Can Cleansing Kick Start a Weight Loss Plan?

Detox Blocks

For many people, quick weight loss at the start of a diet makes them feel successful and gives them an incentive to keep going. It's not uncommon for dieters to consider starting with a "cleanse." The concept behind these – sometimes also called detoxing – is to rid the body of toxins. There are some problems with that idea.

Cleansing Isn't Necessary

A cleanse is nearly always a mostly liquid or all liquid diet. Recipes abound, and may include cleanses based on fruit juices, a particular kind of soup – like the cabbage soup diet popular some years ago – and various other ingredients such as cayenne pepper, herbs or high amounts of citrus juice. What all of these have in common is that they don't include adequate calories or nutrients like protein. In most cases, you spend a week or so (sometimes longer) on "the cleanse" and then go back to eating a restricted-calorie diet.

While a cleanse might result in an initial quick weight loss, it's because you're not eating much and because the ingredients often irritate the intestinal tract and cause diarrhea. You might lose weight, but it's primarily water. On a cleanse, your carbohydrates are limited (carbohydrates increase water retention). As soon as you go back to eating normally, the weight loss reverses itself. Of greater concern is that a cleanse can disrupt your body's systems, resulting in constipation, low energy levels or other problems.

Weight Loss Should Focus on the Long Term

Weight loss isn't about the initial kick-start, it's about what happens over the long term. If you're serious about losing weight, you would do well to avoid the cleanse concept and embark on a healthy, real food eating program, plus regular exercise. Support and encouragement from someone who's been there – like the counselors at the Metabolic Research Center – can help you attain your goals and keep the weight off.



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