With the imminent arrival of bikini season comes a renewed commitment to getting in shape. It’s for this reason that detox diets are popular around this time of the year, but are they necessary? And more importantly, are they safe?
Many health enthusiasts claim that detoxing is essential to give our bodies a break from the pollutants and chemicals we consume every day via our diet. Detoxes are believed to restore balance in our bodies thereby improving digestion, boosting energy, improving mental clarity and inducing weight loss.
What does a detox diet look like?
Detox diets come in many different forms. Some are liquid “cleanses,” others involve eating a select few fruits or vegetables, while others require taking myriad supplements and eating very little. Due to the low kilojoule intake characteristic of these diets you can expect to experience low blood sugar levels, fatigue, light-headedness and punishing hunger for the duration of the detox. The absence of healthy dietary fats can also cause low body temperature, a lack of satiety and a depressed frame of mind. You’ll no doubt lose weight, but you’ll also lose electrolytes, water and possibly muscle mass. Plus, you’ll likely pile the weight back on once you resume your normal diet. Repeated detox diets can cause nutritional deficiencies and wreck your metabolism. It’s worth noting that there’s very little evidence in support of these diets.
Reboot your diet the smart way
There are some good principles in detoxes that are worth applying if you want to slim down for summer. Incorporate them into a balanced eating plan and you’ll get results without feeling like you want to crawl under a rock and die. It might take a little longer to lose weight, but the weight will stay off and you’ll have a healthy glow to go with your slimmer self. Here’s how to detox the safe (and sane) way:
• Boost your intake of antioxidants with brightly coloured fruit and veg, including berries, red and yellow bell peppers, beetroot, spinach and broccoli.
• Include onions, garlic and eggs in your diet – they contain compounds that are naturally detoxifying.
• Avoid processed foods. Cook from scratch and add flavour to food with herbs, spices and olive oil.
• Snack on small portions of fruit and raw nuts.
• Avoid sugar and baked goods. Most store-bought bread is loaded with unhealthy ingredients; if you can’t live without bread – consider baking your own.
• Replace creamy coffees and sugary teas with herbal teas. Peppermint tea in particular is great for digestive function.
• Eat plenty of fish and reduce your consumption of meat.
This eating plan can easily become a way of life. It’s kind to your body and the benefits are lasting.