Healthy Living » Diet & Nutrition » Detox   Login

 Diet & Nutrition

September 2011
The new age mantra facts and fads
Ishi Khosla
Drinking copious amounts of water, juices, gorging on salads and laxatives, along with enemas, colonic irrigation with fasts to detox is the new age mantra to get you in shape. The word ‘detox’ is being heard far more often than ever before. Mushrooming spas and fitness centres offer special detox diets and programmes. 

Detox promises include instant sanitation or cleansing of the system (literally like washing your sins away), weight loss and even magical cures to several ailments.

Do detox diets and techniques really deliver what they promise and are they warranted and safe – is the question.

What is Detoxification?
  • Detoxification refers to treatment protocols designed to help the body rid itself of waste and toxic materials. The body excretes toxins through various systems including lungs, kidney, skin and colon. The liver is a key factor in detoxification. Its protective enzymes can oxidize and inactivate toxic compounds so that they can be excreted more readily. Some sensitive individuals lack important detoxifying enzymes, which makes them vulnerable to common drugs and toxins.
  • Drinking plenty of water helps the kidney work efficiently to cleanse the blood and to excrete waste products. The average amounts needed to make adequate urine are about 2-2 ½ litres and can vary from individuals, seasons and activity. However, excessive amounts may simply be useless and even inconvenient.
  • Stimulant laxatives can damage the nerve cells in the colon wall, decreasing the force of contractions and increasing the tendency towards constipation. Thus, strong laxatives can be counterproductive.
  • Techniques like enemas and colonic irrigation have considerable potential for harm. The process can be very uncomfortable, since the presence of the tube can induce severe cramps and pain. If the equipment is not adequately sterilized between treatments, germs from one person’s large intestines can be transmitted to others. Several outbreaks of serious infections, including amoebiasis, bowel perforation, heart failure (from excessive fluid absorption into the blood stream) and electrolyte imbalances have been reported.
  • Fasting to detoxify or lose weight is questionable. While it is prudent to balance out excesses and indulgences on routine days, fasting as a means to detoxify does not really help, especially true when fasting is followed by feasting.
  • Popular theories about gut include belief that fecal matter lines large intestines and causes hardening of stools leading to re-absorption of wastes in the blood. Another popular theory is based on the notion that fruits rot when eaten with other foods like carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Fruits according to this theory should be eaten in separate meals, otherwise, it leads to formation of toxic waste and weight gain. Such theories are baseless and lack scientific perspective to say the least.
What works?
  • What really works is adoption of healthy eating and lifestyle practices on a regular basis rather than intermittent fasting and special detox diets practised for a few days.
  • Reduction to toxic exposure also helps.
  • The pesticide absorption can be reduced by eating organic produce, and thoroughly washing and peeling fruits and vegetables.
  • Since many organic solvents are easily absorbed through the skin, direct contact with paints and solvents should be avoided.
The recommended approach entails a life long commitment to healthy diet habits and regular physical exercise regimens including yoga.

Diet Prescription
  • A good diet should emphasize whole, minimally processed foods with fruits and vegetables and supply adequate antioxidants including vitamin C, E, copper, manganese, selenium,and zinc needed by the body’s detoxification enzymes to function optimally.
  • Foods like oats, amla, aloe vera,alfa-alfa sprouts, yoghurt, garlic, mushrooms, along with essential fatty acids may be good choices.
  • Gel forming fibres like psyllium husk (isabgol), guar gum (beans), pectin (fruits) and oat bran can help bind ingested toxins and prevent their absorption
IShi Khosla is a Clinical Nutritionist and Director - Whole Foods India

 Also See
Heart Friendly Diet
Super Tomatoes
Virtues of a Berry
Feed The Bounce In your Locks
Sinusitis De-clogging is the Mantra
How Flexible Is Your Diet?
Ready-To-Eat Foods Right Choice Is The Key
Mango Mania!
Waking Up To Coffee More Readily
Food For Your Athlete-In-Making
What Dictates Your Cooking Methods?
Flawless Flax!
Tangy, Tart, Tasty Mustard!
Binge Eater? Help Yourself. HERE!
Don't Knock The Building Blocks
Goodness of Holi Goodies!
Fasting Fundamentals
Dry Fruits in a Wholesome Meal
Diet for Stamina
Hypertension: Diet In A Pinch
Cricket Diet
Best and Worst Fast Food Salads
NutritionFor Women At Every Age
Go (Pea)Nuts With The Spread
Good Fats
Pomegranate a little sweet,a little tart and a lot healthy!
How to Control Your Portions
5 Ways to Avoid Stress Eating
The High-BP Diet
Lunch Box Fat
Go Easy on Your Diet and Sleep More
Better Body Built in Budget
Wholesome Calcium
Pathway to a Beautiful Mind
Haunting Hunger
10 Foods that Seduce the Sandman
Taste the Health of Brandy!
Diet for the Bedridden and Wheelchair Bound
A Plum a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!
Liquid Diets
Teens and Junk Food
Teen Diet Plan
Comfort Food to Quit Smoking
The Goodness of Cardamom
Pump Up Your Energy Levels
Bouncing Back from Fatigue
All About Veganism
Foods To Keep Warm And Healthy
Add Firmness and Strengthen Breasts
Deciphering Health Claims of Nutrition Labels
Yoghurt The Wonder Food
Dietary Advice for Sports Persons
Cool, Calming Diet
Diet During Travel
Dairy Bones & Much More
Beat the Heat, with Summer Foods
Healthy Snacking for Binge Eating
A Mouthful of Beans
Diabetic Diet for Non-vegetarians
Spice without the Burn!
10 New Healthy Trends
The Green Diet
Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Bad
Fruit of the Month: Orange
10 Immunity Boosting Foods
Eat With the Season
Anti Cancer Diet
Rice Rice... All the Way...
5 Reasons Why Brown Rice is Healthier
Calories and Nutritive Content of Fruits
Finger Licking Rajasthani Fare
Eating Disorders
Prevent Acidity
Get a Balanced Diet
Diet for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases
Detox Diet
Calorie Sheet of Common Food Items
Aphrodisiac Foods
The Goodness of Thai Cuisine
Nutritional Needs of Children
7 Tips to Stay Slim Through Winter
Get In the Zone with the Zone Diet
How to Enjoy Food While Staying Fit and Healthy
Tipping the Scales: Eat the Right Carbs with the GI Diet
Unleash the Purple Magic: The Nutrition in Purple Colored Fruits and Vegetables
Using Artificial Sweeteners
10 Nutritional Myths Busted