Starting a new year off prioritizing health is a common practice for many, with liquid detoxes being part of some new routines for women. From TikTok videos touting the “best detox drinks,” to even news articles listing the “best juice cleanses,” people are definitely interested in the subject.
However, before you even consider trying this, it’s important to understand how a detox might affect you emotionally and physically, and to be aware of some of the possible dangers. Let’s get into the basics of these detoxes, the myths, and the precautions:
What Is A Liquid Detox?
A liquid detox or cleanse is usually a combination of teas, fruit and vegetable juices and/or spices. They’re very restrictive diets that tend to last a few days but some last up to a few weeks or even a month. The most popular juice cleanses claim to target your liver, colon, and kidneys.
Are They Really Beneficial?
Some detox ads claim that their product can reduce inflammation, help with weight loss, sleep better, and boost your circulation. Experts have said some “healthy detox” habits might be beneficial, such as those in which you remove or limit consumption of certain things like alcohol or sugar.
However, many experts agree that there is very little research on both the benefits and side effects as most studies have been poorly conducted (ie. they haven’t lasted over an adequate period of time, there are poor peer reviews, or there weren’t enough participants).
A juice cleanse can be good for two or three days, but the average cleanse has about 800 calories (depending on the brand and how many packets of a liquid mixture you drink a day). With such a high lack of protein, fiber, and fat, you’re missing out on key nutrients which can put you at risk for malnutrition if done too long.
According to a study done by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have filed many claims and “have taken action against several companies selling detox/cleansing products because they (1) contained illegal, potentially harmful ingredients; (2) were marketed using false claims that they could treat serious diseases.”
Some health cleanses and detox programs can be falsely advertised and be unsafe for you. Please use caution when researching and if you decide to do a health detox, experts recommend, consulting with your doctor before attempting any sort of detox program.
Alternatives To Liquid Detoxes
There are many ways to do a health detox and not all of them are diets. ““To detox in a healthy way, you need to focus on movement and whole foods with healing properties,” nutritionist Keri Glassman, R.D. wrote for Today. She also recommended starting your day with lemon water, enjoying dandelion tea, eating a balanced breakfast and overall clean eating throughout the day as alternatives,
Intermittent fasting, which focuses more on when you eat versus what, or choosing to fast from eating certain foods like gluten or dairy, alcohol, and sugar for spurts of time can also be a great option.
Sitting in a sauna once or twice a week or doing red light therapy can help with detoxification and be an emotionally and physically relaxing experience.
Something important to remember is that our kidneys, liver, skin, lungs, and digestive system work to detox the body naturally so it’s important that we support that process, not hinder it.