A natural detox is a diet regimen focused on limiting food intake to certain organic ingredients in an effort to remove impurities from the body. There are many different natural detox plans, though most are designed to be short bursts of highly controlled eating. Participants will eat nothing but certain prescribed foods and drinks for anywhere from three days to two weeks. The goal is to use natural ingredients to flush chemicals, pesticides, and other environmental toxins out of the dieter’s body.
The majority of foods people consume contain preservatives, chemicals, and man-made compounds. These additives may improve flavor and shelf life, but some believe that they can also clog up the body, slowing organ productivity and leading to overall sluggishness and fatigue. The idea behind natural detoxification is to severely curtail consumption in order to allow the body to recalibrate and retain optimal functionality. Many people also use the detox plan as a way to lose weight, or to kick-start a weight loss regimen.
A typical natural detox plan, often also called a “natural body detox” or “home detox,” instructs participants to consume nothing but organic fruits, vegetables, and juices for a set period of days. Similar plans limit participants to certain whole grains or fibers. The most extreme regimens prohibit the consumption of anything but a specific natural detox drink, usually made of extracts and powders.
Natural detox dieting has grown in popularity in recent years, owing in large part to celebrity endorsement. Movie stars, television personalities, and models from all parts of the world regularly credit these kinds of detox plans for their youthful looks, overall health, and svelte figures. While there are certain undisputed benefits to increasing one’s intake of natural foods, many members of the medical community are skeptical of the long-term benefits of any detox plan.
There is relatively little scientific evidence supporting the natural detox movement’s claims that the body “needs” to be regularly purified through limited food choices. Little harm can come from a short spat of detox eating, but most doctors discourage prolonged participation in natural detox plans. Detoxing can rob the body of needed nutrients, they say. Some critics also assert that the body is perfectly capable of detoxifying itself. Healthy people detox naturally every day, without even knowing it.
Regular or routine use of natural detox plans can cause harm in some cases. Extended periods of extraordinarily limited caloric intake can lead to malnourishment, vitamin deficiency, and degradation of muscle mass. In the short term, this can look like weight loss. However, this loss is unlikely to be permanent. Detox participants would be wise to carefully consider the risks before beginning any new detox plan, and to consult their doctors before trying to get any specific results.