Its almost New Years and you know what that means? New Years Resolutions! Undoubtedly one of the most popular resolutions involves improving one’s health and fitness. Over 50% of Americans will vow to lose weight come January 1st. And sadly, the majority of them will fall off the wagon by February 1st *. The reason that many people find it hard to sustain a weight loss diet is that they search for a quick fix and get sucked into these so called “detox diets.”
There is a wide spectrum of detox diets out there ranging anywhere from an all liquid vegetable diet to a coffee enema. Now doesn’t that sound like fun? One of my favorite detox diets is the Lemonade Master Cleanse made popular by Beyonce. This is a diet where you consume only lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for a few weeks. Yum-O.
In addition to weight loss, detox diets promise to “rid your body of harmful toxins”. This is simply not true. There is absolutely zero scientific evidence that these diets work. In fact, your body is great at cleansing itself. The main function of your liver and kidneys are to act as detoxification organs to keep the good stuff in and excrete what may be harmful or unnecessary. While there is nothing wrong with following a diet that promotes more fruit and veggies, reduced sugar, or eating less processed foods, the type of detox diets promoted in the media are simply too extreme and are likely to do more harm than good.
Reasons NOT to follow a detox diet:
- Detox diets are short term and promote yo-yo dieting. Fluctuating weight can be more harmful to your health than being overweight.
- Detox diets are often very calorie restrictive. Severe calorie restriction may actually slow down your metabolism because your body tries to conserve energy as it prepares for “starvation mode.”
- Most detox diets are lacking essential macro and micro nutrients that you need for optimal health.
Hopefully, these diets can be left behind in 2010. If you’re looking to have a healthier New Year the best way to do it is to make small lifestyle changes and set attainable goals for yourself. Finding a support group or speaking with a registered dietitian is also a great way to make a healthy change. Some simple changes you can make right now include:
- Cut back on soda and high calorie juice drinks. Replace with water, non-fat milk, or diet soda (if you have to).
- Replace at least one high calorie snack a day such as chips or cookies with a fruit or vegetable snack.
- Limit fast food to once a week or less.
- Snacks are great, but be careful of mindlessly “snacking” throughout the day. If you’re going to have a snack measure out a portion instead of bringing the entire bag along with you.
- Last but not least, make time to exercise at least 5 times per week. Find an activity that makes you happy.
Heres to a healthy, happy, non colon-cleansing 2011. I’m spending my holiday in Mammoth snowboarding 🙂