Today it has actually become quite fashionable to go on a liver detox diet, thanks to all our celebs who promote these so voraciously! Using detox foods, colon cleaning herbs and a juice or soup diet a few days of the month is considered one of the best ways to stay in shape. Is there any truth behind these ideas? Do these detox diets really help?
With a lot of controversy that surrounds this topic, often the truth gets mangled up in a web of lies and many people fail to see how a well executed liver detox diet can really improve their health. Here is the first thing you need to understand Loud & Clear – A detox diet is NOT a weight loss diet. These diets are not meant to be followed for more than a few days, and are not created for long term use. That is the biggest reason why these diets have attracted a lot of negative publicity.
Many dieters, who are too desperate to lose weight fast, often try these detox diets for longer than recommended. The result is not good; when done in excess, a liver detox diet can lead to deficiency of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and overall poor health.
Remember, a detox diet is followed to detoxify the liver and colon of toxins and poisons, but there is more than what meets the eye here. So let’s decode and demystify liver detox diets, so that you know how to do one safely and successfully to see a real difference in your health.
What is the idea behind a Liver Detox Diet?
Since the idea behind a detox diet for the liver is not weight loss alone, what exactly does this diet aim to accomplish?
The idea is to remove or flush out toxins from our bodies. These toxins gain entry in to our body via the food we eat and through our lifestyle choices. They reduce the effective functioning of the liver, resulting in a sluggish metabolism that hinders weight loss and also good health.
Here are a few toxins that a liver detox diet can remove successfully:
- Pesticides found in foods
- Heavy metals and food additives
- Toxins found in processed foods
Many people believe that the body holds on to these toxins in the gastrointestinal, digestive and lymphatic systems, and these toxins don’t just affect metabolism but also causes illnesses and fatigue.
How is a Liver Detox Diet done?
A detox design is designed to purge all toxins from the body, flushing it out in excreta and urine. To do this, you need to eat only certain foods and beverages for a few days and practice a semi-fast, slowly reintroducing regular food back in to your diet. A detox diet mainly includes drinking lots of water and fluids and encourages eating only natural foods like fruits and vegetables in their purest form. Also, on a detox diet, you will need to eliminate drugs, alcohol, sugars, tobacco, refined foods, processed foods and any other foods and beverages that can add more toxins in to your body.
A detox diet can be done by anyone. It is especially helpful for those who have a weaker immune system and often fall sick, or those who find their metabolism is too slow.
Remember, you are trying to detoxify your liver, so you will concentrate on only liver friendly organic foods and drinks and stay away from refined, processed, fried foods along with alcohol, which all together put extra stress on your liver and reduce the effectiveness of its functioning.
6 Popular Detox Diets Worth Trying
As with every other kind of diet, different experts recommend different detox diets. These are further made popular by many celebrities who swear by their effectiveness. Let us look at a few popular liver detox diets that have won over many fans around the globe.
1. Master Cleanse – Made immensely popular by Beyonce, the master cleanse is also known as the lemonade diet. It is a 7 – 10 day fasting diet where you drink a concoction made from lemon, water, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper at regular intervals. Many celebrities swear by the effectiveness of the Master Cleanse, though it is a very restrictive detox diet, which if followed for too long can result in nutritional deficiencies.
2. Liver cleansing Diet – One of the most popular Liver Detox Diets, this one also makes the most sense. You start with fasting on the first 2 days, eating only fresh fruit and vegetables along with drinking copious amounts of water. This clears liver of toxins and improves digestion. From Day 3, healthy foods are reintroduced one at a time. The diet allows you to eat whole grains, legumes and high fiber foods. The only limitations are foods high in saturated fats, refined sugars and processed foods.
3. Fat Flush Diet – The Fat Flush is known to be a diet that reshapes the body by melting fat from the hips, thighs and waist. It is a diet well known to banish bloat, clean the lymphatic system, cleanse the liver and eliminate even cellulite! This is a detox diet based on eating very low carbs foods along with lots of fluids.
4. Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet – Made popular by actress Angelina Jolie, this diet cleanses the body by allowing dieters to drink fluids every 2 hours. They can choose from a limited number of fluids like soups, water, fresh juices and green teas. The dieters can choose from 2 day, 7 day or 21 day plans. The author, Roni DeLuz, who is a naturopath and a registered nurse, wrote this book to heal herself. Today, her website helps many others who would like to heal their bodies by going on a liver detox diet.
5. Raw food diet – This detox diet is soon gaining popularity. It is based on the fact that when we cook food, it loses the healthy enzymes which naturally detoxify the body. Hence, dieters are recommended to eat only raw foods that are not heated beyond 118 degrees. There are 5 levels, and you can begin from the easiest level and make your way forward.
6. Cabbage soup diet – One of the most popular detox diets, the cabbage soup diet is a 7 day diet that involves drinking only cabbage soup. A few other foods are also included, like skim milk, fruits and vegetables.
What benefits does a Liver Detox Diet have to offer?
While many people believe that liver detox diets can help them clear all collected poisons from the body and help them by improving overall health, others do it because detox diets often result in weight loss. Some even say that detox diets improve energy levels and reduce fatigue, along with improving the immunity of the body against diseases.
Whether you believe these claims or not, the fact remains that a detox diet results in better health. This could mainly be because:
1. You are increasing water and fluid intake
2. Reducing processed, refined and fried food intake
3. Restricting alcohol, drugs and tobacco consumption
4. Limit intake of animal fats and proteins
5. Eat more organic and healthful food
In any case, all the above mentioned things will only result in a healthier body, so there really is no harm in trying a detox diet, even if you are weary that no scientific study validates the effectiveness of a liver detox diet.
The benefits of a good liver detox diet are:
– Improved liver functioning
– Repaired digestive system
– Increased level of healthy bacteria in intestines
– Cleansed bowel system
-Increased blood flow
Many professionals suggest that a liver detox diet is best supplemented with healthy lifestyle changes. Though, the diet could last from anything to 7 to 21 days, it is best to limit intake of processed, refined and fried foods even after the detox diet is over to restrict buildup of toxins again. Also, it is best to aid your body’s natural detox methods by regularly exercising (body removes toxins in sweat) and taking sauna and steam baths.
5 Dos and Don’ts of Liver Detox Diets
While a liver detox diet can be great for anyone who wants to boost their metabolism and flush out toxins, it is best to remember a few things.
1. Even though a detox diet can result in temporary weight loss because of a calorie deficit created, it is not advisable to stay on such a diet for longer periods of time. That will do more harm than good, as the body becomes deprived of essential nutrients.
2. The body naturally detoxifies itself because of the healthy bacteria in the colon that eliminated chemicals and toxins through urine, feces and sweat. A detox program only enhances these processes, hence must not be done too often.
3. If you are using an herb, diuretic or laxative to aid your detox program, always talk to a doctor before doing this. These can cause mineral imbalances and dehydration in some cases and must never be used without a prior approval from the doctor.
4. While fasting once in a while is good, prolonged fasting done too often will slower down your metabolism, negating the good effects of any detox diet. Also, many doctors notice that eating disorders are more common with those who are pro-fasting.
5. Do not go on a liver detox diet is you are diabetic, have an eating disorder, suffer from a heart condition, are pregnant or are below 18 years of age.
Liver Detox Diets can be great; this kind of a detox does comes with many merits that cannot be ignored, so it definitely is worth trying out, provided you understand WHY you should do these, HOW to do these and WHAT to expect from them. If you can do the diet right, keeping in mind that even good habits need to be practiced within limits, then these can truly be the secret to your good health and great shape!