Who needs a detox

Detox diets

The aim of so-called "detox diets" is to cleanse and detoxify the body. This should be freed from possible undesirable substances such as chemicals and pollutants during a detox diet. In recent times, detox diets are mainly in the form of Detox diets back in vogue.

Detox dieters believe that nowadays so many toxins and pollutants are being absorbed that the body can no longer completely excrete them. These undesirable substances are supposed to be deposited as so-called "waste products" in organs and connective tissue. In addition to an unhealthy diet with additives and a lot of fat and sugar, nicotine, alcohol, environmental toxins and stress are also suspected as causes. Regular detox cures should be skin, Remove toxins and cleanse the lymphatic system, intestines and internal organs.

Sequence of a detox diet

Usually a detox regimen is one pure juice treatmentwhich is carried out over a few days. A detox or detox diet is roughly equivalent to alkaline fasting (acid-forming foods are avoided, base-forming agents are preferred). Initially, a special tablet or capsule is usually used Bowel movementThis is also known as "Colon Cleansing" among detox fans. Various supplementary products can be purchased (e.g. Colon Ex in combination with Acai berry capsules) that contain cleansing and detoxifying substances that promote digestion, should positively change the intestinal environment and support the effect of the diet.

On the following juice days, in addition to plenty of water and herbal tea, only fruit and vegetable juices are drunk. The aim is to stimulate the metabolism and digestion. Following the juice days, a high-fiber diet is recommended that consists exclusively of fruit and vegetables or raw vegetable juices. Solid foods are only fed back slowly, following a fasting cure.

Detox diets can go through accompanying applications how massages and baths are complemented. In addition, saunas, yoga exercises and long walks in the fresh air should increase the detoxifying effect. Lately the so-called Detox parties, where the party is celebrated according to detox guidelines and with special detox juices. Some of these parties also contain special exercise units (workouts).

Many different variants of detox diets can be found on the Internet and in the book market, which are advertised with a wide range of health-promoting effects. They are supposed to help with stress, reduce irritability and strengthen the immune system. The individual recommendations are varied and confusing. Some people recommend drinking distilled water, special detox tablets and dietary supplements, as well as detox foot patches.

Examples of detox diets:

  • Master Cleanse Detox Diet (Also Lemon Juice Diet): This is the most famous detox diet. It contains a mixture of cayenne pepper, lemon juice, maple syrup and water. This drink is always drunk when you feel hungry. The Master Cleanse Diet is carried out for a maximum of 10 days.
  • Juice Fast Diet (Juice fasting): Here juices made from fruit and vegetables are on the menu.
  • Mono Fruit Detox Diet: With this type of diet, only the juice of one type of fruit is consumed.
  • Raw Food Detox Diet: With this detoxification concept, only raw vegetables are on the menu.
  • Alleluia Diet: Modification of the raw food detox diet. Consumption of 85% raw food and 15% cooked food (the latter only in the evening). Breakfast is not served, instead there are special vegetable juices. Drinking water should be distilled, and various dietary supplements are recommended.
  • Diuretic Diet: The focus here is on the consumption of asparagus, artichokes, celery, dandelions, juniper berries, melons, parsley and cress.

To Duration and frequency There are detox diets or detox cures no fixed information. Some followers put in a detox day every week, others do a week or two a year as a regimen.

Detoxification diets an overview of the scientific study situation

Overall, there are no meaningful human studies that examine the effectiveness of detox diets. This is also shown by the review by two scientists, according to which the effects of detox cures have not been proven and clinical human studies on this topic are lacking (Klein and Kiat 2015).

Only in a single human study was it examined whether a special detox program, the so-called lemon detox program (lemon juice diet) can lead to a reduction in body weight, fat mass, lower insulin levels and other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (serum adipokines). For this purpose, 84 overweight Korean women were divided into 3 groups. They either received a so-called lemon detox diet for 7 days or a juice diet or no energy restriction (control group). This was followed by the transition to solid food over 4 days.

Changes in body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and hip-waist circumference were significantly greater in people from the lemon detox group and the juice diet than in the control group. Concentrations of serum insulin, leptin and adiponectin as well as scores for insulin resistance also only decreased in these two groups. The concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) were also reduced under the lemon detox diet. Concentrations of hemoglobin and hematocrit remained stable only under the lemon detox diet, while they decreased in the other two groups.

According to the authors, the lemon detox diet appears to reduce both body fat content and insulin resistance through caloric restriction and has a positive effect on risk factors for cardiovascular diseases without hematological changes (Kim et al. 2015).

A recent review article recently examined various diets (including detox diets, paleo diets, intermittent fasting) with regard to their effectiveness and their risk. It comes to the result that in all of the diets examined here, only the energy restriction is responsible for weight loss, but that above all the study situation as a whole is very weak and not very meaningful for drawing further conclusions (Obert et al. 2017).

Conclusion and nutritional evaluation

From a scientific point of view, it is not necessary to clean the body of pollutants, especially since there is no statement about which toxins or pollutants are involved, and also not about how these should then be broken down. A healthy human body can "cleanse" itself by excreting undesirable substances via the liver, kidneys, intestines, skin and breathing (Wipplinger et al. 2017). The situation is different with "real" poisoning, for example through accidental ingestion of medication or tobacco, whereby appropriate medical measures (e.g. the administration of an antidote) must be taken. However, a juice diet is not helpful in these cases.

Even if the theory of acidic and alkaline-forming foods has not been scientifically proven, an increase in the consumption of vegetables and fruit is to be welcomed from a nutritional point of view. When consuming vegetables and fruit in the form of juice or smoothie, however, it is important to consider that although they provide energy in their liquid form, they are hardly filling. In addition, only a small amount of fiber is supplied to the body in this way.

A detox cure may be an introduction to a change in eating behavior, but should not be done without medical supervision. In the long run, a strict detox diet can lead to a lack of nutrients such as protein and fat. It should also be borne in mind that a very rigid eating behavior with extremely low protein and energy intake can increase the risk of eating disorders.

Children, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not undertake a detoxification cure. People taking medication are advised to seek medical advice.

So far, there is no scientific evidence of the effectiveness of so-called detox or detox diets. To what extent such a diet stimulates the metabolism is questionable. The rapid weight loss is most likely due to the energy restriction alone.

In addition, the short period of time the detox diet is performed is mostly based on a decrease in water, not body fat. As with various fasting methods, the restrictive energy supply can lead to a lowering of the basal metabolic rate, which in turn can promote the yo-yo effect.

Source: German Nutrition Society: Detoxification Diets, Lean During Sleep Diet, HCG Diet - an overview. DGEinfo (3/2018) 39-45