Myths and Facts About Fasting and Detox
Detox diets can be addicting.
Going without food or having an enema can give some people a feeling of being “high,” in much the same way cigarettes or alcohol can. Because of this, some people do them often to get that feeling again.
If you do a detox diet often, you may slow down your metabolism
Detox diets are meant to be short-term. Fasting and cleansing too often can reset your metabolism so it works more slowly. This makes it harder to keep off weight you’ve lost, and you can have trouble losing weight later, too.
A toxin is a harmful substance that comes from your body and enviroment
These are poisons that usually come from a live source like a plant or animal. They’re harmful in your body, whether you eat, drink, or breathe them, or get them through your skin. For example, when you drink too much alcohol, it can damage your organs. And toxins in tobacco are linked to many diseases.
People have detoxed since ancient times
The methods may have changed, but getting rid of your body’s toxins isn’t a new idea. Many religions use fasting as a “purification” practice, and have for thousands of years. And long before the 20th century, doctors regularly used leeches, enemas, and fasting to treat people.
Detox diets will not help you shed fat.
You may lose weight from a detox, but not fat. Detoxing rids your body of water weight and muscle mass. The number on your scale is very likely to go back up once you go off the diet.
Intermittent fasting means eating fewer calories over a few days
The most common way to do it involves “fasting days” — either a couple of days each week or one week out of the month. During fasting days, you eat only about 500 calories, then you go back to normal, healthy eating on other days. It may help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol levels, and ease inflammation. But talk with your doctor for guidance and to see if it’s OK for you.
When you do a “colon cleanse,” you put water through your colon with a tube
Also called a colonic irrigation, it flushes out your colon with gallons of water. A small tube goes into your rectum and streams the water through. Doctors sometimes use it to prep you for things like a colonoscopy. Although doctors do sometimes use it to help with digestive problems, there’s no proof it helps your body rid itself of toxins any better than it already does naturally. If you have digestive issues, gentler ways to help them may include laxatives, probiotics, and exercise.
When you do a juice cleanse, you only drink juice from fruit or veggies
This is an all-liquid diet. Usually, you do it for anywhere from 3 to 10 days. But there’s no research that shows it’s any better for you than simply eating fruits and vegetables.