Detoxes

While detoxes may look like a fad diets – no grains, no alcohol, no milk, no sugar (and no fun) – a detox is far from a quick fix for weight loss.

A detox is a diet plan that requires you to follow a particular programme over a certain period of time in order to cleanse the body. There are many types of detoxes ranging from juice-only type to those that simply stipulate eliminating all sugars, salt, caffeine and alcohol.

What toxins are

Toxins are agents that can potentially harm the body. External (exogenous) toxins are things such as pollution from cars, cigarette smoke, factories and foods; endogenous toxins are viral or bacterial infections and autogenous toxins result from normal cell activity in the body that produce compounds such as lactic acid and ammonia.

What detox diet proponents say

Periodic cleansing is needed to flush toxins from the body that if left to accumulate will lead to health problems such as headaches, sluggishness and chronic diseases.

What the medical experts say

The body already has systems in place that protect us from potentially harmful substances. The liver, intestines, kidneys, lungs, skin, blood and lymphatic systems are all designed to work together to ensure any dangerous toxins are chemically transformed into less harmful compounds that are then excreted from the body.

Will a detox make me feel better?

Those who normally eat an unhealthy diet will naturally feel better when they start eating properly. Most people don't drink enough water or eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables anyway, so simple changes such as boosting hydration and eliminating processed foods will lead to an increased sense of wellbeing.

Our bodies have an amazing detox system already in place and there's no need to spend on expensive treatments and products. The purpose of any detox plan is to take the load off the organs that detoxify the body – the liver, kidneys and bowel – while at the same time supporting and improving their performance. If you want to fast track your health, give your body a break, or just want to detox diet for a short time, follow this safe and do-able seven-day program.

Note: Don't detox if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, elderly, have high blood pressure, are underweight or against your GP's recommendation.

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