Have you ever been seduced by the phony weight-loss claims of popular detox diets?
You’re not alone. These days, everyone’s looking for a quick fix and multiple ads screaming at us to pop the latest pills and/or try “miracle” liquid diets can be very persuasive.
Perfectly smart, sane women I know have completely lost their minds over these fad diets and been very disappointed with the results.
Leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured) says this isn’t surprising given detox diets are a sham and can do way more harm than good.
Susie, who recently launched her new program: Shape Me, The 30 Day Plan, says our bodies are already highly efficient at waste removal.
“The first thing to keep in mind when considering a detox or period of rapid weight loss is that the body does not actually need to be detoxed – the liver and the kidneys already do a very good job of this,” Susie says.
“And for this reason, any pack of pills and potions that cost $39.99 and promise you the world are not likely to really be doing much at all!
“But what tends to happen is when people follow a strict regime, they lose weight quickly (or fluid) and think it is the detox diet when really it is just not eating much at all, or plenty of fresh food without the caffeine, sugar and processed foods,” Susie says.
“Poor diets without adequate fluid and fibre can mean we feel less than our best and think a detox program will fix that – instead, it just gives us something specific to follow.”
And here’s the important health warning, ladies: these bogus detox diets are not good for you, despite what clever marketers would have us believe, and do not provide any actual benefits.
“In general, anything that eliminates a large number of food groups; or encouraging no food is not safe or healthy long-term,” Susie says. “The dangers can include a reduction in metabolic rate as our body breaks down muscle to fuel itself; hunger; fatigue; abdominal distress; diet cycling and becoming obsessed with food.
“And another big issue I have with commercial detox programs is that they also may contain a number of additives which can potentially give cause for concern.
“While we do need a certain number of vitamins and minerals to allow our body to function optimally, more and more of these essential nutrients are not a good thing, and in fact could even be toxic long-term.
“For this reason, any program that encourages multiple vitamins, supplements, herbs and powders should be approached with extreme caution. Even the good, old ‘protein shake’ needs to be checked, as many varieties contain the full ratio of essential nutrients which means that consuming several of these a day may leave you vulnerable to constipation and exposed to a toxic level of some nutrients.”
So, is good, old-fashioned regular exercise and a balanced diet still our best fast track to weight loss?
“Yes, boring but yes!” Susie says. “I also recommend calorie control, plus more fruit and vegetables; less crap and lots of movement.
“Eliminate all of your processed foods, cakes, bars and snacks and simply get all of your nutrition for a week or two from clean, whole foods.
“While it may not sound as flash as the latest and greatest program, you are guaranteed to feel better, lose weight and save some serious cash in the process, without doing any possible damage to your body long term.”
Meanwhile, the Dietitian’s Association of Australia (DAA) has also publicly condemned detox diets, saying the science shows they’re dangerous and they make bogus claims.
DAA spokeswoman Simone Austin, a Melbourne-based dietitian, says detox diets are to be avoided. “Do not believe the hype,” Simone says. “Don’t get sucked in by the fad.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“There’s no scientific evidence that shows detox diets actually work. And healthy adults have extraordinary systems for removing toxins from our bodies every day.
“Our lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system remove and neutralise toxic substances within hours after we eat them.
“For most of us, we can improve our diets simply by increasing our vegetable consumption in particular.”
Simone also believes detox diets are “unnecessarily restrictive and for some people, they can be very dangerous”.
In addition, consumer watchdog, Choice Magazine, via choice.com.au, recently released a report condemning the growing popularity of detox diets, juice diets and highly restrictive eating regimes.
It put 10 popular detox diets and pills to the test, including Pure Natural Health Australia’s Lemon Detox, $87, as endorsed by none other than American reality star/socialite Kim Kardashian, through to the Skinny Mini 5 Day Detox and Weight Loss Program, $44.95.
And the results were conclusive: while they encourage a healthier lifestyle, detox diets do not work, contain potentially dangerous ingredients and have no real health benefits whatsoever.
We savvy consumers are warned to be very wary of any marketing claims on detox products, such as “aids” and “assists”, which largely absolve manufacturers.
Susie Burrell’s new e-book Change Your Mindset And Lose Weight Fast: The Motivation You Need To Lose Weight is out now. Visit www.shapeme.com.au or www.susieburrell.com.au.
What do you think? Have you ever been conned by a detox diet?
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