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Healthy food, exercise provide better detox than diets

The “detox diets” have taken over as one of the most popular diet and weight-loss trends today. The claims they make include cleansing your body, giving you a “jump-start” into healthy eating and, of course, losing body fat. However, are they really safe and worth your money, time and effort?

The “detox diets” have taken over as one of the most popular diet and weight-loss trends today. The claims they make include cleansing your body, giving you a “jump-start” into healthy eating and, of course, losing body fat. However, are they really safe and worth your money, time and effort?

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- When you hear the word “detox,” what do you think?

Do you think about juice cleanses, weight loss and dieting? You are not alone.

The “detox diets” have taken over as one of the most popular diet and weight-loss trends today. The claims they make include cleansing your body, giving you a “jump-start” into healthy eating and, of course, losing body fat.

However, are they really safe and worth your money, time and effort? Let’s look at this further.

What does “detox” really mean? Detoxification is a natural process by which the human body rids itself of xenobiotics and endotoxins.

Xenobiotics are compounds that are foreign to an organism or are not part of its normal nutrition. Examples include drugs, food additives and environmental pollutants.

Endotoxins are toxic substances bound to the bacterial cell wall and released when the bacterium ruptures or disintegrates. They may cause illness, fever or shock in large quantities.

Natural detoxification occurs in the liver and colon. Your liver works hard every day to turn toxins into a water-soluble compound and eliminate them in the urine, sweat, bile and feces.

So instead of investing a lot of money into a “detox diet,” you can support what your body is already doing by exercising and eating a healthy diet rich in fiber.

Remember, your body eliminates some toxins through sweat. So by exercising, you will most likely be sweating more, which will allow your body to secrete more toxins.

Exercising is also a great way to stay in shape and have a healthy heart!

Eating a healthy diet rich in fiber will help support regular elimination, which is crucial for excreting toxins through bile and stool. High-fiber foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans.

Drinking more water will also help your body’s elimination process. So make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces each day.

Juicing is a popular trend that commercial detox diets promote to help cleanse the liver. However, when you are juicing for multiple days, you lose the valuable fiber your body needs to support bulking and elimination.

Juices can also be high in sugar, which could increase weight rather than help with weight loss. Any weight lost during a juicing phase is typically just “water weight” and tends to be gained back very easily.

There are a few vitamins and minerals shown to help your body’s natural detoxification process along. These include B vitamins and some antioxidants such as glutathione and flavonoids.

No need to buy pills, though. By eating a healthy well-balanced diet, you will get all the B vitamins, glutathione and flavonoids you need.

These things are found in healthy-diet foods such as fruits, vegetables and unprocessed meats.

If you want to try a “detox” diet, instead look at your diet as a whole.

Are you eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber, drinking enough water and exercising? Or are you consuming a diet heavy in processed food and sugary drinks, and living a more sedentary lifestyle?

If it is the latter, try making healthy switches first. For example, switch from white processed grains to whole grains or just start adding in more activity throughout your week; it’s that simple.

Small changes can lead to big differences!