Food Myth Friday: You Need to Detox in Order to "Reset"

Ah, detox diets. I can't tell you how many people I've seen starting them this very week! On social, at work, and in my friend group. The thing that always bugs me is how fervently they detox on the regular. They heap upon me benefit after benefit of these miraculous detox diets!

They let me know they'll get me a deal if I'd ever like to try one. They "know someone." You could knock me over with a feather when they tell me the "deal" they got... YIKES! If it's too good to be true, someone is usually selling something.

However, why buy a detox program when we're already programmed with one? Let's check it out today on Food Myth Friday!


The Liver

We'll begin with the workhorse of detoxification of the body. This vital organ is responsible for processing the contents of our blood and digestive system to make sure that composition remains the same. In other words, it breaks down fats, filters out harmful toxins (like the alcohol you drank last night), and helps maintain a proper level of glucose. The liver is also responsible for the conversion of glucose to glycogen (the stuff that lets us lift heavy things)! While the liver is responsible for about 500+ functions at last count, but I won't make a list that long.

  • Regulation of blood clotting.

  • Regulation of the very building blocks of our protein: amino acids!

  • The production of bile, which breaks down the food we eat in order to pull the nutrients we need.

  • Production of cholesterol and certain proteins that help carry necessary fats through the body.

  • Removes bacteria from the bloodstream.

  • Clearing bilirubin from red blood cells. If too much builds up in your system, then your eyes and skin begin to yellow.



If you think of the liver as sort of the solid waste filter, then you can think of the kidneys as the liquid waste filter. In other words, kidneys are strong chemical factories!

  • Helps control the production of red blood cells.

  • Balances the body's fluid production by eliminating excess fluids.

  • Aids the liver in removing drugs from the body.

  • Produces an active form of vitamin D to aid in bone strength.

  • Releases hormones to aid in blood pressure regulation.

  • Removes waste from the body.


Respiratory System

From our nose hairs to our lungs being able to remove some toxic gasses from the air we breathe, our respiratory system is made to keep the bad things out and the good things in.

Not only that, but our lungs can eliminate gasses created inside of our bodies by the breakdown of certain toxins. Acetaldehyde is a prime example of this phenomenon. When alcohol is broken down in the body, acetaldehyde is produced and then expelled through the lungs. That's what you smell on the breath of someone who tied one on the night before. Lungs are also responsible for ridding the body of gas anesthetics through the same process.


Detox Diets

Our digestive system is also pretty adept at defending us from food-borne toxins by upchucking and giving us the green apple trots. However, the largest focus (outside of addiction) on detoxing is in the form of dieting. To lose weight, flush bad stuff from the body, and feel refreshed at the end of it. Ready to go right back to the way of life that made you detox in the first place. A cyclical moneymaker for the detox diet industry!

Many folks that stick to these restrictive diets claim boosted energy, clarity, focus, and weight loss. However, what's really causing that. After looking through detox diets, most are formed like the following:

  • Fasting Period

  • Restrictive Diet of Fruits & Veggies

  • Juices

  • Low to no Fats

  • No Processed Foods or Food Processed Exclusively by Whatever Detox Diet Co.

  • Some Specialty Branded Shakes or Bars or Prepared Meals

So, in other words... you cut out all processed foods and eat tons of fruits and veggies? Why not just do that on the regular? Then you don't have to worry about restrictive calorie intake, which puts your body under stress and will actually lead to faster weight gain on the other side of the detox.

Eating whole and healthy is like a natural detox diet every. single. day!


Things That Boost Natural Detox

Some detox diets require other means of the expulsion of toxins from the body that also get rid of the good stuff in your body. However, here are a few ways to help along with your natural detox system that we talked about above.

Limit Alcohol Intake

We've been over this one before. However, this is one that I continue to struggle with as well. Alcohol is just fun to drink, and our bodies react so strongly to it that we become addicted without really even realizing we are. Just over 90% of alcohol is metabolized in your liver. If you keep on putting your liver through the whiskey wringer, then it'll eventually lose the capacity to filter out your body's toxins.

Get Some Sleep

Did you know that throughout the day your brain accumulates some toxic byproducts? One of those is a protein called beta-amyloid. This stuff has been associated with the onset of Alzheimer's. When you enter into a quality sleep cycle, it allows the brain to rid itself of these toxic byproducts, therefore preventing their build-up in your grey matter!

Poor sleep also causes stress, anxiety, increased risk of type-2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Reduce Your Intake of Processed Food & Sugar

What a detox diet really is. Just making you conscious of what you're eating and limiting it calorically.

What a healthy diet really is: Being conscious of what you're eating and eating what your body needs calorically.

In short, stop eating crap your great-grandparents wouldn't have recognized as food.

Drink Your Water

Water does a myriad of things in our bodies, especially since our body is about 60% water overall. However, it plays a big role in the removal of waste byproducts of our cells preparing themselves. The largest byproduct being carbon monoxide released in our blood during cell repair.

Water efficiently transports toxins and waste from our body through our breath, urine, and sweat. Adequate water intake is marked as 125 ounces for men and 90 ounces for women. Please keep in mind your activity level, the climate in which you live, and your weight can all affect the ounces needed per day to be effective!

Eat Foods Rich in Prebiotics

If you don't know why Number Two is Number One, then just click that link!

Antioxidant-Rich Foods are Delicious

So, drinking, smoking, eating poorly, and being exposed to pollutants all cause the body to create free radicals. Free radicals then turn and cause oxidative stress to your healthy cells. Really, it's like human rust.

Free radicals have been sourced as causes for liver disease, dementia, asthma, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. However, there is hope! Antioxidants!

Antioxidants help healthy cells defend against oxidative stress caused by free radicals naturally. Plus, it's way better to get your antioxidants from a whole-food-based diet rather than supplements.

You can find the largest amounts of antioxidants in cocoa, nuts, berries, fruits, vegetables, spices, and certain beverages like coffee and green tea. Antioxidants include vitamin c, vitamin A, selenium, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin.

Get Moving!

Above all else, get active! It's an all-win situation!

Want to lose weight? Move.

Want to live longer? Move.

Want to stave off type-2 diabetes? Move.

Want to help protect against certain cancers? Move!

You get the idea. Not only does exercise help provide all those things, but it also decreases inflammation that can cause toxic buildups in your body. It's recommended that you do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75-100 minutes of vigorous exercise.

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