To Cleanse or Not To Cleanse

Whether it is to exercise more, eat better, or quit smoking, most New Year’s resolutions are aimed at improving your health. A popular resolution is to go through a “cleanse” or “detox” to jumpstart weight loss or health kick, but are they really helpful?

The short answer:

Probably not.

The long answer:

Some people may feel better after completing a “cleanse” or “detox”, but this is likely in contrast to how terrible they felt during the “cleanse”. Of course you will feel terrible when all you have consumed is: water, lemon juice and maple syrup for example. To make matters worse, there is potential to cause harm to your health. For instance, there is a risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) with a fasting-type cleanse which can cause dizziness, low energy, and may exacerbate some preexisting conditions, like migraines.

“But what about these “toxins” I hear so much about?”

First you need to understand what is meant when words like “toxins”, “detox”, and “cleanse” are used. Simply put, there are a series of enzymes (chemicals that speed up reactions) within the liver that are responsible for eliminating toxins (waste from natural body processes along with external chemicals like drugs). All variations of “cleanses” and “detoxes” claim to help this elimination process. The caveat? A normal functioning liver is extremely efficient at doing this on its own. In addition, no “cleanse” or “detox” has been scientifically proven to help this process of toxin elimination.

“So what should I do?”

The only cleanse that I can truly support is a healthy lifestyle. You may not want or like to hear it, but nothing, especially not a 10 day juicing diet for example, replaces the regular consumption of vegetables and fruit, high quality protein, and healthy fats. Those who say they feel great after a “cleanse” or “detox” would feel better long-term if they took part in a sustainable lifestyle change. 

If you are still interested in taking part in a “cleanse” or “detox”, do it safely and most effectively by working with a registered health professional, like a Naturopathic Doctor.

If you have any questions about this post, don’t hesitate to contact me here or book an appointment!