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To Detox or Not?
January 3, 2012
The holidays are over. You survived Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s… Perhaps you indulged yourself a bit too much and now your waistband is a smidge too tight. Or maybe you just feel tired and bloated from too much rich, fatty food and holiday spirits. Perhaps your blood glucose levels are running higher than usual.
It’s not a surprise that New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on losing weight, getting healthier, and feeling better. And like most people, you want the weight off yesterday and you want to feel better now! So, even though, deep inside, you know that the smart, sensible way to lose weight and gain more energy is by taking it slow and steady, some of those quick weight-loss plans seem pretty tempting. Maybe what’s caught your attention is a “detox” diet. What can it hurt, you ask?
Some detox plans last a few days, other last may last a few weeks. One of the more popular detox plans is “Master Cleanse.” If you’re a fan of Beyoncé, you might recall that she did the “Master Cleanse” in order to slim down for the film Dreamgirls. “Master Cleanse” consists of drinking at least two liters each day of the following concoction: lemon juice, maple syrup (the real stuff), and cayenne pepper. Oh, and don’t forget the laxative tea and salt water flushes. The premise of this plan, as with many detox plans, is to flush out toxins, clean out your colon, and provide just enough calories (from the maple syrup) so that you don’t pass out.
While it sounds like a fad diet, “Master Cleanse” has been around for more than 50 years, initially developed to treat ulcers. Will you lose weight on “Master Cleanse”? Sure. Beyoncé lost weight and you likely would, too. The problem, as with most detox plans and other fad diets, is that you’ll regain the weight when you stop detoxing. And you can’t stay on “Master Cleanse” forever without running the risk of doing real harm to yourself. Other detox plans are perhaps less extreme by including fruits and vegetables, along with a lot of juice. It’s no surprise that detox diets have a celebrity following, either. Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah, and Bill Clinton have all jumped on the detox bandwagon at one point or another.
Also, there’s little, if any, evidence that detox diets actually do any good. Some people do report feeling better when on a detox diet and that can be attributed to drinking more water, cutting out alcohol, caffeine, fat, and sugar, and even to being in a state of starvation. When someone is starving, he often feels more energetic and euphoric.
Happy New Year!
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