Lemon detox, juice cleanse… it’s that time of year when a detox seems ideal for clearing the holiday excess. But with barely any carbs, fibre or protein to sustain you, detoxes are not nutritionally balanced, and can do more harm than good. Here are five good reasons why you shouldn’t detox.
1. Short-term fix
A detox teaches you nothing about healthy eating. Think of it as a ‘super-extreme diet’, which is more like fasting than dieting.
2. Yo-yo weight loss
You may lose weight quickly on a detox, but once you return to your regular eating habits, chances are you will regain the weight, and possible more.
3. Hunger pains
A detox can leave you so ravenous that you break out and binge on everything in sight, only to then feel the need to detox again. This is ‘disordered eating’ which is the opposite of the mindful eating approach that dietitians recommend, which aims to put you in touch with your body.
4. Social stigma
Eating out with friends can be difficult and frustrating when you’re on a restrictive detox diet, as you can’t share in the food that everyone else is enjoying.
5. Tummy trouble
If you eat no fibre and do little exercise while on a low-food intake, your bowels become sluggish and slow right down. They’re unable to do their job of eliminating waste, leaving you feeling bloated and constipated.
A detox is not the answer to your weight problems. Your body doesn’t ever need to detox — your liver and kidneys do an excellent job of eliminating wastes. But to get your health back on track, try making small changes, such as reducing portion sizes or cutting back on processed food and alcohol.