MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Detox products all over store shelves — and the internet — promise to rid your body of toxins. They use everything from soup to smoothies to juicing to spicy water.
But, what do cleanses do to our bodies? Good Question.
“They generally not harmful, but they don’t have as much benefit as people think they have,” says Dr. Matt Hockett, a family practitioner with Fairview Health Services. “The body is an amazing detoxifier.”
He says the liver, kidneys and lungs already efficiently and effectively get rid of whatever toxins build up in a person’s body. Increasing someone’s output through urination or stool would not increase the rate toxins leave the body.
“Mostly it’s kind of a fad,” Dr. Hockett says. “Ultimately, everyone is looking for that magic pill that makes them healthier without having the put forth the effort.”
People use the word “cleanse” to describe a number of different things – from juicing to Whole 30 to cutting out alcohol and sugar. Experts says any short-term changes from the more extreme cleanses won’t have a big health impact on a person in the long run. Dr. Hockett says any weight loss that occurs from a cleanse happens because a person is eating fewer calories.
“I think part of the problem with juicing is we miss out on the fiber and that’s the most important part of the fruit or vegetable,” he says. “I’d rather have people eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and get plenty of exercise.”
Ultimately, Dr. Hockett points out a cleanse or detox diet could be beneficial if it encourages someone to think about healthier choices over a longer period of time. But, as always, he recommends checking with a doctor before embarking on a detox diet.