The idea of improving your health by doing a detox diet has hit every corner of the nation, including Stamford, CT. When I’m asked whether detoxing works, I tell clients that it all depends. There’s a right way and wrong way to do it. The most accepted technique for detoxing is to dramatically lower the caloric intake from a few days to weeks and in most cases, just including fluids, such as fruit juices in the diet or some “magic” detox herb supplement. Exactly what does this type of detox do?
Drinking only fruit juice or green tea with honey is not the healthiest way to lose weight.
When you reduce your caloric intake too low and fill your diet with low fiber liquid, particularly fruit juice that’s high in sugar, you’re almost guaranteed to have a spike in your blood sugar levels. Drinking fruit juice only is far different from eating the whole fruit, which wouldn’t have as much of an effect on your body. The whole fruit contains fiber that slows the absorption of sugar, so it doesn’t cause dramatic spikes.
What goes up, must come down.
After a spike, the blood sugar doesn’t go back to normal, but drops dramatically. That can cause stress on the body and leave you feeling drained and on edge. Sure, you’ll definitely lose weight on this type of diet, but it’s almost always just water weight with a small real loss. Another bad effect from detoxing is loss of muscle mass. The body needs energy, so it often breaks down muscle mass for the protein. The less muscle mass you have, the lower your metabolism.
What is a better way to detox?
Eating healthy and detoxing your body from sugar and fast food is a better route to take. It’s harder and doesn’t have the same dramatic effect as the quick weight loss or give the same feeling of control, but it’s almost harder to do. You have to be more aware of which foods have added sugar and avoid them. You have to avoid highly processed food, sugary and soft drinks and fast food almost entirely. What is the magic key to this type of detox? It’s increasing the fiber intake and drinking more water.
- There are two types of fiber. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion and aids in controlling blood sugar levels. It helps keep you feeling full longer. Fresh fruit, especially apples with skins, beans and vegetables contain this type of fiber.
- The other type of fiber that helps detox your system is insoluble fiber. It aids in cleaning the colon and removing waste from your system, since it adds bulk to your stool. It’s found in broccoli, brown rice and whole grains.
- To prepare for a detox, slowly increase your fiber intake. If you suddenly increase it, it can cause digestive issues. You can increase fresh fruits, add nuts, flaxseed, beans and lentils to your diet to do it.
- While fasting for short periods can let your digestive system rest, it doesn’t cleanse the body of toxins. The body has organs that do that naturally. Eating healthy can eliminate the dependence on sugar and addiction to fatty, sweet or salty foods.
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