Detox diets are increasingly becoming popular strategies to facilitate toxin elimination and weight loss. Their promotion has led to the development of numerous detox diets and drinks. Many people believe that using these detox products can help them lose weight and improve their overall health. But is this the case? One can only answer this question after understanding the detoxification process. In this article, we will look at the detox concept. We will be looking at segments such as what detoxing entails, what comes out of your body when you detox, and signs you need to detox. Take a look!
What Is To Detox?
Detox or detoxification is the process to help your body get rid of toxins. The belief is that getting rid of toxins will help improve your overall health and even promote weight loss (3).
Science denotes that the body is well-equipped to detoxify on its own. Even so, there are people who still follow these diets and use these products.
The most common detox diet programs involve juice fasting, strict vegan eating plans, liquid diets, and supplementation. (3). In addition, there are detox diets that target different organs. For example, a kidney detox cleanse.
This cleanse may involve consuming specific herbs and foods that supposedly trigger the kidney to eliminate toxins (9). For example, take a look at these recipe samples that may be included in a kidney cleanse plan (8):
- Smoothie made of one beetroot, two apples, half a lemon juice, half a cucumber, and one inch grated ginger.
- One cup of almond milk, one frozen banana, one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, half a cup of spinach, and a quarter cup of mixed berries.
- One large mixed green salad with tofu or grilled chicken, half a red onion, one cup of chopped apple, and a quarter cup of grapes.
- One cup of cooked brown rice, half a cup of cooked beans, a quarter cup of green beans, a quarter cup of chopped carrots, and one teaspoon of minced garlic.
- An eight-ounce smoothie prepared with one cup of coconut water, one cup of blueberries, half a cup of mango, one cup of kale, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and one tablespoon of ground flaxseed.
- Vegetable soup prepared with one yellow onion, one can of kidney beans, a quarter cup of parsley, two teaspoons of minced garlic, two celery stalks, one sweet potato, one cup of carrots, one cup of tomato, and four cups of low-sodium vegetable broth.
You may also follow a colon detox diet or consume specific teas to help in flushing out the large intestine (2). Similarly, if you think your liver needs a detox, you may follow a liver cleanse to assist in flushing out toxins in your liver (1).
Do not attempt any of these eating plans without talking to your doctor first.
Read More: Celery Juice Detox: Does It Work?
Do Detox Diets Work?
After learning that the body can detoxify on its own, you may be questioning the effectiveness of detox diets. According to Medical News Today, most detox diets have no scientific proof supporting their efficacy or safety (3).
Medical News Today also pinpoints the following critical points about detox diets:
- There are a variety. You cannot exhaust the list of detox diets, whether solid or liquid diets, available online. They range from plant-based detoxes, juice to smoothie detoxes. Talk to your doctor or dietitian to determine if a detox diet is appropriate for you.
- A couple are safe. Although there is no clinical evidence supporting their safety, Medical News Today states that some are safe as they are only followed for a few days (3). Again, some encourage healthy eating habits, especially those that are plant-based.
- They can be costly. Some detox diets can be expensive, mainly those that require dietary supplements and herbs (3).
- Some can encourage the use of dangerous practices. Medical News Today also states that some detox diets may promote harmful practices like a coffee enema. This is a practice where an individual is required to administer coffee through their rectum (3). This practice has severe side effects, including rectal burns, rectal perforation, and electrolyte imbalance (3).
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The Detoxification Process/System
The scientific definition of detoxification is the body’s natural process involving primarily the kidneys, skin, and liver to remove waste products and toxins (4). We are more exposed to more toxins in today’s generation than before, which is why we need to pay more attention to detoxification.
Experts acknowledge that the primary means for toxin elimination are diet improvement, hydration, and supplementation (4). However, note that the experts emphasize diet improvement and not a detox diet. For them, the secret to getting a thorough detox is eating a nutritious diet and drinking water instead of using one of the highly publicized detox diets and drinks.
Typically, your liver makes up the detoxification system as it represents the body’s primary filtration system (4). It is responsible for converting toxins into waste products and cleansing your blood (4). Your skin is another part of the detox system as it helps get rid of waste substances through the skin via sweat.
Kidneys are the other organs that make up the detox system. They are responsible for removing toxins, waste, and excess water from the body by excreting them in your urine (9).
Read More: Dandelion Tea Detox: Benefits, Side Effects, And How To Boost Your Body’s Detox Functions
What Comes Out Of Your Body When You Detox?
Again, we emphasize that the best detox cleanse is initiated by your body on its own. Through its natural detox processes, your body removes and excretes the following:
Urea is the number one waste product removed from your body by the kidney. According to Medical News Today, urea is a byproduct of protein breakdown (8).
Uric acid is another waste product removed by the kidney when the body detoxifies. It results from the breakdown of nucleic acids (8).
Ammonia is another waste product removed by the liver and converted to urea. Urea is then removed from the body by the kidneys through urine (7).
Creatinine is an unwanted product of metabolism that is removed from the blood by the kidneys during detox by glomerular filtration or proximal tubular secretion (7).
When your body detoxifies, it also gets rid of industrial toxins like heavy metals and some new-to-nature molecules (7).
Detoxifying also helps your body get rid of other toxins like unwanted products of hemoglobin metabolism and toxins made water-soluble by phase two in the liver (5). In addition, the detoxification process may also help flush out hormone metabolites and nutrients or foods consumed in excess like salt and vitamins C and B (7).
Excess Sebum And Dead Skin Cells
These are some things that will come out of your body when you use skin detox products. Most detox products for the skin are merely skincare products.
These products can help you remove excess sebum and dead skin cells that may clog your skin pores. However, be very careful when purchasing skincare products, as some may contain harmful products. Talk to your dermatologist first and let them recommend the best care products for your skin based on your skin type and sensitivity.
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Significant Signs You Need To Detox
Although your body detoxifies by itself, it may send you some messages that you need to adopt cleansing strategies like drinking more water. Some signs you need to watch out for include:
- Fatigue. This is one of the signs that your body is in dire need of a detox. You can naturally cleanse through strategies such as drinking more water. Fatigue may also be a result of many other things, so talk to your doctor if hydration doesn’t help.
- Disrupted Sleeping Patterns. Fatigue goes hand in hand with disrupted sleeping patterns. You may be fatigued because you aren’t getting enough sleep. In such a case, you can naturally help cleanse the kidneys through hydration and dietary changes (8). These dietary changes include avoiding processed foods, refined carbs, sugary foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, high sodium foods, and possibly even animal proteins like pork and beef (8).
- Infrequent Bowel Movements. An irregular bowel movement may result in the buildup of waste and toxins in your GI tract. Additionally, it also may be a symptom of slowed digestion alongside constipation and straining (6). Your liver gets rid of some waste products through your GI tract. Drinking more water and eating fiber-rich foods can help get things moving again.
- Skin Issues. The body may also be telling you of congested skin with toxins when you start having a break-out. You could have acne, rosacea, or even dry skin. Talk to your dermatologist about these symptoms and how to address them.
The Bottom Line
Detox is a natural process initiated and conducted by the body on its own. What comes out of your body when you detox? Numerous waste products such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, excess sebum, dead skin cells, and industrial toxins. Your body can signal you it needs to detox with signs such as fatigue, poor sleep quality, infrequent bowel movements, and skin issues. Make sure you talk to your doctor before you follow any detox diet.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Can a Detox or Cleanse Help Your Liver? (2020, webmd.com)
- Colon Cleanse (2020, webmd.com)
- ‘Detox diets’: Does science support the claims? (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Detoxification and Biotransformation (2020, linkspringer.com)
- Effect of toxic trace element detoxification, body fat reduction following four-week intake of the Wellnessup diet: a three-arm, randomized clinical trial (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Lazy bowel: What to know (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Kidney Dysfunction Epidemic, Part 1: Causes (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What do the kidneys do? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about kidney cleanses (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)