Detoxification (detox) diets are more popular than ever.
These diets claim to clean the blood and eliminate harmful toxins from the body.
However, it is not entirely clear how they do this, what they’re supposed to eliminate and if they actually work.
This is a detailed review of detox diets and their health effects.
Detox diets are generally short-term dietary interventions designed to eliminate toxins from the body.
A typical detox diet involves a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices and water. Sometimes a detox also includes herbs, teas, supplements and colon cleanses or enemas.
This is claimed to:
Rest the organs by fasting. Stimulate the liver to get rid of toxins. Promote toxin elimination through feces, urine and sweat. Improve circulation. Provide the body with healthy nutrients.
Detox therapies are most commonly recommended because of exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment or diet. These include pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals and other harmful compounds.
These diets are also claimed to help with various health problems, including obesity, digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, allergies, bloating and chronic fatigue
There are many ways to do a detox diet, ranging from total starvation fasts and juicing to simpler food modifications.
Most detox diets involve at least one of the following (1):
Fasting for 1–3 days. Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, water and tea. Drinking only specific liquids, such as salted water or lemon juice. Eliminating foods high in heavy metals, contaminants and allergens. Taking supplements or herbs. Avoiding all allergenic foods, and then slowly reintroducing them. Using laxatives, colon cleanses or enemas. Exercising regularly. Completely eliminating alcohol, coffee, cigarettes and refined sugar