Detoxing the Safe, Natural Way

Detox regimens are a dime a dozen. But the body has its own natural detox system. Learn the safe way to detox without skipping meals or eating cayenne pepper.


Detox programs have a strange allure.

In Theory

Detox sponsors claim to help you shed pounds quickly by following a sophisticated system of cutting out. Then there are those "real life" stories of people whose pounds melt away every time they step on a scale. A miracle! Weight loss overnight! Detox promoters claim that everyone needs to "cleanse their colon" of the toxins that build up over time. A detox, they state, is the way to flush out those toxins and re-set the body.

In Reality

We already have a wonderful detox system in our bodies. It's called the liver. Cleansing the body and flushing out the "bad stuff" is exactly what it does (with help from the kidneys). Plus, if you ask a gastrointestinal doctor, he or she will tell you there's no buildup of anything in your colon over time.

But what about those dropping numbers on the scale? They're no surprise when you realize that in many detox regimens, you're supposed to cut out certain foods, or even entire food groups. Most of the weight lost is water. Drop your caloric intake low enough and you'll also lose muscle tissue. You'll feel it in the form of fatigue, crankiness, poor sleep, headaches and poor athletic performance. (See Food Myths Busted: Skipping Meals Helps You Lose Weight.)

Safe Detoxing

Want to detox without sacrificing your training or your sanity? Here is the most effective way: cut back on treats and eat more of the good stuff. You all know what I'm talking about. It's not magic. (See Iron Chef Michael Symon's Tips for Preparing Healthy Meals .)

Cut back on:

  • Sugar and sweets
  • Fried foods and saturated fats
  • Regular soda
  • Energy drinks

Increase your intake of:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Lean proteins
  • Whole grains

Your body functions best when you give it the best fuel. You don't need to give up treats completely, but remember that they're called "treats" for a reason. When you're trying to lose weight, limit your treats to one or two a week (not per day). (Read Craving Unhealthy Foods? What You Can Do to Stop.)

I promise that you will feel much better when you are well-fueled with the good stuff instead of poorly fueled with the bad or completely random stuff (cayenne pepper...I mean, really?).

And here's a little secret: hydrate. Your body is around 70% water. This should tell you how important daily water intake is for your health. Water helps you use what you eat and flush out what you don't need. Sip H2O consistently throughout the day.

Safe, natural detoxing in the most effective way to go.

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