Dangerous Things About Detoxing You Didn’t Know from Dangerous Things About Detoxing You Didn’t Know

Dangerous Things About Detoxing You Didn’t Know

iStock

Dangerous Things About Detoxing You Didn’t Know

iStock

Most people have already failed at keeping up with the New Year’s resolutions they made on January 1 and are thinking of coming up with new ones. Detoxing has been a popular diet over the last several years. Whether it’s a fad or a trend is early to say, but one constant factor is the lack of systematic evidence supporting either theory. But you can “purify” your body by treating it right and thus avoiding all possible negative consequences. 

You don’t know what you’re getting rid of

iStock

Products that promise to “detox” your body almost never define exactly what that is. Look at the label of any detoxifying juice or tea you’re getting. Are there any specifics? Sense About Science, a science advocacy group, contacted the manufacturers of 15 detox products to ask about what exactly they help the body eliminate. Not a single one could come up with a definition of “detox” or what toxins they help the body get rid of. 

Cleansing is not natural

iStock

The liver and kidneys naturally get rid of toxins every time you sweat, go to the bathroom and breathe. This has been the case for thousands of years. It is a kind of detoxification that is a normal, everyday function. The body is way of breaking down and eliminating anything that doesn’t belong in it. So why do people need to do more? They don’t. Cleaning up your diet instead will do just fine.

You’re damaging your liver

Shutterstock

Studies have indicated that the liver is among the most important organs in the body that regulates and stores vital proteins and nutrients needed to purify (read: detox) and clear the organism of harmful chemicals. A healthy liver doesn’t store toxins; it transforms them into water-soluble substances that leave your body in the form of sweat, urine and excrements. Research shows that certain foods are good for improving liver function. The body needs certain nutrients to be able to properly do the job of natural detoxification.

It won’t cleanse the colon

iStock

Detoxing also targets the colon but these diets are not necessary at all, according to research. Georgetown University reviewed several studies and concluded that, medically, colon detoxing regiments are not justified. The right way to clean the colon is to consume lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains that are rich in fiber. A high-fiber diet supports a healthy digestive tract by removing “debris” from the colon.

Lack of electrolytes

Shutterstock

Colon cleansing, just like starving, carries a huge risk of dehydration and electrolyte depletion, according to Harvard Medical School. You need the major electrolytes found in the body such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride so the body can regulate water retention, pH levels, muscle function, and many other body tasks.

Nausea

iStock

This is a very common side effect of cleansing. Any drastic change in diet and lifestyle is likely to cause nausea. The body has several organs that naturally get rid of chemicals that don’t belong in it. When one or more of them become sluggish or are functioning less than optimally because you are not supplying them with enough nutrients, the others are faced with unnatural burden, which often results in nasty symptoms.

Abdominal pain

iStock

A general detoxification scheme is done with fasting, drinking only fluids, taking herbal pills or eating a raw diet. Anything that the body is not used to is bound to upset your stomach. A detox diet causes the lymph glands to release toxins at a fast rate and the liver has to manage the excess, which gets emitted with bile into the stomach.

Lack of protein

Shutterstock

Not only are you not getting enough calories, you’re also depriving your body of proteins. Protein deficiencies can inhibit the body’s ability to eliminate toxins the natural way. They can result in food cravings, muscle pain, hair and skin problems, and fluid retention. In addition, your immune system is compromised because it is made up of specialized cells and proteins, which it now lacks. 

You’re starving

Shutterstock

Many detoxing diets basically require you not to eat anything or to have some juices and herbal supplements. Your body needs about 2,000 calories a day to function properly. It must have its vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep you healthy so you don’t gain weight, get constipated or sick, lose your energy...Anything less than that puts it in stress mode.

You don’t get the right kind of calories

iStock

You are likely not going to find nutritionists who will recommend anyone to get on a cleansing diet – even if they have not definitively taken a pro- or con-detox stance yet. People need “healthy” calories and nutrients to give the body energy to grow and develop physically (and mentally). Significantly depriving the body of them will have negative consequences.

It’s addictive

iStock

You probably never thought that plastic surgery or exercising can get addictive. Detoxing falls in this category as well. Individuals with a tendency to addiction may experience a “high” from detoxing, especially after losing a few pounds in the beginning. Some people get “high” from feeling hungry just like smokers feel satisfied and happy when they light a cigarette after a meal. The serotonin-driven “hunger high” can make hunger feel euphoric, turning it into something positively addictive.

Can lead to eating disorders

Shutterstock

Following strict diets is a warning sign of developing an eating disorder. Many people follow such eating regimens as part of a healthy lifestyle. But “strict” can become much or a sign of a possible problem when they cut entire food groups based on no medical reasons, Dr. Allison K. Chase, Executive Director of the Eating Recovery Center in Austin, says. The line between the two can be thin.

Too much acid in the blood

iStock

Detox diets can disrupt the native intestinal flora, which are microorganisms that perform important digestive functions. A person who goes on such an eating regime repeatedly may run the risk of developing metabolic acidosis, a disruption of the body's acid-base balance, which results in excessive acidity in the blood, according to Harvard Health. Severe metabolic acidosis can lead to coma and death.