Health & Medicine

Detox diets are all the rage. But are they good for you and your health?

Kira Litras
Kira Litras

It’s 2018, and many Americans have begun to make changes to improve themselves in the new year.

According to a 2017 survey, about 20 percent of Americans made resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier. While some may reach success, many fall prey to dieting scams toting quick fixes that involve restarting the metabolism and using detox diets.

The most popular forms of detox diets include a few days to a week of either fruit juice, specialty drinks or over-the-counter supplements that claim to cleanse the body of harmful toxins ingested in the food we eat.

These diets are most often created and marketed by professionals without nutrition credentials, and often the contents of the detox supplements have not been extensively researched or approved as safe by the FDA. Harmful toxins are continuously being removed from our bodies with the help of the liver, so specialty detox diets are unnecessary.

Instead of trying out the newest detox diet craze, here are some tactics you can use to promote a healthy metabolism fully capable of detoxifying your body:

▪  Keep a water bottle close by and drink plenty of water throughout the day to continuously cleanse the body.

▪  Eat more than five different fruits and vegetables per day in order to increase antioxidant intake and combat the toxins within the body.

▪  Increase fiber intake by eating whole grains, beans, lentils, avocado and most fruits and vegetables. These will help with bowel regularity and help the liver in eliminating toxic waste from the body.

▪  Limit processed and convenience foods, which add toxins to the body.

▪  Consider trying fermented foods like kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or probiotics that can support GI health by promoting good bacteria within the gut.

Rather than following a fad diet that promises to detoxify your body, follow an overall healthful diet pattern and trust your body to complete the detoxification process as it has been designed to do.

While nutrition and healthful eating can be confusing and seem complicated, registered dietitians are credentialed nutrition professionals who can answer nutrition-related questions and concerns you may have. Be sure to receive your nutrition recommendations from a registered dietitian.

Kira Litras is a clinical dietitian working at University of Kentucky HealthCare.