Detox diets are all the rage nowadays. Many dieters swear by them while newbies are eager to try them. But just because everyone is doing detox diets, doesn’t mean they’re safe.
You may be putting your health at risk every time you go on a detox diet or a master cleanse. The problem with fad diets is people only focus on the positive results and ignore the drawbacks.
If you want to lose weight healthily, you have to look at all aspects of a diet and make sure it’s backed by research.
Below are some of the dangers of detox diets.
Dangers of Detox Diets
1. Detox Diets May Wreck Your Metabolism
Detox diets usually ask people to maintain very low-calorie intake. Some may even ask you to drink smoothies only for 10 days.
While the low-calorie intake can help you lose weight fast (mostly water weight) it slows down your metabolism. In this study, researchers found that obese participants had a slower metabolism after extreme calorie restriction, which made it harder to lose weight.
If you are not eating enough, your metabolism will slow down. Hormonal changes may also occur in your body and make it harder for you to lose weight.
2. Detox Diets May Lead to Muscle Loss
Again, this has to do with the low-calorie intake. When your body doesn’t get enough energy from the food you eat, it converts fat and muscle into energy.
You end up losing fat and muscle, which is not a good thing since muscle loss slows down metabolism.
By the time you are through with your detox, your muscles may suffer severe muscle deterioration.
3. Detox Diets May Lead to Nutritional Deficiencies
Most detox diets comprise liquids with little to no nutritional content. As you may know, your body needs macro and micronutrients to perform all its functions at optimal levels.
When you abstain from eating whole meals for a week or more, your body will be deficient in essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. This deficiency can lead to headaches, fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, irritability, and a weak immune system.
4. Detox Diets May Cause Mental Issues
Research shows that blood sugar plays an important role in mental health. Conditions such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression can worsen when your body’s sugar level drops drastically for extended periods.
Also, you may become more irritable, angry, and melancholic when you don’t eat. Are you wondering why you seem to be on a short fuse recently? Maybe it’s the lack of a hearty, delicious meal for days.
5. Detox Diets May Lead to Boredom
Detox diets are boring to the point of death. But nobody thinks about the role of food-related activities in their lives until they stop eating.
Have you ever considered the number of calories you burn while shopping for groceries, preparing your meal, cooking, serving and doing the dishes afterward? It might not seem like much, but these little activities add up to your calorie expenditure every day.
Now, think about the effect of skipping food-related chores because you are not cooking. Life may become boring.
And you will lack the energy to engage in most physical activities because of the low-calorie drinks you are consuming.
Your social life will take a hit as well since you can enjoy delicious meals with family and friends.
6. Detox Diets May Lead to Hair Loss
Your hair thrives on the food you eat. When you don’t eat nourishing food for a long period, you deprive your hair of much-needed vitamins and minerals.
Nutrient deprivation causes thinning and eventual loss of hair. Your hair loses its luster, becomes dry and brittle and starts falling off.
7. Detox Diets May Cause Irregular Heartbeat
Detox diets often lead to dangerous electrolyte imbalances. Your body requires a balance between potassium and sodium to maintain its electrolytic balance, but it can’t achieve stability without real, healthy food.
If you go on detoxing your body, you will lose more than weight as your body will also lack electrolytes that control neuromuscular functions such as the heartbeat. The result is heart palpitations and other cardiac issues.
8. Detox Diets May Cause Poor Immune Function
Your immune system depends on protein, vitamins, and minerals for optimal function. When you eradicate important nutrients from your diet, your body is forced to rest some systems, including your immune system.
A compromised immune system makes it easy for opportunistic infections and diseases to invade your body.
9. Detox Diets May Cause Gallstones
Gallstones form when your body excretes large amounts of cholesterol. It causes painful, stone-like formations in the gallbladder.
It turns out, gallstones can form when your diet lacks essential vitamins and minerals. And as I mentioned above, detox diets can cause nutritional deficiencies.
10. Detox Diets May Cause Digestive Problems
Detox diets are often liquid, making them deficient in dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A and B and zinc. If your meals lack these nutrients, your digestive tract will have trouble processing food. This leads to watery stools that feel like the world is crashing down.
You may also feel abdominal pain, bloat, dehydration, and painful excreta.
In short, lack of the above nutrients makes the movement of food through the intestines difficult and painful.
11. Detox Diets May Cause Iron Deficiency
If you are on a detox diet, you are at a higher risk of iron deficiency and anemia. Anemic people have pale skin due to the low production of red blood cells in the body.
Foods such as red meat, nuts, yogurt, and other protein-rich food improve iron absorption. Unfortunately, detox diets are usually low in these foods.
If you suspect you’re not getting enough iron, take iron supplements.
12. Detox Diets Lack Scientific Backing
Surprisingly, many detox diets are the products of pop culture without any scientific evidence to back up their claims.
When people want to buy drugs from big pharmaceutical companies, they carry out extensive research on potential side effects. But when a celebrity shares a weight loss success story on Instagram, everybody jumps over themselves without asking questions.
Unfortunately, most people won’t achieve the same results as their favorite superstar. Your body is different and you have unique digestive systems. What works for one person may be disastrous for you.
I usually recommend using sustainable weight loss strategies. Unfortunately, detox diets are not sustainable.
You’re better off increasing the intake of plant-based foods and doing short workouts.
In fact, my home workout program can help you get in shape in just 4 weeks. Check it out now.