Friday, January 22, 2016

Detox Diets

The logic behind detox diets is simple: our modern diet is full of chemicals, additives and junk that our bodies simply aren’t designed to handle; however, if we follow a detox plan, we can ‘flush’ these impurities from our system and feel lighter, healthier and generally happier.

Advocates claim that dieters following a detox plan can do everything from shift a few unwanted pounds to eliminate cellulite, improve their skin, hair and nails, boost immune system function, get rid of recurring headaches, banish fatigue and raise their overall level of well being. Detoxing is recommended as a way to kick-start a new diet plan, and many people attribute their success in various diet plans to using a detox plan at the beginning of their diet. This is most likely because following a detox plan for up to two weeks before starting a more traditional diet programme allows dieters to see more immediate results, and more importantly, makes it a bit easier for people to change their eating habits as a detox usually has more strict rules than the diet plan dieters follow their detox with.

    The specific rules of detox diets differ between plans, but generally the detox diet will involve eating fruit, vegetables, seeds and herbs almost exclusively while eliminating meat, dairy and processed foods altogether. Most detox diets encourage liberal consumption of water and herbal teas but restrict alcohol and caffeine intake significantly, or ban them completely. Many detox diet plans recommend dieters drink specially-formulated drinks and cordials to aid the detoxing process – these are readily available from high street chemists and some larger grocery stores.

A typical detox diet plan is followed for seven days and includes the following rules:

1. Allowed foods: all fresh fruit; all fresh vegetables (except corn which can be detrimental as some people have a latent allergy to it); brown or basmati rice (rice cakes and rice crackers are also permitted); beans; nuts and seeds (unsalted, avoid peanuts for allergenic resons); and, fish in moderation.

2. Allowed drinks: herbal, caffeine-free teas; green tea; water (minimum of eight glasses a day); natural fruit and vegetable juices; and, rice milk.

3. Banned foods: red meats; refined sugars (sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, brown sugar); artificial sweeteners; dairy products; eggs; wheat and wheat products; gluten-containing grains (barley, oats, rye, etc); corn; caffeine; yeast; alcohol; chocolate; and, any processed or fatty foods

Detox diets have been the subject of a series of high-profile debates among health professionals in the media for a variety of reasons, largely because of the risks associated with following a detox plan for a long period of time.

Critics say that detox diets produce temporary results that often lead to an overall feeling disappointment. Some critics also point out that following a detox diet for a prolonged period can result in serious side effects, ranging from an increase in headaches, lethargy and sickness resulting from the significantly reduced intake of a variety of nutrients, including protein and calcium. Other critics have expressed concern over the potential that detox diets have for inducing an ‘unhealthy obsession with food’ among their followers.

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