Detox is a buzz word.
But, according to David Bender in his latest article, “The Detox Delusion,” detox is nothing short of fanciful. (1) In other words, it is something that we want to believe in because it answers our most pressing questions as to why this disease or that malady plagues us at all.
After all, toxins (produced in living organisms) and toxicants (which are synthetic) are what cause cells to malfunction and perhaps even die. This kind of cellular disfiguration can happen in an instant, or it can happen over generations.
Even if we follow a strict diet, some of us still cannot tolerate certain chemicals, foods, perfumes, or places. This loss of tolerance has to do with:
- The environment.
- Our own immune system.
The research shows us over and over again that certain work environments, buildings, commercial products, pesticides, and even sources of water supply all come with an increased risk of cancer based on exposure. Carcinogens are a very real threat to public health. And yet, as we drive in our new car, walk across synthetic carpet, and drink from plastic bottles, we do not give it a second thought.
Do you ever notice how one person falls apart when exposed to mold or chemicals, while another person may have no reaction at all? Part of our ability to deal with environmental poisons depends on how robust our immune system is in the first place.
A robust immune system depends on our family history, our environment, and how well we care for the body.
Dr. Bender, an emeritus professor of nutritional biochemistry at University College London, tells us that, “The whole philosophy of detox is based on the unlikely premise that accumulated toxins cause a sluggish metabolism, weight gain, general malaise and so on.”
Never before have we produced food, furniture, automobiles, and other commercial items with such speed and efficiency. Much of this production is made possible with chemicals and materials that have not been tested as safe for human consumption.
For the first time in human history, we are also seeing a massive rise in diseases that either never existed before or that were once considered rare. While research discovers one pollutant or carcinogen after another, we unknowingly suffer.
Detox diets are, according to Professor Bender, a marketing hoax. He tells us that, "Weight gain is due to an imbalance between food consumption and energy expenditure. There is no magic shortcut for weight loss - you have to eat less and exercise more. It's that simple."
Trying to force your body through a quick detox diet that it may not be ready for is not the best way to lose weight or even cleanse toxins in a healthy fashion.
Most medical doctors will tell us that weight loss is a simple formula: consume fewer calories than you use. Unfortunately, those of us who have struggled with weight loss know that this formula is not so easy.
Beth Reardon, MS, RD, and nutritionist for Duke Integrative Medicine, reminds us that we should not go to quick fix extremes to cleanse our body of toxins: “Give your body more credit. We naturally detox most substances that could be harmful. Our bodies are designed to do this—if we give them proper food and hydration and don’t stress our systems by eating a diet that includes a disproportionate amount of processed foods.”
If we want to gradually lessen the toxic load that our body carries, or in other words detoxify, this begins first and foremost with the food that we consume. A healthy detoxification program, with the right foods and supporting supplements, will open the elimination channels and over time allow the cells to release the toxic buildup.
Beware of the quick fix. It tends to bring temporary results, if any at all, and may actually make you feel worse than before you started.
For more information, check out the Body Ecology Cleanse Kit.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Detox diets are all the rage today, but what benefit do they provide when it comes to health and weight loss? The truth is that we are all susceptible to chemicals in the environment, in food, and even in our homes on a daily basis. Yet a healthy immune system will determine how our bodies react to outside toxins and toxicants.
For the purpose of detoxification, detox diets aren't all that they claim to be. If you want to lose weight and boost your immune system, you must eat less and exercise more - it's as simple as that. When we give our bodies the proper food and care, they will naturally detoxify most harmful substances from the environment.
The road to healthy detoxification begins with the right foods and supplements that will empower our bodies to release toxic buildup over time.
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- Bender, David. Detox Delusion. The Biologist. Dec 2011.
- Yount, Kathleen. The Detox Delusion. Duke Medicine Connect. Fall, 2009. 4–5.
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