Diet culture has us believing that if you eat or drink a certain way you have to detox your body from all unhealthy foods.
Detoxing, decluttering, is a common concept for most people, and that is sometimes encompassed by mistakes that a health journey is about eliminating or substituting foods which deprive the body of necessary nutrients.
Lila Bruk, registered dietician and member of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, says we need to approach healthy living in a different way and not in a commercialised manner because that’s where common mistakes are made and can end up putting your life at risk.
“Commercial ‘detox’ programmes, which include juice fasts, eliminating whole food groups, taking laxatives and diuretics, etc, are unnecessary, impractical and in some cases can be harmful.
“In addition, many people abuse these kinds of programmes, by overeating and then compensating by following a strict detox regimen. This way of managing overindulgences can set up a negative relationship with food and is not advisable,” she says.
Can detoxing have some negative effects on your well-being?
The body is well-adapted to detoxifying, with the liver, lungs, skin and kidneys all playing a role in removing excess toxins from the body.
How long should a cleanse last to make it effective or should a cleanse be something that is practised at least regularly?
Bruk asserts that, one doesn’t need to “detox”, due to how efficient the body is in this regard.
Does detoxification actually work?
The body is a self-cleansing organ although some people have genetic variations that can cause the detoxification process in the liver to be slightly delayed, or less efficient.
In these cases, increasing the consumption of vegetables – especially cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – can help to enhance the detoxification process.
What’s the best way to ensure that I consume all the nutrients that my body needs?
The best strategy is to follow a sustainable, balanced eating plan on a daily basis, thus negating the need for detoxing per se.