What is a “Cleanse” Diet?

Before You Dive Into a Spring Cleanse, Here Are a Few Things You Should Know

As the days get warmer and chunky sweaters are shed in favor of lightweight cardigans, you may notice that all those winter comfort foods have taken their toll on your physique. Starting a cleanse or detox diet might seem like the quickest way to release toxins and shed pounds from months of poor eating, but is it really the safest route?  Here’s some info to help you weigh your options.

 

What is a cleanse? Cleanses usually involve drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juice, water with lemon and spices, and/or green tea for anywhere from a day to a month.

 

But why? Drinking nothing but liquids for days doesn’t seem like the most appealing diet. So why do so many swear by it? The theory behind cleanses is that cutting out solid food eliminates the toxins that go along with it, which allows your digestive system to take a break. During the cleanse, your digestive system has time to heal so it can better absorb nutrients when food is reintroduced.

 

Do they work?  The jury is still out on the effectiveness of cleanses. But if you’re hoping for long-term weight loss, you may want to try a different scheme. That’s because water loss, carb stores, and stool account for most of the pounds you shed during cleansing. These will all return once you start eating solid foods again.

 

Pros and Cons

Weighing the pros and cons is easier once you know the hows and whys. Here are some of the top things to consider.

Pros of a Cleanse:

  • can increase absorption of vitamins and minerals from natural fruit juices
  • can help identify food sensitivities by gradually reintroducing potential irritants  
  • can eliminate the feeling of bloating
  • can reduce dehydration 
  • generally inexpensive 

Cons of a Cleanse: 

  • not usually effective for long-term weight loss
  • your body can detox itself if you eat a balanced diet
  • low in protein
  • low in calories, which equals low energy
  • can cause potential gastrointestinal distress
  • leads to loss in carbohydrate stores, which are the fuel for exercise

 

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