You have probably heard of cleansing or detoxing, but you may wonder what it really does, and if you should try it. Most cleanses/detoxes consist of a very limited diet, usually all plant based, sometimes excluding grains, and often just consist of juices.
Proponents of cleansing claim it rids your body of toxins, helps you lose weight, helps you focus, and gives you energy. Some even believe that it can help prevent disease.
Opponents claim your body does this anyway, so you don’t need to cleanse and that any weight you lose is water weight and will come back quickly. They even point out that it can be dangerous to go long periods of time without any food.
So, who do you believe? Well, there is no scientific evidence to prove the positive benefits of cleansing, but who knows, that could change. But, whether the benefit are real or not, you should never give up a balanced diet for very long and cleansing can be dangerous for those with health problems, children, teenagers, pregnant or nursing mothers, or older adults. And, as with any diet, you should consult your physician before beginning.
As for my personal experience, I have done several cleanses over the years and found them beneficial. I have lost a small amount of weight and not all of it came right back. The ones I have done, did give me energy and focus – though WebMd cautions that this high can be addictive and is a reason to be cautious about cleanses. But, one of the reasons I cleanse occasionally is a reason I have not seen in my research. After the holidays, vacations, etc., I find myself having had too much unhealthy food and nothing seems to taste quite right. I often overeat at these times trying to find something to satisfy me, but never finding it. I feel like a cleanse sort of resets my appetite. Food tastes good again, and consequently I actually eat less because what I do eat is more satisfying.
I will have to say that not every experience I have had cleansing was good though, so be careful! My husband and I recently tried a cleanse and only made it about half way through. The meals had an enormous amount of fiber. Fiber is good, right? Well, yes, and maybe it was because we had been eating so poorly over the holidays, but it made us physically ill. Now, we were not eating anything unusual, just unusual combinations and amounts, so if you decide to cleanse, listen to your body. Had we stopped a bit sooner, it might have ended better. Not everything is for everyone.
This article is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult a physician before making dietary changes.