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Should You do a Detox Diet?

Are detox diets and cleanses worth the money? Is this something your body needs to do? Our registered dietitian says it isn't necessary. Here's why:

We've all heard of the many cleanses and detox diets on the market, but is this something you really need to do? Should you detox your body, and is it worth the money for these diets? Our Chief Medical Editor, Dr. Preeti Parikh, speaks with registered dietician Sharon Richter to get the facts on detoxes. 

First, Sharon Richter explains how our bodies are very sophisticated, our liver and kidneys will naturally remove most of the toxins within our bodies, so you really don't need to worry about cleansing your body with a detox diet or detox drink. 

Sharon does mention that sometimes during certain times of the year like the holiday season, you may feel like you've eaten really poorly and would like to do something to get back on track. Here, Sharon recommends a cleanse for a couple of days to help you get back on track to eating healthy. However, you don't need to spend money on a detox program, something as simple as eliminating all packaged goods for a few days and only eating natural and fresh foods will also do the trick.

But what if you do choose to try a detox diet or diet cleanse program, are there any risks to your body? Sharon explains that you should remember that most of these detox diets are very low in the amount of calories you consume, so your energy level won't be normal. In fact, you might find it difficult to exercise or even just get through your normal daily activities. 

Another factor to consider is that some detox diets may also be quite high in sugar and fruit based.  Many also have very limited protein. Due to this, Sharon recommends that those living with diabetes stay away from detoxes and cleanses. 

Also, with the lack of protein in many of these diets, everyone should be careful with exercising as you won't be doing any muscle repair, and your body may begin to start using some of your existing muscle as a protein source. 

The bottom line: you do not need to do a detox diet or a cleanse for your body, as your body naturally eliminates toxins. You should also carefully consider any programs you are thinking of purchasing or enrolling in, as you do not need to spend the money. You can try to eliminate unhealthy or processed foods for a period of time to get back on track by creating your own cleanse of unprocessed food. Finally, you should always be careful of sugar and protein levels while on a cleanse or detox diet as this can impact your daily routine and exercise. 

Sharon Richter

This video features Sharon Richter. Sharon Richter is a registered dietitian with a private nutrition practice in New York City.

Duration: 1:43. Last Updated On: Nov. 10, 2015, 3:10 p.m.
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh, . Review date: Nov. 7, 2015
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