I’ve been following these detox diets, because, frankly, they seemed to me to be fairly nuts. So I asked our “Eating” expert Stefanie, a nutritionist with a Masters of Science degree from Columbia University, to expound after reading an article that confirmed my concern …
“Detox Diets Can be Dangerous”*
According to the London Independent, Detox diets can “do severe damage to your health.” “[These] diets are based on the theory that toxins from food build up in the body and have to be purged through extreme reductions in food, a heavy dose of supplements, or a large intake of water. Such diets, doctors say, can cause dangerous imbalances in the body, and can trigger severe reactions.
Note from Snoety: These diets go by a number of names, “detox,” “hydration,” etc. but what seems to be the appealing idea is that they say they help you get rid of all the poisons you’ve ingested by cleaning out your system. A detox diet can be healthy (see below), but I’m often concerned by the number of people who are taken in by so-called nutrition experts who “prescribe” a diet and then provide you with very expensive “supplements” that must accompany their plan.
STEFANIE’S RESPONSE (and her recommendation for a HEALTHY DETOX DIET):
Working with many people whose health is compromised in one way or another, I often turn to a simple one week food-based cleanse to take the toxins out of their diet and reduce digestive stress. There is no juicing, no extreme reduction in food intake. It represents a clean way of eating for one week; no fads here. Although the cleanse is tailored to meet each client’s specific needs — and most of my clients do have very specific needs — I’ve put together a more generalized print-out-able version to give you an idea of what a healthy detox plan looks like. This is a diet you may choose to follow; however, please consult your physician before taking this on. For example, if you are on certain medications, there are items (like grapefruit) on this diet that you should not be eating as certain foods may negate the effects of your medication prescribed by your doctor. So, if you want to give it a shot, please do. Just make sure to review with your health care provider before doing so.
* The Week, Health & Science, Health scare of the week, “The damage ‘detox’ can do,” August 8, 2008, pg 22
Condensed article from The Independent as written in The Week:
“Beware of extreme diets presented as a means of “detoxifying” your body, says the London Independent. They could do severe damage to your health. Dawn Page, a 52-year-old British mother of two, was advised by a “nutritional therapist and life coach” to go on the “Amazing Hydration Diet” in hopes of losing a few pounds and “detoxifying” her body. After a few days of eating little and drinking large amounts of water, she became ill, but the “therapist” told her it was “all part of the detox process.” Several days later, Page suffered a grand mal seizure that ended up damaging her brain permanently. She had consumed too much water and not enough salt, disrupting her body’s natural balance and causing the brain to swell. “Detox” diets are based on the theory that toxins from food build up in the body and have to be purged through extreme reductions in food, a heavy dose of supplements, or a large intake of water. Such diets, doctors say, can cause dangerous imbalances in the body, and can trigger severe reactions. Hospital dietitian Catherine Collins says that once people have treated their bodies irresponsibly, hospitals end up having to “deal with the consequences.” “