What Are Detox Diets? | Are They Good For You?

Written by Charlotte Campbell

Detox Diets: Healthy Food, Healthy Mind?

The premise of a detox diet is simple. You eliminate certain food groups from your diet and sometimes increase your intake of other food groups. In doing this, you cleanse your body from harmful substances or toxins.

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Should You Start a Diet with a Detox?


Often, detoxes are used at the start of a diet. They set your body off on a clean slate and help kick start your fitness goals. If you have fallen into some bad eating habits, a detox can be a good way to “shock” yourself into adhering to your general diet plans. By cutting out salty or sugary foods, for example, you can retrain your pallet. This would mean you would find it easier to stick to your long-term diet if your cravings for such foods were reduced.


You may want to factor in a slightly easier week of working out as your body adjusts to your change in routines.

Are All Diets a Type of Detox?


No. Many diets might incorporate a detox phase, but any worthwhile diets should ultimately result in a manageable nutritional plan. This means that your diet remains varied, satisfying and healthy, providing all the nutrients you need. The restrictive nature of a detox means it cannot be sustained for a long period.


Some diets specifically encourage you to eat detoxing foods. This is a good way of encouraging the body to flush out any excess substances without cutting anything from your diet completely. Lemon, for example, aids your digestive tract. Beetroot helps ensure that toxins and free radicals leave your system.

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Can Detoxes Make You Ill?


It is not advisable for pregnant women or young people who are still growing to attempt a detox. If overdone, they can cause fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Always consult a doctor before taking on a very restrictive diet if you haven’t done it before.

Is a Detox Better Than a Diet?


A detox by nature is not meant to be a long-term nutritional plan. It is meant to remove excess toxins from the body. However, your digestive system and several vital organs are designed to do this very function. So, keeping to a manageable, healthy diet overall would, in fact, eliminate the supposed need for a detox.


If you maintain a healthy diet but still feel you need to detox because of digestive discomfort, fatigue or sluggishness, you would be better to see a doctor to advise you if a change in diet is likely to help.

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Extreme Detoxing: The Best Kick Start or Fake Quick Fix?


Some diets, such as the Master Cleanse, offer extreme methods that they claim bring excellent detoxing and weight loss results. However, these diets are often very restrictive and unadvisable (e.g cutting out solid foods altogether or ingesting substances that have a laxative effect). This makes them very difficult to incorporate into a healthy workout routine. After all, you shouldn’t attempt to lift your threshold weights after a day of nothing but warm water with cayenne pepper and maple syrup.


The main rule to follow is any detox that makes you weaker rather than stronger is one to avoid.


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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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