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5 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Detoxing: A Doctor Explains

Tired or sick

While it’s normal to feel somewhat fatigued during the first few days of detox, most experience more energy and sleeping better once they’ve adjusted. Mostly, detoxing shouldn't make you feel tired or sick.

Part of the reason for this is that your body is doing less work digesting, which means you’re getting the benefit of that saved energy.

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Your body doesn't need outside help to detox
Your body doesn't need outside help to detox

Your body is capable of handling toxin removal on its own.

It's true that things like a regular habit of drinking too much can eventually hurt your body's ability to maximize these processes, but even the best detox plan probably won't diminish that effect.

Detoxing is not an easy fix

After a whole year of binging on unhealthy and processed foods, the post-New Year's detox can feel right. People love a shortcut. The problem is that shortcuts just not sustainable.

True health is about making long-lasting changes that you can stick to, and that's the opposite of what a detox really is.

Slashing certain macronutrients

Carbs, protein, and fat are the trifecta of perfection for keeping your body healthy.

  • Carbs offer both physical and mental fuel
  • Protein helps keep you full and is the building block of muscle
  • Fat is satiating and often has skin-improving antioxidants.

When you eliminate these important nutrients, you may see slowed metabolism from drastically decreasing calories, dry skin, decreased energy, and crankiness.

The word "detox" is used in 2 different ways
The word "detox" is used in 2 different ways
  • Medical detoxification programs that help people with serious alcohol or drug problems to get clean.
  • Home detox diet marketed to us with promises to rid our bodies of “toxins”. There are no sufficient findings to support its benefits in the long term, but people still find it appealing.
Our body has its own detoxing mechanism

Your body is constantly detoxing itself without special teas, juices or diets. You can help it to do its job by eating a healthy diet, drinking water, taking regular exercise and getting the sleep you need. 

Use detox as a metaphor...

... for changing old habits. Perhaps you should think of a detox as a new start, a metaphor for shedding old habits, rather than something that flushes impurities from your gut and your organs. 

Detoxing is a hoax
Detoxing is a hoax

There's no evidence that drinking a series of juices, teas, or any of other so-called 'detox' products does anything besides profit the people selling them.

There are no shortcuts to health.

Toxins and our urge to detoxify

A toxin is something that can be harmful to you, but this is about as broad a term as it gets. There's a spectrum; toxicity depends on what it is and how much you take in.

The urge to detoxify your body when a new year starts has nothing to do with a buildup of toxins. Feeling bloated and fatigued is the result of the all the holiday eating.

Your liver helps you detoxify

Everything you eat goes to your liver and it determines what to do with the components of what you've ingested:

If it's something useful the liver sends it out into circulation, but if it's not immediately usable or could be harmful, your liver has enzymes to neutralize it and send it off as waste to be removed from the body through urine, mostly. The best you can do to help your liver out is to hydrate and exercise.