The detox diet has come under harsh scrutiny over the past few months. There are ample claims that the only weight lost is the water weight form the initial fast and the natural weight loss occurs from cutting caloric intake. The detox diet is quite restrictive, to the point where some people are calling it a starvation diet. There have been countless articles written by "experts" that state that the detox diet endangers people, stating that it creates yo-yo dieting, an unhealthy relationship with food, and even can contribute to the development of an eating disorder.
We also know that the vast majority of the "experts" who write these articles are those in the health and weight loss industry, such as nutritionists, health program supervisors, weight loss counselors, and lay people with an extreme interest in health and fitness. While I am certainly not suggesting that anyone is fabricating evidence or creating thought processes that are not accurate, I am however, indicating that when a person is educated to see things in one specific manner, it can be very difficult for them to see the same principles in a varying manner. For example, if a dietician goes to college and is taught that green beans cause cancer, that dietician will graduate believing that green beans cause cancer. If the same dietician returns for occasional classes to keep her education current, and over the course of the next ten years, the dietician is once again taught that green beans cause cancer, then the dietician will continue to believe this and teach her clients this as well. Fifteen years later someone comes along and points out to the dietician that green beans don't cause cancer, how likely is the dietician to believe that green beans don't cause cancer?
This phenomenon is not solely related to dieticians and health related fields. This phenomenon actual relates to every field. As a writer I was taught that you never speak in double negatives. It's a basic principle I apply every day. If someone tried to convince me that the rules had suddenly changed, right or wrong, it has already been ingrained in me that double negatives are inappropriate and you shouldn't use them. Thus, if I criticize this new theory without completely re-educating myself on the basic rules of English and grammar, then I am relying solely on my previous knowledge to dispute this issue.
So let's break away from conventional dieticians and explore the detox diet with a completely blank slate. I am not a dietician. I am just a writer is interested to know whether the detox diet is a healthy form of purification, or if it is a hidden form of starvation that does nothing but allow some water weight loss and makes you believe you are healthier. I have assembled three people who have done the detox diet and three who have not. Granted, this is not a huge percentage to pull from, but I am not using them as test subjects, only to ask them to verify or deny detox diet statements that are made from both testimonials from detox dieters and criticism from dieticians.
Fasting and Purity
For centuries people have fasted for purity. If we look back through even ancient texts, we will find that the fasting was not for spiritual purity alone, but for physical purity as well. Fasting for purity often left the spiritual seeker feeling initially drained and then once again reenergized within a thirty six hour period. The purity that they felt within their spirits was also a purity that they felt through their body. This argument can be easily criticized that they felt their body's purity because of their spiritual lifting. All three detox dieters, who were not in search of spiritual enlightenment, all agreed that they felt weak from the initial starvation, but began to feel "clearer," before the end of the second day. None of them agreed that they were experiencing starvation. They all felt their fasting led to at least some form of physical purity.
In medical science, there are times when doctors recommend fasting. Not including pre surgical procedures, most fasting requirements are for some form of "readying" or purity. Prior to starting diets that treat illnesses, such as the ketogenic diet, there is a period of fasting required beforehand.
Critics of the detox diet claim that the headaches and general all over yucky feeling people experience in the first week of a detox diet is from a lack of food. However, champions of the detox diet say that the headaches and the generally "yucky" feeling they get when fasting coincides with a noticeable change in their excretions. My three detox dieters all agreed that when their urine and bowel movements became noticeably more "aromatic" they found themselves with headaches and a feeling of overall fatigue. They did not contribute this feeling to fasting.
I did an online search and found eleven dieticians that negated the detox diet. Each one of them claimed that the headaches were from the fasting, however, each of them offered their own version of the detox diet. Interesting. The dieticians' versions included what could almost be considered fasting. Their idea of not fasting was eating some fruit and yogurt. Most detox diets do not include a total fasting period.
The critics of the detox diet are not impressed with the detox diet weight loss. They claim that the detox diet weight loss comes from the loss of water weight during the fasting period and will be regained quickly when normal eating is resumed. The detox diet weight loss comes from various sources. If you are doing a complete detoxification, including the colon, all three of my detox dieters claim that you can see where some of the weight loss comes from as you are flushing it down the toilet. Two of my detox dieters had to call plumbers from the excessive waste they produced. Their detox diet weight loss has remained, and two of them started the detox diet more than six months prior to this writing. Detox diet weight loss remained in all three of my dieters because they make better choices. They resumed normal eating habits, but they did not return to ingesting large amounts of junk foods. They claim that the detox diet showed them how important maintaining a low toxic level was to their overall health.
Just Another Diet Trend?
The critics of the detox diet claim that this diet trend, like all those that came before it, is no more effective than anything else that has been put out there. Whenever a new diet trend comes along, people rush to participate, and then claim that it doesn't work. Not all diets will work for everyone. I tried the Atkins diet for awhile with little or no results, but a man I knew lost nearly thirty pounds on it. However Atkins doesn't work very well for people who are not significantly overweight, according to some critics and apparently my body. So, does that mean that the detox diet is more than just another diet trend, or will it fall to the wayside after a bit like every other diet trend. Of my detox dieters, 2 out of three say it's not a diet trend. It is a method of cleansing the body, which other diet trends simply don't do. The 3rd dieter says it is a diet trend, but a highly effective diet trend, and if a diet trend is effective then who cares if it's a trend? Interesting point.
Diet trend and fads usually don't carry much weight behind their claims. They are simply a theory produced to suggest that the latest Diet trend is the most effective weight loss plan and everyone needs to jump on board before their obesity claims them forever. The detox diet has a different aim, so I really poked around when trying to determine if this was simply just a diet trend or more of a health revolution.
There is overwhelming evidence that Americans and Canadians are in the poorest health overall, considering the health care we have available. The healthcare we have at our fingertips should make us one of the healthiest nations in the world, but we rank very low on the list. Most doctors and scientists contribute this to the foods we put into our body and the chemicals we come in contact with when eating, working, and playing. For the health choices that we have available to us, we have one of the highest rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and childhood cancer rates in the world. Of course, we also rank ridiculously high on the list for overweight and obese citizens.
The detox diet is concerned with addressing the overall health of Americans, not just their waistline. The diet trends that have come along have been concerned with treating the waistline issues, but not the overall health. So, is the detox diet just another diet trend? By technical definition, a diet trend meaning any new method of eating introduced into society that creates a sudden onslaught of followers, well then yes. However, it can't be considered a diet trend by any other definition. It was simply not developed for the same reasons or the same fashion that diet trends hit the market.
Thin people can benefit from the detox diet. Overweight people can benefit from the detox diet. Everyone in between can benefit from the detox diet. The detox diet isn't targeted for weight loss. Thus it is really about a healthier lifestyle. Detox dieting is geared toward permanent health. After a significant purge of the body's chemical and toxic build up, the detox diet is geared to long lasting non-toxic lifestyles rather than diet trends, which tend to be geared toward lifestyles that manage weight.