Detox Diets May Be Doing More Harm Than You Think

Detox diets are short-term dietary interventions that aim to rid the body of toxins and help promote weight loss. They typically involve juice cleanses, periods of fasting, supplementation, and strict plant-based diets (via Medical News Today). While detox diets are often marketed as a way to flush out your system and cleanse your body, they are largely unnecessary. That's because your body already has its own detoxification system involving the liver, kidneys, and skin. In fact, your body has several processes, like sweating and urinating, that help remove any potential toxins and unwanted substances from your system. 

There is no concrete evidence to suggest that detox diets even work. According to a 2015 review in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, studies examining the effects of detox diets are limited and often only tested on animals. The review also found that there have been no randomized controlled trials conducted to assess the effectiveness of commercial detox diets in humans.

Detox diets can be bad for your health

Not only are detox diets unnecessary and unhelpful, some of them might actually be doing more harm than you may realize. Wired reports that detox diets like coffee enemas can lead to rectal perforations, bacterial infections, and weakened bowel movements, while fasting can significantly reduce calorie and nutrient intake, which can actually slow down your metabolism and cause fatigue and malnutrition.

And if you think flushing out your system by upping your water intake, even with fruit or vegetable-infused H20, is helpful, think again. Excessive water consumption can lead to hyponatremia, a serious condition that drastically lowers the amount of sodium in your blood. Experts agree that there's really no need to go on a detox diet. "Many detoxes leave you feeling drained and sluggish," Rachael Link, a registered dietician in New York, told Wired. "Following a healthy diet is the most effective way to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to detox all on its own." You can do this by adding more vegetables, grains, and healthy fats to your daily diet.