Q: Are any of these detox diets I keep hearing about safe?
A: If you search “detox,” over 40,000 websites selling programs and substances will pop up. It’s big marketing, and it appeals to consumers who are looking for a “quick fix” and vulnerable to the buy in of potions, pills, and products. Usually, the products sold are laxative or diuretic in nature and can cause more harm than good if used improperly. The diets are typically very restrictive in nature—often 800 calories or even less. Think about the long-term outcome of any “detox” plan before you decide. As one patient said to me, “It was difficult and unpleasant, then it was over, and there were no long-term benefits.” “Detox” in the traditional sense is meant to treat an individual with dependence on drugs, alcohol or other substances, and it is medically supervised. For the rest of us, we are equipped with a liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and skin that work to detox and cleanse our bodies from substances that are harmful for the body. The best detox diet consists of plenty of water, fruits and vegetables, protein consumed in small amounts during the day, and meatless meals 2 to 3 days per week. Avoid processed and boxed foods that are high in fat, salt, sugar and preservatives. Try to remain stress free by practicing yoga and meditation. Stay away from pollutants like cigarette smoke and harsh chemicals. Then let your body do the rest!
Pamela Cannoy Kelle, RD, LDN, CEDRD
1238 Hanover Street, Chattanooga, TN 37405