Detox Cleanses Debunked


This post is about debunking the myth that all cleanses are healthy for you. The top reason I’ve seen people do cleanses is because they’ve overindulged. They’ve overdone it, had a big party weekend, have been eating too much junk food or haven’t been following a reasonable diet. So they feel the need to clean out all of the junk that they’ve accumulated.

Insert ad for brand name popular cleanse here…

I’ve got all of my daily vitamin C from the lemons that I’m able to have in my water with each meal. Breakfast, morning snack and lunch are complete with a pill pack with all my daily vitamin and mineral requirements. I’m able to eat a nutritious, reasonably sized dinner salad of tomato, celery and cucumber. To top off the diet, I’m able to drink as much fresh water as I want through the day.

Are you bored yet? Or full? Does that even appeal to you? I don’t know about you, but I like to eat real food. That type of cleanse doesn’t look very real. While the lemons, tomato, celery and cucumber are real, it’s not going to fill me up. Rather than focusing on a cleanse like that’s fad or trend based, eat real food. Those types of cleanses will leave you feeling emotionally depleted, starving, hangry and probably not much fun to be around.

A better approach is to take a more moderated approach. Stop flipping from extremes of excessive sugar, fat and salt to living on a cleanse that has nutrition from magic pills to sustain your body. Land somewhere in the middle where you can be content with your food choices. 

I’m not saying there isn’t any value in doing cleanses. We live in a world with a ton of toxins. If you look in a new home there could be toxins from the cupboards or the stove. Who knows what’s in the products that are off-gassing from your counter tops or carpets. The plastics, the chemicals that you use to clean your house. There are chemicals everywhere. That doesn’t include what’s sprayed onto your food, what’s grown into your food or what was injected into your food as it was growing or being raised. There are a ton of things in the air that you are inhaling or absorbing through your skin. 

There are a ton of chemicals out there that could be doing harm to our bodies. There are way more chemicals now than 50 or 100 years ago. I’m not sure that our body has evolved enough in that time to keep up with the detoxification demands to stay healthy. Cleansing however, is not intended to clean up the mess after being reckless. I’ve had clients ask me what type of cleanse is best after a weekend of binge drinking or excessive drug use. That’s not what cleanses are for.

There is value to detoxify to try and decrease your chemical burden to support your liver, kidneys and skin to do the things that they are meant to do. It is definitely balance to be had between the extremes of pills, supplements and light meals and excessive or unhealthy choices. Try eating healthier all of the time. Regularly consume fresh water. Regularly eat nutrient dense foods that have real vitamins and minerals in them.

Supplements can top up or enhance your nutrition, they shouldn’t be the replacement for real food. It’s always best to get it from real foods. They are more filling, stick with you longer and your body knows how to process them better than synthetic vitamins in pills. We don’t really know exactly what goes into some supplements. They may not have been effectively evaluated or researched. The things in them may not be the right amounts to get the benefits from them. Rather than putting artificial things in your body, start putting real things in your body.

Another reason that a cleanse may not be good for you is because of some medications you’re on. Depending on what types of medical conditions you have, some medications may bind to supplements such as calcium. That means that you aren’t getting the full effect of your medication. Or the supplement may enhance the effect of the medication, making it stronger than it should be. Some medications need to be take with food or away from food. If you’re doing a cleanse, it may not clearly state what’s in their supplement pack or powder that you need to consume with each meal. Make sure that you check with your doctor or pharmacist before you even start a cleanse to make sure that it’s safe for you.

When in doubt, take the reasonable and moderate approach. Talk to your doctor. Evaluate if you really need to go on a cleanse in the first place. Above all, use some common sense.

Cleanses may help you, but they're only part of the picture. There are seven pillars that affect your total health. How they interact together will impact the shape of your health. Take your own health assessment to find out what shape your health is in. To get started, click here