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A detox plan often involves making weird green drink concoctions, fasting or masochistic colonics. The problem with these types of detox plans is they often don't work.
Another problem is the meaning of detox has taken on a life of its own. The definition of detox is "abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances".
That definition is general and vague. And it implies that a detox plan will purge all the bad stuff your body has accumulated.
It's also the reason why 40,000 search Google each month for detox drinks. Or why 130,000 search for detox diet. Because, based on the detox vocabulary, you can juice your way out of toxic chemical exposure.
We need to rethink the detox vocabulary. And there are 3 reasons why:
Now there are some foods and supplements included in detox plans that do benefit your health. But not by sucking toxins out of your body fat.
Instead, what they really do is support your body's ability to detox and protect your body from toxic chemical exposure that can't be avoided.
So let's rename this approach to be more accurate. Read on for reasons why we need to stop detoxing and start protoxing.
Have you ever asked someone who promotes detox plans how exactly, and biologically speaking, green juice sucks toxins out of your body. And what types of toxins does it remove? Endocrine disruptors, metals, pesticides?
The idea behind most detox diets is that certain foods and combinations of foods will stimulate your body to release stored toxins. But, according to a 2014 review of the scientific literature by Klein and Kiat "At present there is no compelling evidence to support the use of detox diets for weight management or toxin elimination."
And “Despite the popularity of detox diets, there’s little scientific evidence that they actually remove toxins, improve health, or induce permanent weight loss.” Kavanagh 2017.
Detox plans may also include fasting and colonic cleanses. The idea with fasting is that when you fast, your body burns fat for energy. Burning fat then releases the toxins stored in that fat into your blood where it makes its way to your liver to be broken down and excreted.
BUT - Several studies have looked at the levels of toxins in people before and after drastic weight loss. These studies found that as body fat decreases, most of the toxins in your body are redistributed.
Only a small percentage (15%) is broken down and excreted from your body. The rest of the released toxins enter other body fat and some get circulated through your blood and end up in other organs.
And then there's Colonic Cleansing. The idea behind this extremely unpleasant approach is that you will remove some toxic encrusted material from your colon. And this will reduce the absorption of future toxins.
While this sounds good in theory (if you get past the yuck factor), there is no consistent scientific evidence that this approach will release toxins from your body. And eating high fiber foods will do the same thing.
Plus, these approaches are short term fixes for a long term problem.
Even if somewhere out in the webosphere there was a detox plan that actually did rid your body of toxic chemicals, it wouldn't be enough to protect your health.
You're exposed every day to a barrage of toxic chemicals. Some exposure you can reduce and some you can't.
You want your body to break down these chemicals and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Many toxins do more damage the longer they hang out in your body.(Endocrine disruptors are an exception).
So, if your exposed daily to toxins, how does drinking green juice twice a year really protect your health? You need to be doing realistic things every day to protect your health.
Once you inhale, absorb and ingest toxins they are distributed throughout your body. Your body’s detoxification machine, the liver, then starts the process of breaking down these harmful substances by a complex series of chemical reactions. Your kidneys, lungs, GI tract and skin also play a role in getting rid of toxins.
Many of the herbs and supplements that claim to detox your body or specific organs like your liver and kidneys, really work by supporting your detox system. For example, dandelion is considered a detox herb because it contains nutrients that support your liver function and it increases urine output. Urine is one way toxins are removed from your body.
Reducing your exposure to toxins is what this website is all about. It is a proactive approach to protecting your health. Reducing the amount of toxins that enter your body gives your liver a chance to detox.
But I've come to realize that there are a lot of obstacles in the quest for less toxic living. Plus, there is some toxic chemical exposure that is beyond your control.
For example, You may be able to clean up your indoor air. But what about your exposure to the chemicals in outdoor air?
Because, unlike quick-fix detox plans, a protox plan includes regularly adding foods and occasionally supplements that will not only help your body detox itself but also protect your body from unavoidable toxic chemical exposure.
But really, when you think about it, drinking a cup of ginger tea and eating a handful of blueberries is a whole lot easier than a colonic cleanse! So check out the articles in this section of Nontoxic For Health and get started on your protox plan.