Want a detox over Christmas? Think again
With the pre-Christmas party season in full swing, many of us (in our vanity) are turning to quick-fix detoxes to help us shed a few pounds and fit into that party dress. Once the Christmas celebrations are over, even more of us will start talking about New Year’s Resolutions, with diet and detoxing sitting at the top of the list. According to Time Magazine, 39.6% of individuals who set New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 were resolved to lose weight, whilst 41.1% opted for the more generic resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. Detoxing has become a key part of this New Year’s health kick, with many people opting for a detox program as a way to kick start a diet plan, and shift as many pounds as possible in as short an amount of time as possible. However what many people are not aware of is just how unhealthy going on a DIY detox really is.
The Dangers of Detox
The FDA has spoken out to warn wannabe detoxers about the dangers of DIY detox, particularly those detox kits which can be purchased on the internet or over the counter in many pharmacies. Many of these kits contain sibutramine (formerly marketed as Meridia) which is a controlled substance that was removed from the market by the FDA in October 2010 due to safety concerns and health risks associated with taking it, but many products containing this substance remain in circulation. Because of the risk that your over the counter detox kit could contain this dangerous substance (which can lead to increased blood pressure and risk of heart failure and stroke) the FDA is suggesting that best practice at this time is simply to avoid DIY detox kits.
Negative Health Effects
DIY detox is generally not a good solution for long term weight loss or other physical change anyway. Whilst some of the principals of detoxification are positive and should be adopted into your everyday life (such as increasing the amount of raw fruit and vegetables you consume, and increasing your water intake to ensure that you drink 8 glasses of water everyday) severely restricting you diet in the short and medium term can actually have a myriad of negative health effects, both in the short and the long term. You are likely to experience frequent urination, loose bowels and digestive discomfort, which may well contribute to weight loss in the short term but only in an artificial way. You will also experience headaches, disrupted sleep patterns, and fatigue; none of which is likely to put you in the party spirit! If you already have any existing health conditions then detox is likely to exacerbate those, and may well put an increased amount of pressure on your heart and other organs. Severely restricting your diet is more likely to lead to short term unpleasant side effects than it is to lead to anything like long term weight loss.
Fasting and extremely restrictive detox can lead to muscle breakdown and a shortage of many needed nutrients. When you do start eating normally again, your body will then also begin to store fat at a faster rate as a response to its previous starvation, meaning that even if you do shift a few pounds during your detox, you will put them back on (and probably more) as soon as your detox is over. The fact is that there are no short term fixes: if losing weight was as easy as detoxing for five days then we would all be walking around with body’s like Cindy Crawford! Weight loss should be a long term plan, it should be gradual, and it will probably feel like hard work. But the only way to lose weight is to reduce your calories in (by eating less) and increase your calories out (by exercising) every day for a significant period of time. So for the good of your health, put that detox program down and focus on losing weight the right way instead.