition, such a diet plan also encourages avoiding consuming certain unhealthy items like alcohol, sugary foods, fast foods, etc.
Other Types of Diets
To fully understand Detox Diets vs Other Diets, you must know about some other famous diet plans that claim to be healthy and sustainable.
The ketogenic diet effectively helped treat epilepsy for decades. It entails lowering carbohydrate intake while increasing fat intake. As an idea, it may seem counterproductive that the body uses fat rather than carbohydrates for energy.
The ketogenic diet enables fat stores to be broken down for fuel, resulting in chemicals known as ketones. However, for those with type 1 diabetes, this diet has hazards such as ketoacidosis, which can lead to diabetic coma and death.
Keto removes carbs from the system and uses fat to tackle certain health conditions.
The usual diet has not much in common with the keto diet. The former is to lose weight and detoxify your body, and the other is to increase the number of healthy fats in the body. The detox diet usually follows a plant-based low-calorie and low-fat diet, almost opposite to the keto diet.
A vegetarian diet helps people reduce body weight as such a diet plan involves avoiding animal products, especially different kinds of meat. Recent studies show vegetarians have lower body weight, fewer illnesses, and a longer life expectancy than meat-eaters.
Switching to a vegetarian diet to lose body weight may be a slower process compared to a detox diet. However, the former may be capable of providing long-term results compared to a detox diet.
It is a healthy eating regimen that virtually eliminates sugar consumption. Fruit is the only source of sugar in a Paleo diet. The Paleo diet also forbids the consumption of processed foods and wheat. The lower the number of carbohydrates in your system, the lower the glucose level.
As a result, your body will begin to use fat as a fuel source. The Paleo diet also avoids dairy products. Instead, the diet plan includes food items like fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, oils, sweet potatoes, eggs, meat, etc.
This dieting practice aims mainly to return to a dietary plan that the early human beings once followed. Followers of such a plan believe that modern diets that include processed food and other sugary foods are not healthy for the human body.
Therefore, the detox diet has a very different objective from the paleo diet. Both promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Still, the latter also include meats, fish, etc., which are high-calorie food items.
It is another diet that limits meat consumption but does not remove it entirely. This diet helps with PCOS, blood sugar regulation, and weight loss. The Mediterranean diet encourages olive oil usage as much as possible, including as a substitute for butter in salad dressings and marinades.
It also emphasises the importance of including vegetables in each meal and recommends fish over chicken. More significant amounts of whole grains, nuts, and herbs are also part of the diet.
A detox diet usually avoids all kinds of animal products, including fish, milk, etc., that are part of a Mediterranean diet. Also, the Mediterranean diet aims to improve heart health and prevent heart diseases, strokes, etc., which makes it different from the detox diet that aims at detoxifying the body.
Weight Watchers Diet
Weight Watchers, or WW, is a point-based weight loss and good eating program. According to studies, it is highly adaptable and effective for long-term weight loss. Weight Watchers (WW) is a program that encourages you to eat healthily and exercise. The SmartPoints system assigns a value to each meal, drink, and WW recipe. Each day, you are given points based on your need. Each week, the goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5-0.9 kg [kilogramme]).
The detox diet uses fasting and a restrictive diet plan compared to the weight watchers diet. As a result, the detox diet plan may also be short-termed compared to the long-termed effectiveness of the weight watchers diet.
A commonly defined detox diet plan involves cutting down on many food items or food groups. However, it may lead to the body not getting enough essential nutrients like protein. As a result, such a diet plan can compromise the body’s detoxification abilities rather than enhance them. Therefore, it is crucial to embark on such a plan under the guidance of a specialist.
A vegetarian diet helps people reduce body weight. Recent studies show vegetarians have lower body weight, fewer illnesses, and a longer life expectancy than meat-eaters. In addition, a standard vegetarian diet is not highly restrictive. It includes all food groups, and a balanced meal will have complex carbs, protein, fibre and healthy fats.
Switching to a vegetarian diet is a form of detox for some. There are several such plans available on the internet. Smoothies, juice, salad, no grains, no dairy and no gluten, are some examples of a vegetarian/ vegan detox diet.
The detox diet is gaining popularity. The detox diet follows a short-term and extreme approach. It avoids alcohol, smoking, and environmental contaminants, which might benefit overall health, including the body’s detoxification mechanism.
In addition, specific followers have claimed they felt more focused and energetic while on a detox diet plan. However, not many studies back the benefits of the detox diet.
The fasting phase and the restrictive diet may even be harmful to the health of some. So, you can find or decide for yourself on studying Detox diets vs other diets to understand what dietary plan is the best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is a detox diet a good thing?
A. A detox diet is not good or bad and is primarily subjective. While it claims to be capable of detoxifying our body and helping us lose weight, few studies back the same. The diet plan is suitable for those aiming for quick weight loss. Still, it is unhealthy for people with specific medical issues as it involves fasting and a restrictive diet plan.
Q. What type of diet is a detox diet?
A. Detox diets are mainly short-term nutritional therapies that aim to rid your body of toxins and also promote weight loss. A traditional detox diet includes a fasting period followed by a strict diet of fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, and water.
Q. What is the difference between detox and cleanse?
A. Detoxification is a long-term process that necessitates a change in lifestyle and nutrition. Cleansing is a short-term diet designed to remove the impurities in the body and cleanse the digestive tract.
Q. Which detox is best for weight loss?
A. One detox diet plan that is best for weight loss is the consumption of lemon and ginger detox drinks. Add half a lemon juice into lukewarm water and add an inch of grated ginger. Consume this drink for a couple of months, and you can notice a reduced body weight.
Q. What is the safest detox?
A. The safest way to detox is fasting for one to three days. Then, consume juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables, smoothies, water, and tea for a week. Please avoid processed foods, sugary items, alcohol, smoking, etc.
Q. How often should you detox your body?
A. You can aim to detox once a month which can last up to a week. However, do not follow a detox diet for more than a week or two, as following a restrictive diet and fasting for more than that can affect your health.
Q. Which diet is most effective for long-term weight loss?
A. Weight Watchers, or WW, is a point-based weight loss and good eating program. According to studies, it is highly adaptable and effective for long-term weight loss compared to the detox diet plan.
Q. How long should you detox for weight loss?
A. One to three days of fasting and consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, water, and tea alone for the rest of the diet duration is the best detox diet to achieve quick weight loss.
Q. Who should not detox?
A. People with diabetes, heart disease, other medical conditions, pregnant women, etc., should avoid following a detox diet plan. Detox diets are not suitable if you are on medications for health reasons, allergies, etc. You shouldn’t try a detox diet plan if you are someone who has a history of any eating disorder. Always talk to a specialist before you start on a detox diet.
Q. How can I detox my body in 24 hours?
A. Consume lemon water after waking up. Have a light breakfast to debloat. Avoid junk, sugary, and other processed foods to improve your diet and promote detoxification. Please consume green tea or herbal tea in the afternoon. Keep aside some time to exercise as well.