Juice diets are popular among celebrities. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow recently told reporters that her three-week juice diet “worked wonders.” But there’s a lot of controversy in the medical community about the effectiveness and safety of detox programs. Like other fad diets, they promise unsustainable, short-term weight loss and could jeopardize your health.
Here are a few things you should know before starting a body-cleansing program:
1. Don’t start a detox diet to lose weight. Most people overeat soon after the detox diet is over, due to pent-up hunger. Further, a detox diet can slow down your metabolism, making it difficult to process food and lose weight once you start eating again.
2. Avoid detox programs that use laxatives or employ edemas. Laxative abuse – behavior typically associated with eating disorders – can cause serious dehydration and heart or colon damage. Colonic edemas mess with the body’s natural fluid and electrolyte balance, which can lead to infection, dehydration and irregularity.
3. Be sure to take daily vitamins. Most detox diets are very restrictive and limit caloric intake, which makes it difficult for your body to get the nutrients it needs. Vitamin deficiency can cause acne, diarrhea, anemia, weakened immune system and other adverse side effects. Avoid low-calorie detox programs and make sure they come with vitamins, or supplement the program yourself with multivitamins to satisfy your daily nutrition requirements.
4. Ask a pharmacist or doctor before taking “special” vitamins. Many programs will try to sell you vitamins that are specially made for a dietary program. But beware: Detox programs are not subject to regulation or oversight, so you can’t be sure what effect their vitamins will have on your body.