The Dirty Secret of Detoxes and Juice Cleanses

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By Matt Lazaro

Are detoxes ethical?

There are a number of companies and online “gurus” that promote and sell detox programs.

Now let’s be clear, detoxification is a legitimate process the body does and there are toxins that the body must get rid of and filter out. The body is quite effective at this. Your liver, kidneys and even on a cellular level, there are functions of detoxification.

With that said, the topic at hand is if there are any “detox programs” that actually target supposed toxins outside of the body’s normal capabilities to either prevent or reverse disease.

At the moment there is NO proof in the scientific literature that any of the commercial detox programs work.

Back in 2009 a scientific journal was published giving proponents of detox programs a chance to prove efficacy and every single one failed miserably. None was able to determine proof in a quantifiable means that any toxin was decreased to any capacity.

These are the common factors amongst most detox programs:

1. Highly restrictive in what is eaten
2. Ultra low calories 
3. Short-term driven

So let’s look at the anecdotal evidence on why people sometimes feel better or have improvements in certain symptoms. Many of you reading this might be thinking “I did a 7-day juice cleanse and lost weight and even had more energy”, and this may be true to have such an experience and here’s why:

If you refer back up to the 3 main components of a detox, they all restrict foods and total calories, which during the short term for someone that is normally overeating or lacking in nutrients overall, they will feel better. But, temporarily feeling better is not the same as detoxing and reversing disease as most of these programs claim.

Now let’s take into question the weight loss component. Why do some people lose weight? Let’s refer back to the basic components of a detox program, highly restricting calories and food choices, which within the first 24-48 hours can deplete glycogen (stored energy) causing an initial loss of 3g of H20 per gram of glycogen that can translate into 5-10lbs in a very short time-frame. But, as the majority of those who have done this very quickly learn is how fast you can regain that weight, mostly derived from water and glycogen.

So next time someone tries to sell you a 7-day juice cleanse to detox and lose weight product, ask them the following questions:

1. What toxin will I be detoxing?

2. How are you measuring my current level of “toxins” that need to be detoxed?

3. How do you measure how much if the toxins have been detoxed after using the program?

Odds are they won’t be able to answer any of these questions ethically or with any respectable proof aside from anecdotes of others that lost a few pounds and felt because better mainly due to the fact that it’s the first vegetable they’ve had in years.

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