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Cleanses (also known as detox diets) are very restrictive programs which claim to help you lose weight and rid your body of toxins. They’re a really popular, yet controversial, trend. Many celebrities and social media personalities swear by cleanses to give them an amazing body and glowing skin. However, cleanses are not what they seem. Here are 8 reasons why you should steer clear of cleanses.
The scientific community largely agrees that it’s bogus
It may be surprising to hear that you don’t actually have any reason to detoxify your body (unless you’re a hardcore drug user). All those advertisements may convince you otherwise, but your body was made to naturally get rid of toxins. Your kidneys, liver, skin and lungs all play a role in getting rid of those harmful substances that you’re constantly bombarded with. Any product or program that claims to detox is simply a scam.
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Detoxing can lead to nutrient deficiencies
Many detox regimens are ridiculously strict; they may require drinking only liquids or eating only fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, they usually don’t come with instructions on how to safely incorporate essential nutrients into your diet. This can be dangerous as it deprives your body of nutrients such as vitamin B, protein and good fats. When your body lacks these nutrients, it can cause some serious damage to your immune system and your muscles.
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Eating whole fruits and vegetables is healthier than juicing cleanses
Juicing seems to be all the rage as far as food and drinks go. But, does it really live up to its hype? Probably not. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you’re actually stripping them of the fiber and antioxidants found in their skin and seeds. Fiber is important in giving you the feeling of fullness, so without it, you’ll actually crave more food. Additionally, most fruits and even some vegetables are loaded with sugar and, especially when in liquid form, have the tendency to cause a spike in blood sugar. So, daily juicing should definitely be avoided by diabetics.
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It’s not an effective way to keep weight off
Sure, you may lose weight while on a cleanse, but that’s only because you’re practically starving your body. Consequently, this makes it hard to stick to a cleanse for a long time. Eventually, you’ll miss food so much that you’ll want to devour everything in your local grocery store. This is akin to what’s known as the dangerous yo-yo dieting. The weight lost from the cleanse will not stay off, and you may even gain more after your (temporary) cleanse. It simply makes more sense to make a permanent lifestyle change, such as eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly.
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It can cause constipation
Fiber is interesting because it doesn’t actually get digested by our bodies, it just helps us to digest food more efficiently and pass out waste with ease. Since most cleanses (namely, juice cleanses) contain little fiber, it’s no surprise that you might experience some trouble in the washroom while on a program.
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It has psychological impacts
Unfortunately, cleanses can come with many psychological effects including fatigue, decreased focus levels and an overall feeling of exhaustion. This is the result of not feeding your body what it needs. Cleanses typically involve consuming (juiced) fruits and vegetables, which are a lot less calorie-dense than other food groups. Having insufficient calories and a sudden withdrawal from sugars and caffeine can leave you feeling lightheaded. On top of that, the back-and-forth weight loss and weight gain that result from a temporary detox program can give you a sense of failure, which can be depressing.
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It messes with your thyroid
Your thyroid secretes hormones and plays a big role in growth and metabolism. However, it can’t function properly without an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. Since cleanses are so restrictive and typically don’t involve enough fats and minerals, your thyroid won’t be able to thrive. This can leave you feeling low on energy and may even put you at risk for developing some serious health conditions.
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It can cause heart failure
Cleanses have some very serious side effects, but perhaps most shocking is that certain cleanses can even increase your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Restricting your calorie intake can cause your heart muscle to shrink and damage blood vessels. It’s scary, but that’s the outcome of semi-starvation diets.
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