The Healthiest Cleanse You Can Do!

by Bailey Green, Registered Dietitian on August 8, 2016

Summer is here! Unless you’ve somehow managed to avoid social media, magazine covers, and TV commercials, you’ve probably noticed that the claims to help you lose weight quickly and get that “ perfect summer body” are absolutely everywhere.

In the world of extreme diets, cleanse diets are huge. This is especially true when warmer weather rolls around. In a last minute struggle to lose weight, it can seem tempting to turn to a cleanse as an easy fix. After all, many of them require only several days and boast spectacular claims. These claims include, but are not limited to, weight loss, the removal of toxins from the body, elimination of certain illnesses, increased energy, and more. On top of these claims, there are many different types of cleanse diet. Nowadays, you can complete these diets by doing anything from drinking nothing but tea for days, to using a laxative preparation every morning. Sound like fun yet?

The first thing that you need to know about these cleanses is that our body does a pretty amazing job at removing toxins all by itself. The lungs, kidneys, intestines, liver, and skin, all do a good job of eliminating toxins all by themselves. As a matter of fact, if these systems aren’t working properly, it’s more likely that you’d need medical treatment instead of juice!

Do you have a friend that lost weight drinking special juices or teas? It’s more than probable that the weight loss can be chalked up to starvation rather than the use of juice. Many cleansing diets are extremely low calorie and must be followed for an extended period of time. Despite the energy boost claims, going this long without a regular diet this can lead to low energy – not to mention the crankiness that comes with being starving. The weight loss that does occur is often short-lived as well, as the weight tends to come back after re-introducing a regular diet. Other negative side effects of cleanse diets include cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. If you’re doing a cleanse for weight loss, it’s unlikely that you want to end up uncomfortably bloated and nauseous!

If you’re looking to reap the “cleansing” benefits of these diet without going to extreme lengths to do so, there are some simple steps that you can take! Seek out fibre-rich foods such as bran products, flax seed, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) and fruit and vegetables. Adults need between 21 and 38 grams of fibre per day, depending on age and gender. Unfortunately, most Canadians aren’t getting nearly enough. Add fibre to your diet slowly, and get lots of water while doing so to avoid potential discomfort. Adding physical activity can also help you feel better, aid in digestion, and can also help you reach your fitness/weight loss goals.

The bottom line: If it it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately, there is no long-term evidence that is supported by science to indicate that cleansing diets help bowel health or help to achieve long-term weight loss. Adding lots of fluid, fibre, and balanced calories is your best bet

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