The most popular New Year’s resolution each and every year is to lose weight. After several months of over-indulgence in rich foods, many people find themselves battling the bulge. But as spring draws near, the time to get in shape and shed some pounds has arrived. Those considering a cleansing diet should weigh the pros and cons before beginning.
Turning to a cleansing, or detox, diet after a period of unhealthy eating may seem like a good idea. These types of diets have become quite popular in recent years, and many are endorsed by celebrities who routinely detox to look svelte and feel good. Cleansing diets typically involve restricting food and beverage choices to a few different options and eliminating certain foods, notably dairy products, some types of grains, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. The benefits range from clearer skin to weight loss to reduced symptoms of certain health ailments.
As with any type of diet, it is best to consult with a physician before beginning a cleansing diet. After speaking with your physician, consider the pros and cons before making a final decision.
* Reduced bodily toxins: While there is no scientific proof that cleansing diets actually rid the body of harmful microorganisms, the nature of these diets suggests that cleansing may take place. Many of the diets concentrate on eating natural, whole fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water and fruit juices. The increase in vegetable fiber helps to flush out the digestive system, and the influx in liquid consumption can cause you to visit the bathroom more frequently, ridding the body of substances in the blood and urine. Eating organic foods will reduce the consumption of chemical pesticides and preservatives, which can have various benefits on the body.
* Weight loss: One reason people are drawn to detox diets is the potential to lose weight. Restricting certain foods will result in reduced caloric intake, particularly if you’re moving away from high-fat foods to fruits and vegetables. A certain amount of water weight also will come off, which is a temporary benefit to a detox diet. If a healthy eating plan is implemented after the short-term cleansing diet, it may be possible to keep the weight off permanently.
* Indifference to once-loved foods: After one week on a restricted diet, you may no longer crave the foods you thought you needed on a daily basis. You may actually find that certain junk food is no longer appealing. The diet may serve as a catalyst for a change in eating habits.
* More energy: Some people report that cleansing the body gives them more energy from the natural foods they are eating.
* Nutrition deficiencies: Some doctors argue that a detox diet is not as healthy as it sounds because it can lead to health problems resulting from nutrition deficiencies. By limiting the foods you eat, you may not be getting all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function and repair itself.
* Changes in metabolic rate: If the goal from a cleansing diet is to lose weight, restricting food intake could backfire. That’s because if the body feels it is being starved by a lack of eating, it could actually go into a “power-saving mode,” just like your computer or phone does. Your metabolism slows down to conserve the amount of fat stored you have. Therefore, eating less may actually not cause any weight loss. Or it may lead to binge eating after the cleanse.
* Feeling unhealthy: Although the goal is to have more energy and have a body that feels good, some side effects of a detox diet could be off-putting. Fatigue, confusion, dizziness, headaches, and general malaise may occur from calorie or food restriction. These symptoms may abate when you include more foods in your daily diet.
* Potential development of unhealthy habits: It may be possible to develop an eating disorder if the results of a cleansing diet are positive. Instead of engaging in the diet for a limited period of time, you may be tempted to continue in a strict restriction of food, which may be unhealthy in the long run.
It is important to research a cleansing diet and weigh all of its advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision. Talking to a doctor can also help people decide if such a diet is right for them.