To detox or not to detox that is the question. While some believe we need a detox after a season of bad eating or to kick start a weight loss diet.

The effects are often shortlived and don’t lead to long term health or weight loss. Is it worth it to detox anyway? 

Types of detox diets

Part of understanding why people detox involves understanding the different types of detoxes. 

While some people detox by restricting their diets; banning all solid foods, complete withdrawal from sugar or ‘going raw’, others try to remove toxins and other ‘bad stuff’ from their body by steaming, sweating it off, using diuretics and laxatives and even enemas. 

Depending on your health at the time of the detox and other medical conditions or how your detox is managed, this can be dangerous and do a lot more harm than good. 

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Malnutrition 

Most detox diets rule out whole food groups which put you at risk of missing out on nutrients your body needs. 

Juice cleanses famously leave you protein deprived and can be very high in sugar while leaving you hungry and likely to overeat at the nearest opportunity. 

Going raw or taking up a raw food diet, could potentially include plant-based protein, but choosing only foods you can eat raw does limit your options and can be stressful. 

Most detox diets have similar issues and while the deficiency should not have long term effects because the detox is short term. Deficiencies have been known to increase cravings and possibly lead to negative eating habits and a bad relationship with food. 

So what diet works?

Many diets work for weight loss, increased energy, weight gain and even contribute to increased fitness with careful planning and calculations. 

Diets can be stressful and lead to confusion about eating whether it is a good or bad thing. 

Nationaleatingdisorders.org suggests that intuitive eating is the best longterm healthy eating programme. 

While rethinking how you see food in relations to your health, intuitive thinking allows you to follow your bodies cues and use your discretion to choose the best foods for you. Consciously eating and knowing the effects of the food you choose to eat is a healthy way to start building healthy eating habits you can keep up for the rest of your life without feeling deprived or waiting anxiously for a cheat day. 

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.