Detox diet and weight loss

The reason most people go on a detox diet is to lose some weight. The amount of weight loss required can vary from people who are seriously obese, to someone who wants to lose a little weight so they look and feel better.

The reason people put on extra weight is because they take in more calories than they burn. It may be that they have a low metabolic rate, so they burn calories slower, but the it’s still the imbalance between calories in and calories out that leads to the weight gain.

A detox diet is designed to reduce the calories in so the balance tips in favour of calories burned. This works even if you don’t do any more exercise (although it’s a good idea if you can).

If you’ve ever seen the inspiration film, “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”, you know how effective a detox diet and additional exercise can be. You can watch the extended trailer below.

If you reduce the amount you eat in an attempt to lose weight, you may lose weight but you may also cause other problems.

People who go on a calorie restricted diet sometimes just stop eating in desperation and become deficient in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It’s common for people on a weight-loss diet to feel a little light-headed because due to hunger an low blood sugar, but serious malnutrition is a real danger.

It’s important to note at this point that the types of diet leading to obesity in the first place should be considered malnutrition too. It used to be that malnutrition was caused by not enough to eat, but now it’s too much of the wrong things to eat.

But I digress. Let’s get on…

What’s in a detox diet?

A detox diet normally requires you to increase the amount of water you drink (link to other post). It will also involve not drinking alcohol or caffeine, cutting out red meat, sugar and salt, and often dairy and wheat-based foods.

What is it about all the foods-to-avoid above? Well, opinions differ, but I’ll tell you what I think about it.

Alcohol is a toxin, now doubt about that. It muddles your thinking and weakens your resolve. If you drink alcohol while you are following a detox diet plan you will definitely fail. You will be more likely to eat the wrong things while drinking alcohol, and having a hangover makes you want to comfort eat (all the wrong things).

I’m not sure about caffeine. Caffeine is a psychoactive substance that affects the way your brain works. While you are detoxing it is best if you don’t consume substances that do that. On the other hand though, caffeine stimulates your fat cells to breakdown fat.

So, if fat loss is your main aim, maybe drinking drinks containing caffeine is a good idea. Seems to me the jury is still out on this one. However, detox purists always seem to insist that no caffeine is consumed.

What to eat on a detox diet

A typical detox diet usually involves eating large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables. People like Dr Joel Fuhrman promote a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, both for general health and weight loss.

According to Dr Fuhrman, eating a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables inevitably leads to weight loss. These foods, especially vegetables, fill your stomach up so you don’t feel hungry. These are low-calorie foods, so you consume far fewer calories and you lose weight.

Juicing as part of a detox diet

Eating a large quantity of vegetables may not be very appetising for a lot of people, so juicing may be the answer.

A juicing machine extracts the juice from fruit and vegetables and leaves the pulp behind. This is different from a blender, which mixes the juice and pulp together as it blends.

The juice produced by a juicer contains soluble fiber, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are very beneficial for our health. The soluble fiber can help to protect us from heart disease, and the vitamins and minerals help with the body’s metabolic processes.

Until recently I didn’t really understand how enzymes in fruit and vegetable juice could help us, since enzymes are proteins that would be broken down by the digestive system. It’s claimed that these enzymes can help to digest nutrients in the juice and other foods consumed with them, so that they can be absorbed more easily.

Since the pulp left behind by juicers contains dietary fiber, I’m a little wary of discarding it. Some people do eat the pulp, but most don’t seem to. I’ll have to look into that one a little further.

Detox and lose weight

Finding a detox diet that appeals to you will help you to stick with it. Detox diets appear to be very effective for losing some of your excess weight at the start of a diet. The detox process will make you feel better mentally, and physically, and losing even a small amount of weight quickly will inspire you to carry on.

Excess body fat has been linked with a number of health problems, some of them very serious. So losing excess body fat will almost certainly improve your health.

A detox diet is the perfect way to start preparing your mind and body for losing excess weight.

Detox diet – how do you start?

A detox diet plan involves a change in your eating and drinking habits, usually over a short period of time.

The result will hopefully be that you feel a lot better and lose a little weight. Detox diet plans that you might read about can last for 3, 5, 7, 10, or some other number of days.

The long-term aim is usually to change your eating and drinking habits going forward to maintain any weight loss and continue to feel better.

How to start your detox diet?

Since there are so many detox diet plans out there, where do you start?

I came across a short video featuring David Wolfe that explains what you are trying to do with a detox diet, and what you can expect.

Check the video out below:

Drink more water

The first thing that David suggests in the video is drinking more water. He says that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should drink water. This is before you have a coffee or any breakfast.

The idea behind this is that drinking more water helps your body to rid itself of toxins that build up.

A detox diet aims to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering your body and increase removal of these toxins. Drinking more water is intended to help with this.

There are foods you can eat that will also speed up the removal of toxins from your body. These foods help to keep the toxins moving out of your body through your bowels, and prevent them being reabsorbed back into your blood.

Detox through your kidneys and bowels

I’ve seen lots of detox plans that aim to remove toxins from your body through your skin.

These plans have their place in removing stubborn waste chemicals from within your skin. This should help to make your skin look clearer and healthier.

As a starting point though, it is probably best to detox through your body’s main waste removal systems.

That means getting rid of the waste toxins via your kidneys and bowels. This should enable you to remove these toxins from your body as quickly as possible, which is desirable when starting a detox diet.

Drinking more water is intended to help your kidneys remove toxins from your blood, and excrete them via the urinary system.

Eating foods that hold on to toxins and help to “pull” them out of your body will speed up removal via your bowels.

Start your detox diet

So, to start your detox diet David Wolfe suggests drinking more water right away. The time to start doing this is first thing in the morning.

The next thing to do is start thinking about what you eat.

Look at the food you eat and think about how healthy it actually is. By  doing this you will start to build your awareness of what you are putting into your body.

Once you start to think about what you are actually eating you can pick on of the detox diet plans to suit your goals at this point in time.

Is your aim to lose weight, to feel happier, for your skin to look better, or something else?

Once you get to this point you are under way and ready to start your detox diet plan.