Info on Detoxing
Posted in Nourishment for the Body » Lose It on Tuesday, April 6, 2010

 

 
 
 
  From the Lake County Health Department                     Date:              April 6, 2010
                                                                                                  Contact:         Leslie Piotrowski
                                                                                                                         (847) 377-8055
                                                                                                                         Tiffany Bronk
                                                                                                                         (847) 377-8099
 
Detox Diets – Essential or Detrimental to Your Health
The detox industry declares that we need to detox because we live in this polluted world filled with chemicals in our air, food, and water.  These programs claim that detoxification will rid your body of disease, clean your colon, heal your liver and kidneys, and jump start your weight loss by removing toxins that have built up in your system.  Toby Smithson, a registered dietitian with the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, provides some tips on detoxification.
 
Smithson states that our bodies are constantly detoxifying. The toxins the detox industry is referring to are called free radicals. Free radicals will react with anything in their path including your body’s cells and genes. Luckily, our bodies have an antioxidant system to defend us against free radicals. Our bodies make antioxidants and we consume them in the nutritious foods that we eat, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Also, regular exercise has been shown to enhance your body’s ability to get rid of free radicals.
 
If your body has more free radicals compared to antioxidants, then your body is likely in a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.  A blood test can be ordered to check your oxidative stress level. However, there is not enough research to determine whether or not detox diets are beneficial to help prevent or reverse oxidative stress.  Also, not all detox diets are made equal. Smithson says to be cautious if the diet:
·         Requires fasting or less than 800 calories a day
·         Advertises a weight loss greater than 2 lbs per week
·         Eliminates an entire food group
·         Prescribes herbs without supportive clinical research studies showing that they are beneficial to health
The body needs calories, vitamins, minerals, and water every day. Certain nutrients cannot be stored in the body and need to be replenished daily. When you fast, your body believes that a famine has occurred and begins to slow your metabolism. Your body burns fewer calories in order to survive longer on stored fat and lean muscle tissue.  
 
According to the American Dietetic Association position paper on weight management, very low calorie diets are not recommended. Consuming less than 800 calories per day may cause a greater weight loss in the short-term, but there is no difference in weight loss compared to moderate reduction in calories in the long-term. Also, these very low calorie diets are nutritionally inadequate and can lead to gout, increased risk of gallstones, dry skin, fatigue, anemia, thinning hair, and menstrual irregularities.   Be wary of herbal recommendations, because supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Even what seems to be a harmless herbal supplement may still interfere with the effectiveness of medications such as heart medication and birth control. 
 
Being active in your health is important. Just be sure to make informed decisions and talk to your healthcare provider. There are no magic pills that will rid your body of toxins. The keys to health are: eliminate tobacco, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, limit alcohol consumption, and take time to de-stress regularly.
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