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Articles Fitness Nutrition

The Truth About "Detox" and "Cleanse" Diets

Jul 25, 2014
Detox- it's a word usually associated with drug addicts and alcoholics.  But food?  Are there toxic foods we need to purify our bodies from?

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Most of the things we eat aren't toxic in an acute kind of way unless they are contaminated with pathogens or contain natural toxins like poisonous mushrooms.  However, many things we eat may be considered toxic if you think about how the accumulated effects of consuming them repetitively over the years can lead to chronic diseases.

We are constantly being exposed to numerous toxins in life both in our food and in the environment.  The best thing to do is to minimize exposure-- but it is impossible to live in our society completely sheltered from them.  Most of our produce is grown with harmful pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.  The majority of the animals we eat are given antibiotics and hormones.  Our oceans have become so polluted that seafood is contaminated with mercury, among other dangerous compounds.  Tap water contains chlorine, fluoride and many other impurities.  Even traces of pharmaceuticals linger in what comes out of the faucet.  Plastic leaches BPA into bottled water.  Aflatoxins can be found in peanut butter.   We breathe car fumes and other terrible air pollutants when we go outside.  The things you put on your body end up in your body, so whatever chemicals have gone into your lotions, make-up, toothpaste, etc can end up inside your body.  As for household cleaners, the inside of your house can actually be more toxic than anything outside if you use conventional chemical-filled products. 

Google "detox diet" and you will find quite a diverse range of diet plans out there.  Each version recommends different foods to consume as well as which to avoid.  Some suggest fasting or an all-raw foods diet while others offer more general all-around healthy eating tips.  The biggest misconception about "detox diets" is that they will somehow magically cleanse your insides. 

There is no scientific evidence that eating certain foods for a few days will eliminate toxins.  However if following a healthy "detox diet" plan helps you to realize that wholesome natural foods really do make you feel better, then great.  Hopefully you will understand that eating like this all the time is the answer and not something to do on occasion.

Mother Nature provided our bodies with their own detoxifying organs.  The liver, kidneys, lungs, colon, and skin are all organs of elimination and as long as not abused, they are your best bet for staying "detoxed".  Still, there are definitely certain dietary and lifestyle habits you should aspire to.  You don't want to put your body through any unnecessary stress and wear out these organs.

Here are some basic guidelines for helping you to stay toxin-free:
  • Avoid processed foods with artificial additives, preservatives, colorings, and sweeteners
  • Avoid refined grains, sugars, and oils
  • Eat plenty of foods found in their wholesome, natural state:  fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains
  • Buy organic when possible
  • Choose natural versions of body care and beauty products
  • Only use non-toxic household cleaners  

Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best.


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