Pros and cons of a detox diet.
Let's begin with what a detox diet typically is. It is a diet that people go on to reduce the load of unhealthy food they have been eating to eliminate the "toxins" (or unhealthy food and drink) that they have been putting having. There are a variety of versions that are encouraged for the best results. They often propose that you eat or drink a concentrated amount of veg and fruit and eliminate nearly everything else.
So what are the benefits or 'pros' of a detox diet.
Often people that go on these diets find they have more energy, feel better within themselves, they may sleep better, have improved digestion, and weight loss.
They provide a lot of vitamins and minerals in the veg and fruit, so this will be great for boosting immunity, and providing lots of antioxidants to reduce cell damage as well as fibre if the diet is not just the juice of the plants.
Now the down-side of these diets - the 'cons'
Because it is a very restrictive diet, it is not sustainable for the long term. This may be the plan for those starting on it, to just do a short 'detox'. If that is the case, then it is not a real problem. The main issue is if you go back to an unhealthy way of eating post the detox and don't continue to eat plenty of fruit and vegetable. The detox diet will not provide you with long term benefits. Eating a balanced and healthy diet over the long term will provide you with plenty of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, as well as good fibre. This will bring long term benefits in the form of weight loss, energy, mental wellbeing, improved digestion.
My issue with the detox diet is that many people that use it then announce that it was the diet that made them feel well again, forgetting that it may be the things they have cut out like alcohol, caffeine, highly processed foods & high fat foods. These types of foods are going to make you feel not at your best.
The ideal detox is to just eat a balanced and healthy diet. Cut out the foods that don't make you feel well, sluggish or not at your best like alcohol and highly processed foods. These can be saved as occasional indulgences but not for everyday. Our society seems to have adopted the mantra that "because we can, we will have those foods most days". That was not how our ancestors lived. Those types of foods were had on occasion and were often home made. Which meant they were often made from whole foods, not highly processed foods. These days, access to less healthy food is almost too easy. You don't have to bake, or cook up a meal. It is too easy to go the less healthy route. So when we do start to put back in the healthy food, it does feel good. And if you do this daily, you can have the benefits daily and into your future!
So what do I suggest
So in summary, eat plenty of vegetables 5-7 serves a day, 2 serves of fruit, whole-grains, lean meats, fish, legumes (beans, pulses), nuts and seeds and dairy and their alternatives for a good source of calcium. Also consider adding in some fermented foods such as yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut. These will aid digestion and provide helpful bacteria to your gut.
The more research that is being done, the more plant based diets are coming out to be the leader in having health benefits. So adopt a mindset of eating more vegetarian style meals and less meat based.
Keeping up with your healthy diet is the tough part. Having a coach or an accountability partner can help you keep on track until it becomes normal. Why not book in for an appointment to help you start a healthy lifestyle. You won't regret it!
For more information about Detox Diets go to: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/detox-diets.html.