Detox – Fact or Fiction

Look in the shelves of any average health food store and you will see so many products claiming to help detox the body, cleanse this and cleanse that and leaving a more radiant, energetic you. But do they work? Are they worth the money you paid? Are they just clever marketing?

“Extreme detox diets are not nutritionally balanced,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, MPH, RD, a doctor and registered dietitian. “But when it comes to dieting, there is no real scientific basis for detoxing,”

“When you’re not getting enough protein or calories, you can lose muscle mass and experience dangerously low blood sugar, which can cause you to pass out and create electrolyte imbalances that, in extreme cases, can lead to a heart attack,” says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).

Detox is a term generally reserved for recovering drug addicts or alcoholics, not for the fit specimens us runners tend to be. If we are eating clean and healthy food, what do we really need to detox from? Sure there are many sources of toxins that we have to contend with, like pesticides, pollution, chemicals in the water supply etc. But our bodies come ready equipped with it’s own detox system to filter this kind of stuff out. So does it really need help?

It’s almost like saying your feet aren’t broken, there is nothing structurally wrong with them, but let’s put them in a shoe that provides extra support so they don’t need to work as hard.

We have evolved over millions of years to eat a certain way and live a certain way with short breaks in between eating meals. These breaks can vary depending on the season with Winter having longer breaks of fasting compared to Summer where food is generally far more available. This is the way nature has intended us to be. It didn’t provide us with tablets, shakes or special diets to create this detox.

Many people swear by these detoxes as they lose weight, feel energized and look more vibrant. But is this really because they have cut out more junk food from their diet, lost some Kg’s that they have been carrying around for too long and given their body a few extra vitamins they may have been missing? Possibly, but the real issue here is that these systems don’t teach a person to eat well or create good dietary habits. Most people go back tot heir old ways thinking they have detoxed, so everything is OK and end up worse off a month or so down the track.

The best way to detox, is to detox your cupboards of all the foods that are causing the problem in the first place. Soft drinks, processed cereals and biscuits, artificially sweetened products, alcohol and cigarettes while increasing the consumption of good foods. Foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, free range animal products like meats and eggs. Combine this with a healthy exercise regimen and detox will be a word you no longer need to be concerned about. As you won’t have anything to detox from!

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll

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