Don’t Detox!

I’m guessing saying don’t detox may sound controversial to many, especially in January! Whilst the start of every year is often peppered with good intentions for many, and if they can become lifelong habits it’s great, detoxing is not something that is necessary.

Essentially your liver and kidneys are constantly detoxing you. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet, ensure adequate fibre intake as well as the obvious protein, carbs, and fats, and to keep hydrated. But beyond that your body is an ecosystem evolved over thousands of years to keep itself in balance.

Of course, the body deals with short-term excesses in a less than comfortable manner (hangover anyone?), but even the extra food and drink of Christmas can be dealt with by ensuring you are eating a sensible diet. Given time and stimulus (slightly fewer calories, and some exercise) the body will go back to its normal level.

Detoxing works in the short-term by causing weight loss. The goal should always be fat loss. This is because the massive drop in calories for most people allows them to lose weight. Any feelings of bloatedness tend to disappear quickly due to the increase of (non-alcoholic) liquid and often no solid food. However, lean muscle mass will be lost with the fatty tissue. This is not great. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. And you will look more defined (toned if you insist on using that silly word – “tone” is muscle!).

The longer you do it the worse the deficit of various nutrients in your diet will be. I know some claim to have spiritual enlightens type things while detoxing, but those training need to fuel that properly. Your body can’t repair the training damage whilst it is undernourished with respect to the basic building blocks.

Aside from the lemon water/cabbage soup style detoxes, the smoothie based ones are often high calorie, high carb diets. It’s just you don’t appreciate it because the component parts are mixed up and being drunk. In this case, there would be energy for training, but still no repair due to a lack of protein. Likewise, the weight loss would include lean muscle because there is no protein coming in.

Definitely look to change your habits, and make small changes that will be likely to stick for the long-term. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a detox will solve all your problems! If you feel you want a food break for a short time then that also works with training (like a fast) but don’t kid it is a detox 😉

I was inspired to write this after sharing a post on my personal Facebook about how gin can be used for a detox benefit, and a friend commenting that detoxes are pointless. Which as you can see I agree with. But it’s also good fun to tempt those doing Dry January with 😉

Food for thought anyway… (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)



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