It sounds tempting in the New Year, when your liver’s feeling pickled and you never want to set eyes on a bottle of wine again, to detox – but there are really valid reasons why you should avoid the temptation of a January purge…
1. You have perfectly good organs to detox for you
Your liver, kidneys, lungs and skin are among the organs that do a brilliant job of detoxifying. Yep, before you head helter-skelter to that green juice binge and colonic irrigation, just remember that you have excellent, efficient detoxifying organs already.
Compromise: If you want to give your liver a hand, try cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink on a permanent basis. Distributing your 14 units evenly over the course of the week will do far more good than any short term cleanse.
2. Detox plans invariably involve eliminating key food groups
Whether you’re undergoing the cult master cleanse, a green juice diet or a dairy/wheat/anything-worth-eating elimination diet, going short on food groups such as dairy, other protein sources, whole grains and similar starchy foods can leave you depleted in essential minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, B vitamins and magnesium.
Compromise: There’s no harm in cutting out refined foods and sticking to meat, fish, dairy, and plenty of salads for a few days. By including essential nutrients found in these foods the most likely side effect is boredom.
3. You may end up over restricting your calorie intake
Depending on the form of the detox diet, you may often find your kilojoule intake falls way below daily recommendations. Your ideal daily kilojoule intake is ultimately determined by your height, build and activity levels although current UK government recommendations are 10 500 kilojoules for men and 8 500 for women. A juice-only plan, or one that restricts both food type and portion, would supply you with around 2 500 kilojoules.
Compromise: By all means cut out surplus calories from your diet: ditching alcohol, sweet treats, oversized portions and mindless snacking will in itself have a positive effect on energy levels and waistline.
4. It’ll be harder to maintain your exercise regime while detoxing
Going low on nutrients and calories will make any workout seem tough going, but take away caffeine, much maligned by detox devotees, and you lose a faithful fitness friend that often pushes you through that six o’clock slump.
Compromise: If you’re determined to reduce your usual food intake for whatever reason, compromise by cutting down on your exercise regime. Forcing your body to power through your usual workout on too-little-fuel is mean at best and could result in storing up trouble in the not-too-distant future.
5. You’ll unlikely lose weight in the long term
Following any stringent diet regime for a sustained period of time is likely to be impossible. Once the novelty of baffling friends with brightly coloured drinks and potions wears off you’ll be craving that Friday night pizza before you can say ‘milk thistle’.
Compromise: If you want to lose weight, detox isn’t really your best bet. But to drop a few inches before doing it all again at Easter by all means take the healthy bits you need from a detox: rehydrate well, rest plenty and avoid processed foods. Bingo!
6. You’ll probably end up out of pocket
Hard to believe when you’re existing on dust and water but you’ll be amazed at how the little extras can add up even when you’re depriving yourself. The obligatory organic fruit and veg is without a doubt more expensive, while the cost of additional supplements will soon rival any Christmas shopping bill you’re still reeling from.
Compromise: You don’t need to do a detox to treat yourself to some of the finer things in life. By all means splash out on some organic meat while citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons and limes is considered to have higher levels for pesticide residue so could be worth the investment.
7. You’ll feel sad when you look at normal food
Be honest – you probably agree that life’s too short to turn down a slice of your mum’s lemon drizzle cake for a sachet of miso soup. However good your New Year intentions, life will probably get in the way pretty quick if you embark on a detox.
Compromise: Make 2017 the year that you plan ahead health-wise. Rather than embrace clichéd boom-bust thinking when it comes to your diet, commit to small, lasting changes instead. Set aside Sunday prepping time for healthy weekday lunches, restrict the all-you-can-buffet to holidays only and temper your midweek Prosecco habit.
From: Good Housekeeping UK