April 21, 2022 Healthy Living

Thinking about starting a detox diet? Read these 3 facts first

While detox diets and cleanses may sound like a great way to kick-start losing weight, they often come with health risks and side effects. And none of these diets have proven to be effective in the long term.

So, before you start a detox diet, you should consider these three important facts:

Fact 1: Your body already has a detoxification system.

healthy diet

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, your body works around the clock to remove internal toxins like lactic acid and urea and external toxins like pesticides and chemicals when you breathe, sweat, or go to the bathroom.

Want to support your body’s natural detox system? You can:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a healthy diet, including lean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Fact 2: Detox diets can cause serious side effects.

Drinking only certain juices or teas or eating only certain foods are often key factors of detox diets. And some include herbs, supplements, or laxatives. Severely limiting your diet or adding certain substances can sometimes cause harmful side effects.

For example, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

  • Some detox juices are high in oxalate (10 mg or more per serving). While oxalate is found in healthy foods like spinach and beets, drinking large quantities can increase the risk for kidney issues.
  • Drinking only water or herbal tea and not eating anything for days in a row can lead your body to an electrolyte imbalance.
  • Laxatives can cause you to have diarrhea and become dehydrated. Fiber and water are a healthier way to clean out your system.

Fact 3: Some detox products are dangerous.

According to the NIH, some detox juices have not been treated to remove harmful bacteria that can make people sick. Those especially at risk are children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

The NIH and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration report that several companies have been caught using illegal ingredients in their detox products or selling products under false claims or for unapproved uses. Some illegal ingredients can have dangerous interactions with prescription drugs.

Better alternatives

Person wondering about best approach

Instead of trying a detox diet that may not work or potentially cause unwanted side effects, get help that will provide you with lasting results.

  • Talk to your provider or a registered dietitian to build a diet plan that best fits your needs.
  • Use resources available to you through your CDPHP health plan.
    • You may be eligible for Foodsmart*, a digital nutrition platform to help you make healthier food choices at home and on the go.
    • Depending on your plan, you could receive up to $100** when you complete a qualified weight loss program.

*Participation with this service is dependent on plan type. Please check your member contract or call the number on your ID card to see if you’re eligible.

** This reimbursement is available once per member, per benefit period. Maximum reimbursement is $75 for Federal plan members and individual Medicare members, as well as some self-funded members.

Sarah Bowman
About Author

Sarah Bowman joined CDPHP® in November 2020 as a communications specialist. A life-long lover of words, Sarah brings the team 20 years of editing and writing experience gained through her positions at a digital media company, public relations agency, and book publishing house. She attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY where she received her BA in Public Communications. Sarah currently resides in the Capital Region with her husband and son where she enjoys long family walks, Broadway shows, and finding the next great streaming series to binge.

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