As we shake off the festive season and the new year is upon us, it is yet another time in the year when detox diets surface. From juices to cleanses, fasts and everything else in-between, these diets are designed to rid our over-indulged bodies of toxins built up from food, lifestyle, and environment. The detox industry is growing year-on-year; and according to research from the USA, the global detox product market will be worth an estimated USD $70 billion by 2025.
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Do we need to go on a detox?
Though, surely, if we accumulate and are thus full of toxins, wouldn’t we feel sick all the time? And for those of us who do not feel sick all the time, is going on a detox really necessary? Or is the detox market simply pandering to pseudoscience and merely creating a buzzword that the health industry can capitalise off?
In short, both research and doctors principally agree that, for the majority of us, all we need to detox are our liver, kidneys, lungs, and colon; and if those organs are not healthy and functioning, then it is medical attention that we need, not a detox. Most medical experts advocate that the best detox we can treat ourselves to is avoiding too much processed food, alcohol, and other obvious nasties, while focusing on maintaining balance in what we consume, moving regularly and getting enough rest.
The concept of detoxing is very real and our bodies have evolved to be remarkably effective at it. Nevertheless, there are still many, many people who can absolutely benefit from step-by-step detox guidance on what to eat, what to avoid, and best-practice healthy lifestyle suggestions. This is especially true for those who are ill, or unsure about nutrition, or those who might be feeling sluggish or living excessively.
Furthermore, for lots of people, being proactive about health and wellness can feel psychologically reassuring and boost serotonin levels; after all, who does not feel good eating a ‘detox salad’ or drinking a ‘detox juice’? The placebo effect means that we can feel subjectively better without having any objective change in our symptoms or physiology, and for many, that is very real and enough.
Time to detox?
Largely, detox diets are not necessarily bad for you, but some are extreme, and potentially harmful, in their approach, including those which require dangerous calorie restriction, eating only one type of food, using herbs and spices, taking laxatives, and using certain dietary supplements. If in doubt about going on a ‘detox,’ always talk with your doctor, or a dietitian, beforehand, who can offer impartial and informed advice.
My final thoughts are that if you live in moderation and let your organs do what they do best, you will not ever need to worry about ‘going on a detox.’ Your long-term health cannot be remedied with short-term solutions. An ongoing, sensible, well-rounded approach to your health will offer you much more peace of mind and overall wellbeing.
Until next time,
Your Wellicious Team