The 411 on Detox Diets

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The simple word detox evokes images of cleansing away impurities from your body. It conjures up thoughts of healthy individuals with clear skin, white smiles, and a slim physique. Behind the scenes, the detox diets, for some individuals, can be more like a horror film full of fatigue, diarrhea, and potentially death. What is it that makes these detox diets so popular?

Proponents of detox diets believe our bodies need cleansed periodically to rid them from the toxins we ingest or inhale every day from things like pollution, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, cigarette smoke, and alcohol. While this may seem logical, in reality the human body was created with its own filtration and detox system. That's what our liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract do daily and within hours of consumption, eliminating these toxins via sweat, urine and stools.

Certain aspects of many detox diets do have some health validity, such as increasing water and raw fruit and vegetable consumption. They minimize the amount of chemicals ingested, usually by encouraging consumption of organic foods. Foods that are full of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants are emphasized in detox diets. Also, high fiber foods and water are used to draw out and eliminate toxins by increasing bowel movements and urination frequency.