Detoxification and weight loss:
Does it Really Work?
There are many dieticians, nutritionists, and health food junkies who contend that detoxification diets are the ultimate body cleansing tool.
It is true that detoxification diets may contain a great deal of healthy ingredients and can lead to weight loss. But do they really work to cleanse the inside of the body?
The never-ending arguments, both for and against detox, go on. But it has never been established, or concrete evidence provided, whether or not detoxification is good for the body’s systems.
Although it may seem clear from the evidence that is presented, much of it may possibly be circumstantial. Here are some reasons to doubt whether a total body detoxification truly works the way that most people say it does:
What Is Detoxification?
Detoxification basically means blood cleansing. Impurities in the blood are first filtered and then excreted by the liver. Removing these toxins and purifying the blood is done through the kidneys, lungs, intestines, lymph and skin.
Detoxification – Is It Necessary?
Many people contend that there are many benefits to the process of detoxification for the body. Some of those benefits, they claim, include a healthier immune system and longer life.
They also claim detoxification reduces the risk of contracting various ailments such as the common cold. These ailments, they say, are more likely to occur more frequently in those who do not perform detoxification.
However, the same rings true that practicing a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise, leads to weight loss. This also helps maintain a healthy immune system, reducing the risk of contracting various ailments such as the common cold.
Indeed, many of the people that perform body detoxification systems already practice a healthy lifestyle. So, many would not know if their healthy bodies come from detoxification itself or the overall healthy lifestyle they lead.
We have debated about whether the benefits of detoxification have really come from the detox process. Now let’s look at some other ways that are probably as effective as detoxification (and easier).
Studies have shown that taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement will help better, over time, to improve your memory. These studies also show they will boost your immune system, and help maintain an overall healthier body. On the other hand, the advocates of detoxification contend that people can experience these things through their diet.
However, government food agencies and health authorities in most countries have continued to advocate for a healthier lifestyle. Their campaign is to make people more aware of the dangers of obesity and its cost to their health.
It also refers to the ever-rising cost of treating obesity and health problems directly related to it. Treating the ever-spiraling number of patients developing type-2 diabetes due to obesity, is becoming costlier day-by-day. If this trend continues, the cost of treating obesity and related diseases will eventually become unsustainable
They also contend that individuals can experience just as healthy a lifestyle as detoxification if they were to eat the right foods. There are a number of things that can be done to improve your health and lifestyle. Some are listed below:
Increase water intake
There are differing opinions on how much water you should drink daily. The main consensus of opinion seems to be 6-8 glass daily, more if you can manage it.
Personally, I believe each person is an individual and their body will tell them when they are becoming dehydrated. Experiencing a feeling of thirst will normally tell you’re becoming dehydrated and require fluids, preferably water. The amount of fluid intake will also vary according to sex, age, height and weight.
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends a daily fluid intake of 3.7 liters a day for men, and 2.7 liters a day for women. Most of the food we eat contain fluid in some form, and supply around 20% of the daily intake. Vegetables, and many fruits, contain high fluid content.
Finding it hard to drink the recommend daily amount of water? While water is always preferable, there are other types of fluids to help maintain your daily intake. In order of preference:
What more can be said of water? Whether from the tap or bottled, the #1 in keeping us hydrated. It contains zero calories and doesn’t damage your teeth as it is acid-free. Also a major factor in keeping the kidneys flushed and in good working order.
Finding it difficult to drink ordinary water all day? Then infuse it with a combination of various fruits, and herbs such as basil and mint. Better still, treat yourself to an Infuser Water Bottle, Amazon do them at around 30 US Dollars, roughly 22 GBP. They come with full instructions and a handy recipe book, and no, I’m not an Amazon affiliate.
Tea (Preferably Decaffeinated)
Green, chamomile, herbal, black, hot or cold, it doesn’t matter; tea is almost as good as water in keeping us hydrated. It is also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants
Milk (Full-Fat or Semi-Skimmed)
Used in moderation, milk is excellent in keeping you hydrated. High in essential nutrients Calcium, Protein and B-Complex vitamins. Milk also remains in the body longer than water, helping to keep up energy levels for longer. There is a downside though: milk is high in calories. Excessive consumption could lead to weight gain.
Lactose Intolerant? Apart from Soy, which the nearest to dairy milk, there are many other lactose free milks you can try.
There are many to go into detailed descriptions of each one. Here is a list of some may try:
- Coconut-Based Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Almond Milk
- Peanut Milk
- Hazelnut Milk
- Rice Milk
- Oat Milk
- Goat Milk
There are many websites on the net where you can find more information on all the above.
Not exactly a drink, but while eating watermelon, 92% of fluid in the flesh is retained in the body. Watermelon is also rich in Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Magnesium.
Mainly used by athletes who need to hydrate quickly, or after a heavy workout in the gym. When running long distances or sports that demand a high level of physical input, the body perspires heavily. This perspiration contains electrolytes, that’s salt to you and me. The main hydrating power of sports drinks is the ability to replace that salt quickly.
Most brands of sports drinks contain high levels of sugars and carbohydrates. These help to boost energy levels after an intensive workout. Along with electrolytes replacing the sodium lost through sweating, hydration is quickly achieved.
With their high sugar and carbohydrate levels, avoid sports drinks if trying to lose weight. Unless engaging in intensive workouts, it’s better to stick with water, it will do the job just as well!
Ones to Avoid
All dietary fluids will hydrate, some just better than others. Here’s a list of ones to be avoided whenever possible:
Beer may hydrate in the short term, but it certainly won’t last long. All alcoholic drinks soak up water from your tissues, the stronger the alcohol content the more water is absorbed. More frequent visits to the ladies or gents result in even more water leaving your body.
Unless you are a lifetime teetotaler, most of us, at some time or other, have overdone the alcohol for various reasons.
How many can say, after over-indulging, they’ve never experienced waking up the next morning thinking the roof’s fell in on them? Have never experienced a splitting headache and raging thirst?, A mouth that feels as though it’s been chewing cotton wool, and a tongue that looks like it’s been painted with off-white emulsion?
Wines and Spirits
Wines (particularly fortified ones) and Spirits (often referred to as hard liquor) should definitely be avoided.
Over-indulging in spirits, non-fortified or fortified will give you a worse hangover than beer due to their alcoholic content. Most wines are are between 11-12% unless fortified, these are between 16-17%. Spirits are the most potent with an average alcoholic content of 40%. Anything over 10% rapidly speeds up the process of dehydration, so stick with beer (4-5%) if you can,
Not only are alcoholic drinks to be avoided when detoxing, they should be avoided when trying to lose weight. All alcoholic drink are loaded with calories.
Beer 500ml. Depending on its alcoholic strength and brewer, anything between 218 and 350 calories.
Wine, depending on the type of grape and vintner, 175ml non-fortified around 135 calories. Fortified wine 50ml, around 75 calories.
Spirits (hard liquor) 25ml, around 60 calories. Cream liqueurs 25ml, around 65 calories.
All the above are only guides. Measures and strengths will vary depending on country.
Avoiding a Hangover
Has anybody found a cure for a hangover? Not that I’m aware of, medically approved or otherwise. And most certainly not the proverbial “hair of the dog”. All this will do, after a brief hydration, will return you to a worse hangover. Can you avoid a hangover? As one wit once said “The best way to avoid a hangover is stay drunk”.
Seriously, though, the best way to avoid a hangover is don’t over-indulge. If, for any reason, you have heavily over-indulged, if you can, drink at least a pint of water before retiring. This will help replace some of the lost fluids and help reduce the intensity of the hangover.
Otherwise, take a couple of paracetamol for the headache, along with plenty of water. This will help you gradually hydrate and begin to feel better. The easiest way to know if you’re fully hydrated is the color of your urine. It should be pale with a slight tinge of yellow if fully hydrated. If it’s a thick, dark orange color, you need to keep drinking more water.
Processed, Packaged and Frozen Foods
(Apart from Vegetables and Fruit)
As mentioned earlier in this article, the above are high in cholesterol, hydrogenated fats (trans fatty acids).
This, combined with a healthy calorie-controlled weight loss and exercise program, will help reduce obesity and related health problems.
making the change
By changing to a more healthy lifestyle your heart will become stronger. Good cholesterol will increase and bad cholesterol decrease reducing the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Less ailments will be experienced, and a healthier immune system can be achieved.
So, is there a difference between the facets of this type of a healthy lifestyle and the detoxification process? I believe there is definitely something to be learned when it comes to detoxification and practicing a healthier lifestyle.
Chances are that if you continue to eat right, exercise, and take vitamin and mineral supplements if necessary, you will be just as healthy, if not better and healthier, than those who advocate total body detoxification.
It is definitely worth giving some serious thought to, and anyone considering using a detox program should check into and research.
detox or healthy eating?
Regardless of whichever one you choose, first, you have to reduce toxins in your body. If you smoke cut down on cigarettes, better still, QUIT! Reduce your alcohol (unless teetotal), and coffee intake.
Stop eating foods such as fast foods, they’re high in saturated fats, and refined sugars (cola and ketchup contain a lot).
These all act as toxins in your body and as a hindrance to your healing development.
Other factors that should be taken into account are the use of household cleaners that are chemical-based. Personal health care products such as shampoos, toothpaste, deodorants and cleansers should also be reduced. These chemicals are absorbed by the body and will never really be fully eliminated unless care is taken in their use.
decided on detox?
There are many ways to detox the body, some are listed below. It’s up to you to choose which suits your lifestyle and preference. Starting out on the detoxification diets does not have to be difficult. But it does take hard work, dedication, and discipline to stick with the regimen and diets of the detoxification systems.
Drinking only the juice of fresh fruits and vegetables is an effective way of discharging toxins. Carrot, spinach, celery, cabbage, apple, pineapple and cranberry (avoid citrus fruits), are some of the most popular juices. They also provide loads of nutrients as well as enzymes to lessen the intensity of the cleansing process to an easy stage.
Apart from the detoxification process, fast weight loss is the main benefit from juice fasting. I, personally, wouldn’t recommend it for more than 1-3 days. A person may drop 30-40 lbs on a 30-day juice fast.
You are, by now, probably aware that health professionals recommend a gradual healthy weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week. They will, in all probability, also tell you losing excessive amounts of weight per week is extremely unhealthy and dangerous. Excessive weight loss should only be undertaken under medical supervision and careful assessment.
Water fasting isn’t for everyone and can be a tricky one and too involved to go into in-depth here. You can find many sites on the net that deal exclusively with water fasting. Also, there are many factors to be taken into account:
- Current weight and gender.
- How you approach the fast by gradually reducing food intake before and gradually increasing it after the fast.
- Your mental approach to how you deal with the discomfort water fasting can create in its early days. The level of discomfort and its intensity will depend on the amount of toxicity in your body.
- Deciding on the length of fast and how often.
These are some of the things that need to be taken into account before embarking on a water fast.
Known by many of its advocates as the only “true fast”, as no food of any description is allowed. Only pure water is consumed during a water fast.
Only water that has gone through some form of purification should be used. Better still, distilled water is ideal for water fasting as it binds to toxins but is not recommend for everyday use. One to two quarts should be consumed for every day of the fast.
True water fasting, as it contains zero calories, is ideal as an aid to weight loss. It not only eliminates obstruction and aids in self-healing, but also lets the digestive tract and organs to rest completely. This allows all of your energy to self-repair and strengthen damaged organs eliminating toxin build-ups.
Change in Diet
As you are now aware, a change of lifestyle and a more healthy diet is essential to become healthier. A diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables can become a safe way to detox. Packaged and fast foods are high in fats and sugar and should be eliminated in maintaining good health.
Widely used by many cultures, the sauna has become a regular part of detox. A great method of removing chemicals build-ups in fat cells, saunas are usually combined with diet, exercise and nutritional supplements.
Skin brushing is another gentle way of detoxing. Used with a combination of diet, exercise and nutritional supplements, it removes old skin cells. It also stimulates the lymph system and draws out toxins through the skin. A dry skin brush made of soft vegetable bristles should be used. These can be purchased from most good health and beauty stores,
Before taking a shower, start with your feet, lightly brushing them in a circular motion.Gradually move upwards towards the chest area for a minute or two.
Breathing exercises, as practiced in yoga, thoroughly oxygenates the bloodstream. This, in turn, increases energy levels and improves the body’s physical process. The many different positions lightly massage the internal organs and stimulate them to slowly discharge toxins.
Used by very many people throughout the world, and now popular in Western society and the United States.
Aromatherapy is a very old practice based on the principle of breathing in vapors and scents of certain aromas. These vapors and aromas will help the body rid itself of the toxins.
These specific aromas can usually be purchased at most health food and other grocery stores. Many will also give you advice on the various oils and fragrances used in aromatherapy.
One of the most relaxing uses of aromatherapy can be while giving yourself a hot bath. People believe that by adding the oils and vapors directly to the water, toxins in the body will leave. By soaking in the water, vapors, and oils are absorbed into the skin, as well as breathed in through the nose.
Aromatherapy definitely is an interesting alternative to following rigid detoxification methods. There are many all over the world who claim that it works just as well, if not better, than aromatherapy.
Acupuncture, like aromatherapy, was used in Eastern societies many centuries ago, and still is today. Now widely accepted in Western societies today as an alternative to conventional medicine. It is used in treating many common ailments and improving the health of the recipient.
Acupuncture is the science of placing needles in the skin. Apparently, t has something to do with the pressure points on the body and can be used as an alternative to detoxification. It is believed that the needles, placed in the right place, will be able to relax and detoxify the body.
There are all sorts of people who perform acupuncture on a regular basis. Many people contend that acupuncture is an excellent alternative to detoxification and its various methods of fasting. It avoids having to drink only natural juices or water for a whole week, which is what many detoxification methods require.
A healthy diets, whether for weight loss or otherwise, is far healthier than than a diet containing mainly fast and junk food.
Putting yourself on a healthy diet will probably benefit you more than any other detoxification method ever could. This is simply because you are not restricting yourself to what you can eat.
On the other hand, detoxification methods usually call upon the body to give up food for one or two days. This allows the need for pureed and blended juices to be digested.
are there easier ways to detox the body?
Yes, there are gentler and easier ways to detox your body. Here are some you can try out or incorporate them into different methods as part of your routine.
The detox cleansing methods listed above are just a guide to what they can do to improve your health. I hope they explain why it is necessary to understand how detox plays an important part in maintaining a healthy body. Also, the different ways on how to detox the body before you begin with the different programs.
Are there Alternatives to Detoxification Methods?
There are many diehards who insist that detoxification methods and programs are the only way to a healthy body. They maintain detoxification is essential in keeping your body clean of foreign substances and making yourself healthier.
However, there are plenty of ways to accomplish these same goals without going through specific rigorous and intense detoxification instructions. Even though detoxification methods have proven themselves effective, and thousands of people do adhere to them. Here are some other detoxification methods that you may or may not have thought about.
All in all, though, these are some definite alternative detoxification methods that truly work. Even though many people still engage in detoxification methods, it is certainly nice to know there are other alternatives available.
As ever, the final choice is yours, whatever you decide that suits you best, stick with it.
Just one word of warning! It’s no good sticking all week to whatever way you decide to detox then hitting the local bars on a Saturday night. By finishing up in fast food joints scoffing cheeseburgers and fries, you’ll undo all the good you have achieved in a week in a couple of hours.