Before you jump on the detox bandwagon, it’s important to look into the potential side affects to a full body cleanse. Here, the experts help us unpack the pros and cons to this weight loss phenomenon.

Starving yourself is not the way to go

Most detoxes promote a reduced calorie intake, which can quickly turn into starvation mode. According to GP Dr Fran Bruce of Wesley LifeShape Clinic, most detoxes are “low in protein which can result in fatigue, dehydration, light headedness, headaches, mood swings and constipation.

Our bodies are capable of detoxing on their own

As our liver and kidneys work together to remove toxins from our systems, our bodies naturally go through a detoxification phase. If you’re thinking laxatives are the way to go, think again. Unless discussed with a medical practitioner, they can lead to some serious complications down the track, says Gastroenterologist, Dr Phillip Chang.

Detoxing is not a quick fix

Although detoxing can promote fat loss, this weight loss isn’t always fat loss. “You can expect to lose weight, but mainly due to water and muscle loss after depriving your body of essential nutrients such as protein, says Dietitian Lyndi Polivnick.

Before you ditch the idea of the detox, there are ways to healthily cleanse your body.

Fuel your body with wholesome goodness

There’s even more reason to head to the fresh food aisle of your supermarket because the most simple detox tactic is to avoid highly processed foods, says Dr Bruce. Avoid “foods that are high in fats and sugar, reduce your alcohol intake (if it exceeds the recommended guidelines) and limit caffeine consumption for a week or so.” Keep those energy levels high with nutrient dense wholefoods.

Go green

While most detoxes miss the mark on fibre and protein, get more from “natural, minimally process foods such as fruit, leafy green vegetables (cabbage or kale) and psyllium (natural insoluble fibre)” in you, says Dr Chang.

Don’t detox for the long haul

When it comes to intense detoxes, short term is better than long term, says Polivnick. Opt for raw foods rather than juices to help out with your fibre intake and befriend water. Lots of it. “Supercharge your body’s natural ability to clear toxins…drink plenty of water, get exercising,” she says.

A little evaluation never hurt anyone

If you’re looking to reassess your habits, you can benefit from a process of elimination. Stewart suggests, eliminating ‘all animal protein products including eggs,” which can slow down the detoxing process. The Liver Cleansing Diet focuses on high quality nutrients including veggies, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, which are important for your metabolism.

Full article by Hannah Blamey, featured in the January edition of Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine.