Do weight loss cleanses really work? From skinny teas to juice cleanses, many of us try to “reboot” our body using different techniques such as juicing.
But the question that remains is: Do these tactics actually work, or are they just a waste of money?
This question is vital for two reasons:
- If weight loss cleanses do work, then they could be the answer to a lot of health problems!
- If cleanses don’t work, they are not only a risk to your waistline, energy, and wallet but also to your health.
So today, we are going to dive into this age old question and discover the truth behind what cleanses (if any) actually hold the power to change your health, or if they are all, in fact, just a waste of time.
Table of Contents
- Detoxing and Weight Loss
- Do Cleanses Actually Detox?
- Weight Loss Cleanse Myths
- What Types of Cleanses Are There?
- Which Cleanses Work Best?
- What to Do After a Cleanse?
- What a Cleanse Is
- Want Weight Loss Tips? We've Got Them
Detoxing and Weight Loss
The number one reason people go on cleanses is for (you guessed it) weight loss! Are you surprised?
So, if people cleanse to lose weight what is the deal with all the “detoxing” slang?
Well, many people believe that toxins cause slowed metabolisms and weight gain. 
I can see your wheels turning. “So… if I decrease toxins, then I might lose weight too?” Bingo! Hence, weight loss cleanses and detoxes go hand in hand.
Do Cleanses Actually Detox?
There are two separate ends of this spectrum. On the one side, you have many medical professionals stating that the body is capable of detoxing itself.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, author of the belly fat fix put it this way:
“Organs and the immune system can handle detoxification on their own, no matter what you eat. The best detox is an overall healthful eating plan along with plenty of fluid that promotes regular trips to the bathroom.” 
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, you have dietitians like Robin Foroutan who say cleansing is a “legitimate component of health.”
While some cleanses are a waste of money, she holds that others aid detoxification in a helpful way. 
“If a detox means cleaning up your diet, it has perks. A five-day juice or veggie cleanse, for example, may cut out problematic foods, like wheat, dairy, and artificial ingredients, flooding your body with antioxidants.”
It’s pretty clear that we’re bombarded with toxins everywhere! In fact, some articles claim that 515 chemicals come from just daily products! 
It’s pretty clear we weren’t meant to live in such a toxic environment. So, it brings up the question: could our bodies need a little extra help? Could a toxin flush result in long-term weight loss?
Yes, some commercial cleanses out there are wild and dangerous! But, as Robin claims, it might not be as all or nothing as it seems.
Weight Loss Cleanse Myths
Does any weight loss cleanse actually lead to weight loss? Is it long-term?
If a crash diet is your only motive for doing a cleanse I would rethink it. There are several reasons why cleanses could result in fast weight loss:
- Reduced processed foods
- Reduced sodium
- Automatically eliminates most allergens or sensitivities
- Provides your body with plenty of nutrients
- Gives your digestion a break, providing more energy to healing
- Reduced artificial sugar
However, that doesn’t mean the weight loss is sustainable. In fact, more than anything what is lost is mostly water weight.
Crash diets have never worked long-term and cleanses are not a “healthy” excuse to go on one.
Cleanses were designed to boost nutrients and help your body run optimally. If they are used as a quick fix, then they will be a quick fail as well.
In my opinion, yes. “Cleanses” could be beneficial, but don’t stack up on lemon and maple syrup just yet!
Linda Page, N.D., Ph.D., and the author of Detoxification, states that “we need cleanses now more than ever!” 
However, Page is also candid about the fact that she almost “detoxed” herself to death once.
Yes, aiding your body to detox could be beneficial, but a weight loss cleanse that involves only chugging maple syrup is probably the last thing you need!
So, if we do cleanse, which ones are best and how do we find the right one?
What Types of Cleanses Are There?
Of all the cleanses out there, it seems like there are a few primary ones most people cycle through.
1. Whole Foods Cleanse
No, I’m not talking about the store. A whole foods cleanse is based on eating whole foods and eliminating anything processed. An example of this would be the Whole Foods Diet.
These types of cleanses are some of my personal favorites since they are more gentle and don’t drastically cut your protein intake. This is the style of detox Dr Hyman (and many other professionals) are the biggest advocates of. 
2. Juice Cleanses
I have a love-hate relationship with this one. While I love how fresh-pressed juices can load your body with nutrients, they can also load your body with a lot of sugar!
The natural result is blood-sugar imbalance and could lead to crashes. One way to naturally reduce this is to add more vegetables to your juices, like celery, cucumber, greens, etc. and not cut out solids entirely.
The key is to add fiber and protein and reduce sugar to help balance your system more than traditional juice cleanses.
3. Smoothie Cleanse
The idea behind a smoothie cleanse is that they are easier to digest while being full of nutrients and low in calories.
Unlike juicing, it is easy to add necessary protein to your diet. Also, blending smoothies helps retain much of the fiber that is lost in processes like juicing.
4. Tea Cleanses
Um… Yikes! These teas help “cleanse” your body by increasing bowel movements. Just make sure you have nothing planned for the day…
5. Sugar Cleanse
This detox works by helping balance your blood sugar. This is known to be a great option for people trying to cut the sugar habit.
It works much like a whole foods cleanse by adding plenty of quality plants and protein to your diet while cutting out refined sugars.
Another personal favorite of mine is fasting! Giving our digestion a break is, in my opinion, a great way to reset your body. Fasts don’t need to last all day to be effective, either.
Some people fast for 16 hours through the night, others for 14, and some for 24 or more! According to WebMD, fasting has been used for ages to aid in detoxification. It is known to be one of the most time-proven methods to boost health.
7. Crazy Fad “Cleanses”
Don’t even bother with these ones. If it has the label “lose 10 pounds in 2 days” on it, steer clear! As I mentioned before, fast weight loss just means a crash in metabolism.
That’s not what we’re looking for. If anything, what we need is a whole-foods fresh start!
Which Cleanses Work Best?
While most of these cleanses could have spectacular benefits (ignoring the fad and tea listings), there are a few deciding factors to work through to decide which one suits you.
1. Check with Your Doctor First
Before starting any new cleanse, make sure you are getting the advice of a health care professional. Some health issues could be complicated extremely with certain types of cleanses.
Do your research first!
2. Ask Yourself: Is It Something That Hasn’t Worked for You in the Past?
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The same applies to your nutrition.
Have juice cleanses resulted in binges every time? Then find a different approach!
3. Take it Slow
While juice cleansing might boost energy for someone who generally eats healthy, cutting out everything at once might be too drastic for the average person.
Often, an all or nothing approach is not the way to go. Gauge where you are and practically work to where you want to be.
For instance, the average junk food junkie might do best starting with a sugar cleanse by reducing soda and sweets.
To this person, jumping straight into a fast or juice cleanse could make them feel horrible at first and could even be potentially dangerous!
4. Check with Your Own Lifestyle
Let’s be real, if you know a certain type of cleanse will result in you starving all day only to run to a drive through at night, then it’s not your best option. Find a cleanse that is doable with your lifestyle.
You’ll be all the better for it!
5. Don’t Cut out All Solid Food
You don’t have to cut out all solids to achieve great results! In fact, protein is almost essential for an effective detox.  It can be hard to get an effective amount from liquids alone.
If you opt for juicing for the nutrient boost, consider pairing it with solid food throughout the day to keep you satiated.
What to Do After a Cleanse?
Here comes the most important point of all! What do you do after a cleanse? Do the juices just pave the way for the endless hamburgers you will have the following week?
Before the post-cleanse process, we need to understand two detrimental mindsets first.
A Cleanse Is Not the Same as a Crash Diet
A cleanse is NOT supposed to be used as a crash diet. I repeat.
A cleanse is NOT a crash diet! If the number one reason you want to go on a cleanse is to lose weight quickly, then you might want to reconsider whether going on one is actually right for you.
Science has consistently shown that crash diets reduce metabolism. It’s the reason why people tend to gain weight after losing massive amounts in a short amount of time.
Because of this, going on long-term fasts or liquid cleanses might not be the best idea – especially if you know you are going to go back to your previous way of eating.
The reduced metabolism will merely make you pile on the weight once you introduce those foods back into your diet.
A Cleanse Should Not Be a Purge/Binge Situation
To follow up with the first harmful mindset, a cleanse shouldn’t be an excuse to eat whatever you want once your finished with it.
What good is it to cleanse your body of toxins only to slam your body with foods it is no longer used to processing?
Instead, try to maintain a healthy diet after the cleanse is over.
What a Cleanse Is
and mind to reduce cravings, food addictions, intolerances, and toxins.
That being said, having a game plan is a pivotal part of the process that most people skip!
When resetting your body, you now have the perfect opportunity to start a new and healthier lifestyle without being bogged down by sugar cravings, habits, or sluggishness that you might have experienced before!
Setting Up a Game Plan
Even before starting your cleanse, decide on a plan of action to come off of it.
Will you reintroduce foods slowly? Are there certain foods, like sugar or additives, that you want to cut out entirely? Will you have a meal plan to stick to?
The answer to all of these questions depends entirely on you, your preferences, and your history. Know what has worked in the past and implement that into your plan on coming off the cleanse.
Otherwise, an unexpected binge could destroy all the effort you put in.
Ideas for Cleansing Slowly and Naturally
As I mentioned before, sometimes a full blown cleanse might not be the best option!
Whether it’s for medical reasons or a history of not being able to stick to a nutrition plan, finding gentle and natural ways to cleanse might actually be the best way to ease your body into it.
If you are looking for ways to cleanse daily without going on a full blown cleanse diet, try some of these great options!
1. Sweat it Out
Sweating has been found to be a really effective way to rid your body of toxins and unnecessary sodium. Naturally, the best way to achieve this is through working out, since it increases blood flow and detoxes you naturally.
However, there are several other ideas to increase this effect as well. Try a hot yoga class, use a sauna, or take a hot bath in epsom salt.
2. Drink Water
Drink your water! I know you’ve heard it before, but it is absolutely essential to getting your body a fresh new start! Think of water as the power washer inside of you.
I love starting my day with a large glass of water!
3. Add Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a natural way of detoxing in and of itself!
4. Eat Plenty of Fiber
As I mentioned before, water is the power washer, but fiber is the scrub! Adding a good amount of fiber into your diet will ensure your body has an outlet for excreting unnecessary toxins from your body.
5. Eliminate Processed Foods and Sugar
I’m sure this goes without saying, but it’s going to be difficult to rid your body of toxins while loading it with new ones every day. To ease into things, try applying the 80/20 rule in your life.
Eat healthy 80% of the time and enjoy a small treat every now and then.
6. Try Herbal Remedies
Some herbs like dandelion root and green tea have been found effective in reducing toxins. Do a little research and discover what foods and herbs you can easily sneak into your daily diet to get great results!
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a healthy lifestyle isn’t either. Don’t rush things. Instead, build an amazing lifestyle one habit at a time.
Remember what is waiting for you at the end: A happy and fulfilling life full of the energy you need to bless those around you.
Want Weight Loss Tips? We’ve Got Them
- 8 Wonderful Weight Loss Tracker Apps: Achieve Your Fitness Goals Fast
- 10 Ways to Boost Your Weight Loss Productivity
- 10 Effective Fat Burning Weight Loss Exercises to Do at Home
- 20 Delicious and Healthy Breakfasts for Weight Loss
Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com
|||^||Dr. Hyman: How Toxins Make You Fat: 4 Steps to Get Rid of Toxic Weight|
|||^||Today’s Dietician: Diet and Detoxification|
|||^||San Antonio Neuropathy Center: Daily Toxin Intake: How Many Toxins Are You Actually Accumulating?|
|||^||Huffpost: The Average Woman Puts 515 Synthetic Chemicals on Her Body Every Day Without Knowing|
|||^||Google Books: Detoxification|
|||^||Dr. Hyman: Helpful or the Latest Fad? The Truth About Detoxification?|
|||^||WebMD: Detox Diets: Cleansing the Body|
|||^||Healthy Chef: Why You Need Protein for Effective Detoxing|