Debunking the detox diet

By Sarah Noone Nutrition News   |   11th Jan 2019

Detox diets are a fad, don’t fall for them, writes our expert dietitian Sarah Noone.

Detox seems to be the buzzword everywhere come January. After an overindulgent Christmas our thoughts turn to new year’s resolutions, how we can lose weight or get healthy ? That’s where the idea of the ‘detox diet’ may come up but what does it actually mean?

As tempting as the concept may be, the whole idea of a detox diet is a super fad.

There is no evidence that toxins even build up in our bodies. Except for a few people, numerous organs in our bodies such as the liver, kidney, lungs and gut are constantly ‘detoxing’ i.e. filtering out waste products and toxins from our bodies and if they weren’t doing their job properly, we would feel very ill.

There is also no evidence that detox diets, pills, specific drinks, potions, lotions, patches etc. can speed up this clever process or act as a magic wand to get rid of toxins. Although some people may say they feel better when they try these diets, it is probably more because they have been overindulging, so, a few days of lighter meals and increased physical activity will of course make them feel better.

"As tempting as the concept may be, the whole idea of a detox diet is a super fad,"

Sarah Noone, dietitian , Irish Heart Foundation

Typical detox fad diets can promote extreme calorie restriction and eliminating entire food groups which is not only unnecessary, but is also likely to result in a regain of weight lost, a return of poor eating habits and perhaps nutrient deficiency as many of these diets will not provide the essential nutrients your body needs.

Going on a restrictive fad diet does not promote healthy eating habits. If you want to make changes for good, you need to forget the fads. Instead try making small changes and over time adopting healthy eating habits which are easier to stick to in the longer term. Small changes sustained over time can make a big difference.

"Going on a restrictive fad diet does not promote healthy eating habits,"

Sarah Noon, dietitian , Irish Heart Foundation

The bottom line is to forget the fads and instead why not try some of our January hacks to better health:

Load up on fruit and vegetables – Try keeping chopped fruit and veg on hand as a snack, throw some frozen vegetables into your stews and curries, add some salad to your lunchtime sandwich or a handful of dried or fresh fruit to your breakfast cereal.

Drink more water – Why not keep a bottle of water by your desk to remind you to drink.

Move more – Think about how you can start incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine. Remember it has to work for you. So, whether it’s getting off the bus a few stops early or parking further away from the office, it all counts.

Make your environment supportive of the changes you want to make – Remember we tend to go for the easiest option. If there is lots of chocolate, crisps or cakes in the house it is difficult to resist those tempting treats when we sit down in the evenings.





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detox diet diet myths dietitian fad diet healthy living New Year diet nutrition

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