Why ‘detoxing’ doesn’t actually work

A woman who's detoxing
A woman who's detoxing

But what does a detox involve? Dietician Thandolwakhe Mabuza explains:

What is a detox?

To detox means to abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. The idea of “detox” is a myth. The body is well developed and able to cleanse itself with inbuilt mechanisms that remove waste and toxins. Our bodies are constantly breaking down and excreting waste products like alcohol, medications, products of digestion, dead cells, chemicals from pollution and bacteria.

What are the most common misconceptions about detoxing?

People often say they feel better when detoxing and connect the feeling with what they are or aren’t eating. But, not smoking, drinking less alcohol, getting enough sleep, fresh air and exercise will help you feel better and more energised, naturally. This is more a result of their inherent benefit than using lotions, potions and food exclusions.

Is detoxing with laxatives such as Epsom salts, Castor oil or herbs healthy?

Enemas are very dangerous and have no health benefit as they result in a loss of body fluid and nutrients. Avoid these methods of detoxing completely.

READ MORE: The benefits of a meatless diet

What are some of the good things you must DO?

Make sure you stay well hydrated but not too much, as drinking too much water can be as dangerous as not drinking enough. A sensible, balanced diet including vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre with regular physical exercise, would be encouraged. Enjoy at least five portions of fruits and vegetables per day.

What are the definite things that you DON’T do in a detox?

It is not necessary to cut out whole food groups, for example, wheat and dairy products, which promoters of detox diets often claim. This practice can actually be very harmful, as these foods provide important nutrients, especially when they are not being replaced by other foods.

Do not fast for extended periods - fasting limits your energy and nutrient intake needed for overall health and wellbeing. You may lose a lot of weight rapidly as a result but this weight will mainly be fluid weight and glycogen, rather than fat.

Check more out about the detox debate in the TRUE LOVE January Issue, in stores NOW!

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