Detox, as you will know, is short for detoxification. The idea is that toxins build up in your body due to poor diet, too much alcohol, lack of exercise, etc, and a detox diet gets rid of them.
Before we go on, you’ve probably heard that detoxing is supposed to be a waste of time, and that your liver and kidneys are quite capable of getting rid of the body’s toxins.
It is probably true that your body is capable of removing toxins, but why not help it along a little? This is where a detox diet comes in.
What’s involved in a detox diet plan?
The formula for a detox diet plan comes from the idea that your body is constantly exposed to harmful chemicals, or toxins, of various kinds.
The sources of these toxins include, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fats, cigarette and environmental smoke, chemicals used to process foods.
A detox diet tries to help the body by reducing the amount of processed food that we eat.
Alcohol should be avoided, and usually only water, fruit juice, or specially prepared drinks are taken.
You definitely shouldn’t smoke during a detox because cigarettes smoke is nothing but toxins.
By trying not to put these sources of toxins into your body for a period of time you give it a chance to recover a little.
Detox diets often taper off towards the end
The most effective detox diet plans usually start off being fairly strict about what you can eat and drink, but become a little more relaxed in the later stages.
This is important because you don’t want to finish your detox diet and go back to normal. It’s much better to establish new habits in what you eat and drink to improve your health for the future.
Feeling better within yourself as a result of following a detox diet plan will hopefully encourage you to keep it up, which is really the aim.
How long should a detox diet last?
Shorter detox diets plans can make it more difficult to maintain, and the longer you follow the plan the more likely it is you will develop new, healthier, diet habits.
However, sometimes a short detox diet is just what we need. For example, after the holidays you can feel pretty sick and boated and a seven day detox diet will help you recover.
In this case you might just want to get “back to normal” after the holiday blow-out. A couple of weeks of holiday food and drink can establish bad habits, and the short detox provides a break before you go back to your normal routine.
Hopefully your normal routine is fairly healthy, but even if it isn’t even a short detox diet will help you get back to it.
Losing weight on a detox diet plan
Often the main aim of a detox diet is to lose some weight. Being overweight can make us feel bad, so in addition to the feel-good benefits of a detox diet we will also feel better if we lose some weight.
With the shorter detox diets I mentioned the aim might be to lose you excess holiday weight. This can often be done fairly quickly, and the short diet stops the gradual post-holiday weight build-up that sometimes happens.
For greater weight-loss a longer detox diet will be required. It’s not safe to lose too much weight too quickly, so a gradual approach is better for your health. It also means that you get time to establish new diet and exercise habits, so you are more likely to keep the weight off in the long-term.