Everyone’s looking for a quick fix when it comes to health and fitness. Cleanses and detox diets promising 10-20 lbs of weight loss in a matter of days or weeks, are constantly promoted in the media. But do they really work? Are they healthy? Should you try one? We’ve broken down everything you need to know before starting a cleanse below!
What is a cleanse?
Typically, a cleanse is a restricted diet that is meant to clear out toxins from your body to help you lose weight rapidly. It’s like hitting the reset button.
It’s important to note that your body is naturally cleansing all the time. That’s what our liver and kidneys were built to do.
It exits as sweat, urine, and feces.
Popular cleanses remove unhealthy foods from your diets, particularly processed foods, sugar, and grains. Most focus on clearing your digestive tract and giving your body a break, so it flushes out toxins and can digest nutrients quickly. On some cleanses, you may be guided to take supplements or drink specific teas to help.
Should you try one?
If you have to squeeze into a tight dress for a wedding, a cleanse could help do the trick. It’s a great temporary quick fix. In fact, I have a 3 Day Refreash Quick Fix cleanse, which you can follow to drop those last few stubborn pounds before an event.
Recognize that a cleansing diet is not a full on lifestyle change. Once you go back to your normal eating pattern, the weight or water you lost will return.
Cleanses should be looked at as tools and not solutions. A good example is if someone goes on a cleanse to see if they have a food allergy. We go into detail about elimination diets here: Do You Have a Food Allergy, Sensitivity or Intolerance?
Cleanses can be seen as a jumpstart to entering something more long-term. My Ultimate Portion Fix program is a healthy way of eating that works in a lot of the same ways by reducing/eliminating highly processed foods, eating in proper portion sizes and balancing your macronutrients.
Are all cleanses safe?
Be cautious with juice cleanses. They don’t have much fiber and are very high in carbs and sugar. You can suffer from high energy spikes and dips as a result. They can also slow down your metabolism. Juice only cleanses can feel like you are starving yourself and depending on the amount of calories you are (or aren’t consuming), you might be.
Tea cleanses can be tricky as well. Many contain laxatives, that will help you mostly lose water weight. These won’t necessarily help your body fat percentage, even though they can help you feel lighter. If you drink a lot of soda and sugary drinks, adding tea to your diet can be beneficial for you.
Cleanses that encourage you to not eat whole foods for a large period of time, like 7-10 days, are very unhealthy. Consult your doctor, nutritionist, or another health professional before starting a cleanse that lasts for more than a few days.
For more tips on how to cleanse the right way: Week One: Fall Cleansing Series – 15 Tips to Gently Cleanse Your Body to Prepare for Winter