Why The Cleanse Trend Doesn’t Work

By Leah Recknor, Lifestyle Consultant, St. Cloud Livea

Have you been hearing people talk about doing a cleanse diet or a special detox after the holidays? Have you been thinking about trying a cleanse diet out for yourself? You may have heard of some benefits of trying a cleanse diet, and there may be some, that we will discuss. On the flip side there can also be some big down falls and even dangers as well. It’s important to understand all the pros and cons before testing a diet or detox on ourselves.

Let’s talk about some popular cleanse diets that you may have heard about. First there is the juice cleanse. This cleanse usually consists of raw fruits and vegetables blended to a liquid. There is a colon cleanse, where people use either laxatives, supplements or a colonic using coffee or other liquids to flush out the bowel. The other popular trend is intermittent fasting. This is a diet that restricts the time of day you are eating.

These cleanses claim to rid the body of toxins, help people lose weight and even help with longevity but there is little to no evidence to prove these claims. There is also no evidence of long-term success with weight loss. The juice cleanse can help supply the body with more vitamins. Colon cleanses claims that they help remove toxins from the body, promote better immune function and provide more energy. There is no evidence that can prove these claims. Intermittent fasting diets claim they aid in weight loss by lowering blood sugar and promote longevity by the body entering autophagy. Autophagy means “self-eating”, which is the process of eating and recycling our damaged cells. Studies showed that mice that were fed in a restricted time frame gained the same weight as the non-fasting mice but did show more youthful cells and better immune function.

Some of these claim’s sound enticing, but now let’s discuss the concerns of these trends. When juicing fruits and vegetables many of the fibers can be removed which can speed up the rate of digestion and reduce overall nutrient absorption. The fiber also helps the body feel satiated and naturally removes toxins through bowel movements. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in our gut and supports immune function. There are also risks associated with using green juices that could potentially cause kidney failure. This can occur if there are too many oxalate-rich foods consumed with people suffering from kidney disease. Colon cleanses could be harmful as well. Some of these negative side effects include abdominal pain, diarrhea, dehydration, and nausea. The popular trend of intermittent fasting can have some adverse effects as well if not followed by medical supervision. When intermittent fasting there can be low dips in blood sugar and large spikes when food is reintroduced. There is also a risk of dehydration and having your electrolytes out of balance. Some people can become weak, fatigued or even lightheaded when fasting.

All these cleanse trends not only have some health risks associated with them but also have not been evaluated by the FDA or have any real scientific research proving their claims. These trends tend to be low in calories that reduce our energy levels and disrupt our blood glucose levels. Most of the weight lost from these trends is water loss in the body and fecal waste.

The best thing we can do for our bodies is to help keep our cleansing organs healthy. This is our liver and our kidneys. These organs filter out excess toxins and waste from the blood stream through your urine. By maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, doing moderate exercise, and staying clear of pollutants, chemicals, and drugs, you will ensure your detoxifying organs perform at their optimal.

Resources:

https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/autophagy.html

https://www.nursingcenter.com/ncblog/october-2019/cleanse

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/harvard-health-ad-watch-whats-being-cleansed-in-a-detox-cleanse-2020032519294

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-you-planning-a-cleanse-or-detox-read-this-first/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/detox-diets/faq-20058040