The modern detox movement grew out of largely naturopathic origins. After all, until the last decade or so, detoxing was medical jargon for treating serious conditions, such as alcohol poisoning or kidney failure. But in homeopathic circles, the idea of purifying the body and flushing out toxins took root and grew alongside the movement to “eat clean.”
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Yerba mate, a plant common in South America. The leaves are used to make a drink high in polyphenols, a group of compounds found in plants that help the body defend itself against disease. Yerba mate also contains caffeine, so it has a stimulatory effect similar to coffee. A recent review suggests it may be helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels;
There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of simple carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. While avoiding sugar, white rice, and white flour, however, you should eat plenty of whole-grain breads and brown rice. One Harvard study of 74,000 women found that those who ate more than two daily servings of whole grains were 49 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate the white stuff. Eating whole grains is not only one of many great ways to lose weight; it can also make you smarter.
“These products usually contain laxative ingredients, including senna, which sometimes is habit forming,” says Lisa Jones, RD, practicing in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania. “Overuse can harm the colon and permanently change the digestive tract.” Documented risks can range from nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration to constipation, and even kidney and liver failure.
Green tea extract: Of the most popular weight loss ingredients, this seems to be one of the safest. However, it’s not guaranteed to work well enough to really cause noticeable results. Reported adverse effects may include headache and urinary tract infections, although these are rare. Possible benefits include a mild increase in energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
A healthier way to think about resetting yourself in the New Year is to lose the restrictive mindset and instead focus on foods you can add to your diet for their nutritional benefits, says Zeitlin. Incorporating fresh veggies, like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and spinach, into your diet has proven benefits to help your body run properly — including ridding itself of waste products.
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My take on “detox” in its popular sense is that it is best understood as the secular equivalent of the purification/abstinence rituals which are part of many religions (eg, Ramadan in Islam, Lent in some forms of Christianity, Pesach in Judaism). These rituals may provide some psychological comfort but are unlikely to be of much physiological benefit.
Many diets promote cleansing and detoxification. I follow and recommend an organic, variable, intermittent fasting diet but there are other options if that isn’t for you. You could also try a raw alkaline diet. It’s a temporary cleanse consisting of uncooked fruits and vegetables and raw nuts, seeds, and sprouts. It’s a great strategy for detoxing the colon and liver. A juice diet is also helpful and is centered around consuming freshly-made fruit and vegetable juice — preferably organic.
Side effects can continue once a detox ends. Some people experience post-detox effects like nausea and diarrhea. Advocate call these “cleansing reactions” and will assure you it’s “toxins leaving the body”. A more plausible, science-based explanation is that this is a consequence of restarting the digestive process after a period of catharsis, where, depending on the extent and duration of fasting, little to no digestion occurred, and the normal gastrointestinal colonies of bacteria may have been severely disrupted. It’s the same effect seen in hospitalized patients who have difficulty initially digesting food after being fed intravenously. The detox ingredients, and resulting catharsis, may irritate the colon to such an extent that it may take time for digestion to return to normal.
Note: a systemic imbalance may be blocking your weight loss. The most common include hormonal, thyroid and adrenal imbalances. If one or more of these areas is out of whack, it’s next to impossible to lose weight until it’s corrected, and only you can do that. To drop stubborn weight, try one of our Weight Loss Resistance Programs with herbal products and lifestyle secrets that target these three main areas.
Are you looking to just reduce scale weight? If so, this gives no consideration to body composition, meaning you can easily drink these diuretic/laxative “teatox” drinks which will dehydrate you and clean out your intestines. But this is NOT fat loss and should not be confused with fat loss. You will easily gain back all the water and fecal weight you lose on these sorts of “teatoxes.”
You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you keep focusing on things you can’t do, like resisting junk food or getting out the door for a daily walk, chances are you won’t do them. Instead (whether you believe it or not) repeat positive thoughts to yourself. “I can lose weight.” “I will get out for my walk today.” “I know I can resist the pastry cart after dinner.” Repeat these phrases and before too long, they will become true for you.
When it comes to simple dietary changes, there’s little evidence of harm. Eating more quinoa and kale, and less processed and refined foods is reasonable dietary advice for everyone. Homeopathic “detox” is also likely safe — with no active ingredients, homeopathy is an elaborate placebo system. As you get into more unorthodox detox treatments that actually contain active ingredients, there is the potential for harm. Coffee enemas are a detoxification process that has a real risk of harm. From a medical perspective, coffee enemas are considered unsafe. Rare but serious adverse events like septicemia (bacteria in the bloodstream), rectal perforation, and electrolyte abnormalities have been caused by coffee enemas. Deaths from the administration of coffee enemas have also been reported.

There was a time when juice was considered a kids’ drink — and not a very healthy one, at that. That was before companies like BluePrint and Pressed Juicery made cold-pressed a household term. On a juice cleanse, only the extract squeezed from fruits and vegetables is consumed for anywhere from one day to two weeks. Many come prepackaged and delivered to your doorstep, sold by companies that claim that juice provides all the nutrition you need while keeping your digestive system from being taxed.
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