Do Detoxes Really Work? The Truth behind Detoxing and Cleansing Trends
Looking to reveal a healthier you?
Let us help you navigate the truth behind detoxes and cleanses – subscribe today
Who wants to detox their system and cleanse themselves of all of the excesses that have accumulated from years of over-indulgence? Who wants to lose weight fast, improve their skin and undo the damage of excessive eating and drinking? We’d wager a fair few of you. The idea that we can deep clean our bodies and kick start radical weight loss is incredibly seductive, especially if we’ve indulged during the holidays. But is there any truth to the detoxification and cleansing claims? Can the booming detox industry, with its supplements, teas, restrictive diets and “medical” procedures, really deliver its promise of washing away all of the waste and toxins in your body to reveal a healthier you?
Before you dust off your juicer, cancel your plans and tentatively call a colonic irrigation clinic, arm yourself with the facts. At the core of the Louise Parker Method is a dedication to tangible scientific evidence and real-life, long-term and sustainable solutions — we believe that educating yourself and thinking successfully is the key to both weight loss and lifestyle transformation.
In this post, we take a look at the truth behind detoxes and cleanses, including what they claim to do, how they work and why they aren’t as promising as they may appear.
What’s the Idea behind Detoxing and Cleansing?
The word detox was first used to exclusively describe the period of time during which people with alcohol, drug or other dependencies weaned off their addictions through a carefully constructed program of withdrawal. These detoxes and processes of cleansing are life-saving interventions for people suffering from dangerous addictions and can be painful, difficult and full of complex side-effects — it’s a far cry from the holistic detoxes that we’ve come to know today.
While these detoxes still have their vital place in rehabilitation clinics and elsewhere, the overall concepts of detoxing and cleansing have undergone a PR overhaul. Plastered over Instagram, health magazines and celebrity programmes, the contemporary detox is a catch-all phrase for a whole host of non-traditional diets, fasts, pills and procedures that claim to reset your metabolism, burn fat, improve skin tone and revive and rejuvenate your bodily systems. So far, so tempting, right?
The new world of detox also has a new enemy: toxins. Supporters of contemporary detoxes claim that the world is packed full of harmful chemicals and toxins; supposedly, they’re in our food, the air and even lurking within our own colons — it’s a scary thought. These toxins, they claim, contribute to weight gain, lethargy, skin conditions and a host of nasty diseases and illnesses. The modern-day detox proposes itself as the solution — a toxin-fighting and fat-busting magical cure. But do they work?
Busting Detoxing and Cleansing Myths
Today, the detox industry is booming with thousands of products, procedures and diets available for a fee and without prescription, but is there any scientific evidence behind their claims? In a 2009 study, the scientists at Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of fifteen detoxing products commonly sold in pharmacies and supermarkets. They were looking for any evidence behind the magical cleansing claims that these products advertised, yet not one of the manufacturers could actually identify how the products could detoxify the body or name any of the toxins that they were supposedly targeting.
There is no solid science to support the notion that our bodies require further detoxing, nor that there are any chemicals or toxins posing a threat that our bodies can’t fight themselves. No matter how well packaged or highly praised by influencers, there’s no convincing scientific evidence that shows special teas, extreme diets or invasive practices can detoxify the body. The idea that you can simply flush your body of all impurities and deep clean your organs is at best pseudo-science and at worst a dangerous scam with some serious side effects.
But what about all those celebrities who claim they’ve dropped unbelievable weight from doing a detox? Well, of course, if you starve yourself, you likely will drop a few pounds, but it won’t be sustainable and it certainly won’t be long term. Losing weight quickly through a quick-fix detox is a false economy — the weight you lose will often be mainly water weight and muscle mass from not meeting your protein needs, once lost, it will come back again. Severe calorie restriction can even inhibit your weight loss goals by slowing your metabolism and making long-term weight loss and weight maintenance harder.
The Dangers of Detoxification
Research from Harvard University shows that cleansing, purging and fasting traditionally associated with detoxing and cleansing fads are not only scientifically dubious but also potentially dangerous. Many detoxes and cleanses promote drastic calorie cutting and extremely restrictive diets that exclude whole food groups. These diets eliminate critical nutrients like protein, which are necessary for the proper functioning of your bodily systems, and starve you of the energy necessary to fuel your body. Prolonged juice cleanses have also been proven to lead to an imbalance of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which can result in dehydration, nausea and even malnutrition.
The external processes of cleansing are equally dangerous. Detox fans will often tout the importance of cleansing your body of plaques of waste lurking within your colon that release disease-causing toxins into your system. But colon cleanses are widely disregarded by medical experts, who warn that colonics can perforate the bowel and the walls of the intestine. Equally, they confirm that although faecal translation and gut bacteria have an impact on weight, that these so-called ‘plaques’ don’t really exist.
Alongside the physical dangers, there are also the emotional and mental issues arising from following programmes that encourage extreme restriction and feelings of guilt about what you eat. Our bodies are incredible and to imagine it as a dirty and overladen system, slowed down by toxins and waste, is a dangerous game to play with your mental well-being. The ups and downs caused by hormonal imbalances as a result of these fad diets can lead to feelings of depression, worthlessness and hopelessness, and becoming fixated with the little progress you might make during a detox or cleanse can lead you down a slippery slope towards only feeling good when you’re depriving your body of the food it needs.
A Healthy Alternative to Detoxes
Although fad products and diets that promise to detox the body are dubious, the symptoms that they promise to fight often feel far too real. Many of us suffer from sluggishness, dull skin, weight management problems and feelings of bodily lethargy, and it’s easy to consider a cleanse as the solution. But if this isn’t the right route to take, what is? Unlike detox fads that lack scientific backing, our method is built on a strong foundation of scientific research and tangible evidence. We encourage our clients to work with their body, not against it, to maintain and improve its natural systems.
Our bodies are incredibly complex and already function as an all-natural detoxing machine. Our largest organ, the skin, provides the first line of defence and ensures that no harmful substances make their way into our bodies, while our airways trap and expel particles, our lungs purify the air we breathe in, our intestines eliminate parasites and draw nutrients into the blood, our liver filters out toxins and digests nutrients in our food, and our kidneys expel toxins through our urine. Our bodies are constantly detoxing themselves — our method is designed to complement that by making sure that these natural processes are running optimally.
Through our unique four-pillar approach — eat beautifully, exercise intelligently, think successfully and live well — our carefully recruited qualified registered dietitians and personal fitness trainers tailor-make programmes that aid the body’s natural detox processes. We focus on a balanced diet, regular and effective exercise, better quality and quantity of sleep and positive habits to encourage long-term and sustainable lifestyle transformations in a safe and nurturing environment.
To discover how the Louise Parker Method can help you to achieve sustainable and incredible results, contact us today for a free consultation.
Receive 10 free recipes to your inbox!
Sign up and we will send you 10 free recipes