We received an unusual amount of irate email about this post. The majority of the emails were either product companies, naturopaths, or individuals claiming that detoxes cured them.
I would like to address some of the commonalities of these claims and assertions using science and research, as well as human results in my responses.
1. Detoxes create immediate weight loss.
Here is a hard and fast truth: If you do not eat for 1 day you will lose weight. Losing weight should never be a short term goal if you want optimal health.
The greatest allure of the detox, and I have witnessed this in my own practice is: I want results fast and easy. I don’t want to think – just give me something to swallow.
Hmmmm… Remind you of anything? Aren’t you the same people that were upset with your family doctor for prescribing prescription medications?
Detoxes are a marketing bonanza for the quick-fix mentality we have adopted.
Science to date, has little support for these.
Indeed, studies have shown that both men and women who lose weight by fasting or dramatically reducing calorie intake routinely gain the weight back, and often end up even heavier. There can be health consequences short term. Here in is the magic – the companies and people selling supplements and powders want you back – so your initial good outcome, lures you back.
The majority of these detoxes and the people selling them do not even do a proper health history with patients – this is frightening.
2. Our bodies are loaded with toxins and can no longer “clean” themselves effectively.
Let’s start by understanding what are toxins? Dr. Don Smith, a professor at UC Santa Cruz, sums up toxins nicely:
Toxins are harmful agents found in the environment. The list contains hundreds of names — 689 to be exact — most popular among them being the mercury we find in fish, the azodicarbonamide we find in yoga mats and (until recently) Subway sandwich bread, and bisphenol A, or BPA, the highly controversial compound found in consumer plastics. We remove them from our bodies depending on things like iron levels and calcium levels, and, unlike the optimistic personal trainer’s advice, beads of sweat aren’t their ticket out — rather, the urine and feces we expel each day.
Commercial detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove, or the mechanisms by which they eliminate them.
Diagnostic testing is the only true standard to determine this. Then with proper analysis and then a professional taking those results to help you reset your system to effectively help your body reclaim the ability to remove any toxins and imbalances.
The human body is an incredibly efficient detoxing machine. The skin—your body’s largest organ— is a barrier to harmful substances. Your lungs trap and expel noxious particles, while your intestines screen out parasites and other harmful organisms while allowing nutrients to be absorbed into the blood. The liver acts as your body’s primary filter, digesting food and ridding the body of toxic substances. Your kidneys also filter out toxins, via your urine. These organs act in synergy with the immune system to keep you healthy.
Prescribing healthful eating, sleep and exercise protocols in a total epigenetic plan for an individual is the ticket to help the machine to run optimally; substandard ones compromise it. I have seen this time and time again.
The bulk of patients that come to us have stressed adrenals, a thyroid out of whack, many with severe digestive issues, cortisol that is wreaking havoc throughout their body or they have not had a good night sleep in as far as they can remember. A detox is certainly not for them.
3. People need simple answers and solutions
If only life were this easy. Things are easy, people complicate their health and trigger bad habits. We cannot blame our genes and our environment alone. This is why we use the word reset.
The easiest example to use here is alcohol. Dr. Google will allow you to search and find that alcohol in moderation is good for you, in fact life-saving in many instances.
The reality is though we all know this is not true.
Smoking kills. This is true. If you run a diagnostic test you will see all the toxins it stores in your body. A one week, two week plan will not detox this out.
Lifestyle disease is the number 1 killer in the world now. If you want to learn more – here is a study overviewing this and another.
This means that we all need to step back and reset how we live and our priorities. This is always our first step with patients. You need a plan for you. Not your best friend. Not for the wedding in 2 weeks.
The best success starts with focusing on your day to day routine, rebuilding sleep and movement and finally eating.
Change your habits; change your life.
Average results are seen in 1 to 2 months, but last a life-time and in fact, make that a long and healthier life time. We will offer patients a 1 week reset to kick-start their body and mind to function better, sleep better, prioritize movement and eliminate bad habits – but in conjunction with a thorough health history, diagnostic support testing, and program suggestions. Everyone is different and we treat you as such.
Short term thinking = short term results.
If you would like to know more about our protocols in testing and health drop us an email to make an appointment. We love hearing from you.
Cat Aulakh – Health Practitioner – Nutrition & Genetics