To Cleanse Or Not to Cleanse? The Detox Debate

stomachWhile “cleansing” remains one of the top natural diet trends, seeming relatively harmless in its promotion from organic food stores, there remains the undeniable fact that you are forcing your body into dehydration. Though you may love the concept of simultaneously ridding yourself of toxins, negative energy, and, of course, weight – there is more at stake.

Is a taking natural laxative (like chugging sea salt water) really a viable way to improve health or shed pounds? It’s quick, simple, and requires little effort: ideal for our lazy, instant gratification-based culture. And who doesn’t like the idea of giving your insides a fresh start?

Here are some of the supposed benefits of detoxification:

According to purification advocates, people who cleanse feel noticeable differences in:

  • Vision
  • Energy levels
  • Disposition
  • Controlling stress
  • Hair and skin

They also feel that cleansing has both spiritual and physical benefits that have been proven since ancient times. True, our bodies are subject to myriad chemicals and toxins from what we consume and the environment around us. A good detox is thought to provide the following benefits for various systems:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved focus
  • Less susceptible to colds
  • Elimination of pain from migraines, joints, and menstruation
  • Clear skin
  • Reduction of breast cysts
  • Heal lifelong sinus problems
  • Healthy liver

Cleansing (which can be done by targeting one specific bodily system at a time or multiple – such as a Master Cleanse) for weight loss purposes will start with the colon. It is by far the most popular method and also can imbalance your electrolytes, causing dehydration and low blood pressure. Even a cleanse expert should provide that disclaimer.

If you do decide to detox, always consult your doctor first – especially if you have any health problems. You could not only be drained of energy, but add complications that could seriously damage your overall health.

A cleanse is also hazardous because it strips your body of its toxins and its nutrients. Making sure to replace the essential nutrients your body needs to thrive immediately is crucial when cleansing. You can deplete your muscle mass, reduce your metabolism, and become fatigued. None of these attributes will lead to long-term weight loss or health improvements, if those are what you’re after.

More evidence against the colon cleanse is that there is no medical research to support that it actually does give your digestive system a clean slate. While lack of medical approval is a common trait among alternative medicine and new age wellness methods, this is especially important to note. Actually, the American Medical Association deemed cleanses as “not medically necessary” back in 1919. Since then, medical opinion has remained stagnant.

According to Dr. Ranit Mishori at Georgetown University School of Medicine and Providence Hospital, who helped conduct 20 studies on colon cleansing, good health is all it takes to naturally detoxify. Her team’s studies also proved that damage is done whenever you attempt a digestive detox.

“There is no evidence that [the cleanses] are doing anything, and physiologically it doesn’t make sense. The body has a system for detoxifying itself — it’s called pee and poop. And for healthy people, that’s all it takes,” Mishori says.

So whether you were reaching for that glass of salt water, detox tea, or an herbal concoction to help you lose some quick pounds, consider the body you only get once. Don’t risk tearing holes or eliminating the essential bacteria to help you properly digest. There are still ways to cleanse without putting your body at risk – just be safe, and talk with an expert as well as a doctor.

Discover health tips and resources for a more balanced life here.

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