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Detoxing: Gamechanger or Gimmick?

Detoxing. You’ve seen and heard it touted everywhere, whether it be the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, the Master Cleanse,  colon cleanses, juice cleanses, or longtime celebrity favorite the Blueprint Cleanse. Yes, detox diets have been all the rage for a few years now. And at one point or another, you’ve probably considered trying one out as a means of dropping stubborn weight or trying to boost your overall health. But is detoxing worth the hype?

The simple answer: Nope. I’m here to tell you the entire concept of detoxing makes absolutely no sense. Why is that? Much as the companies that pump out cleansing juices and supplements might like to tell you otherwise, our bodily organs don’t get loaded up with toxins that way.

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Think about it this way: Your liver is a cleansing system. It functions by absorbing the junk in your body, running it through various chemical processes, and eliminating that in the form of bile. Our liver functions as a built-in detoxing system, meaning that unless you have a diseased liver you’re simply never going to store up toxins there.

The kidneys work in a very similar way to eliminate waste byproducts. Anything that doesn’t get disposed of through the kidneys remains in the bloodstream, not your organs. In other words, if you’ve got functioning kidneys and a working liver, there is absolutely zero science-based reason for detoxing.

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“But Ryan,” you’re probably thinking. “If detoxing doesn’t do any good, then why do so many people who do it lose weight?” That’s a very valid question and one with an equally straightforward answer. When people go on a detox diet for a week or two, they tend to eat less, pure and simple. Their bodies are burning more calories than they’re taking in, which produces a caloric deficit and typically a rather rapid drop in weight.

The problem? It’s not sustainable – in fact, the majority of the time the weight just comes right back the second they begin to eat normally again. And in the meantime, they’ve done nothing to “detox” their system. To the extent people feel healthier, more energetic, etc. during and after a detox diet, it’s due to the placebo effect more than anything else. You want to believe it’s working . . . so you convince yourself it is.

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The upshot here is that if you’re disciplined enough to eat 100% clean, I applaud you. If you like drinking veggie juices every now and then for the nutritional value, by all means continue. But please be honest with yourself about what’s really happening and don’t go dropping money on fancy detox diets hoping to fix a health problem that doesn’t even exist.