You couldn’t miss the detox trend unless you lived in a cave. Juicing, 3 weeks soups diet, or dandelion supplements and perlinpinpin powder… there is something for everyone and every tastes.
But why are we belived that we need a detox Is it really necessary?
As you read this article, you are in a detox processing as every moment of you life. Indeed, our body is able to manage on its own… to a point.
Need inevitable in our current society or pure marketing scam? Answer in this article.
Reminder : this article is the result of research, but I also present my own point of view. My goal is to enlighten you on subjects where we hear everything and its opposite. Build your own opinion.
What is detox ?
Definition found in dictionnary: detoxification: Physicochemical or metabolic operation by which a product loses its toxicity.
First of all let’s get it straight. There are toxins coming from outside, and toxins produced by the body itself.
“Toxic” refers to an inherent quality of a substance, and how it is metabolized by our body.
We are also talking about:
Detoxination: our cells can no longer properly eliminate waste from their own metabolism, such as free radicals for example.
Detoxication: exogenous origin, that is to say external, foreign substances such as chemical elements.
Our body is constantly dealing with substances such as pesticides, additives, chemicals found in clothes, furniture, cleaning products, air, water, but also drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoke, synthetic hormones found in the pill for example, endocrine disruptors …
We group together certain substances under the name of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which have the ability to remain for a long time in our environment and our body, such as a majority of pesticides, volatile organic components that are found in paints for example .
But these are not the only things our body has to deal with.
Our cells produce waste every day. It’s normal. This is why our body has 4 emunctories organs, that is to say 4 waste elimination systems:
Cutaneous. It is through the skin, which is very “porous”, that we sweat. The sebaceous glands and tear ducts also help mobilize toxins from the body. However, it seems that we will only eliminate a maximum of 1% of toxins when we sweat profusely.
Respirator. The nose, lungs, bronchi, throat and sinuses also filter, process and eliminate inhaled toxins and pollutants.
Urinary. The kidneys collect wastes and toxins circulating in your blood and eliminate them in the urine.
Intestinal with liver and gallbladder. The liver isolates and transforms toxic substances so that they can be eliminated. The colon eliminates waste through feces.
But that’s not all.
To eliminate waste, it is first necessary for this waste to reach these organs. The lymphatic system’s role is to drain this waste. The lymph is not capable of proper movement. It is stimulated by exercise, deep breathing and regular body movements.
It is important to note that our detoxification capacities allowed by our 5 emunctory organs (kidneys, skin, lungs, liver and large intestine) are specific to each one .
Why were we told we needed a detox?
“Our environment is polluted, our food too, our liver is exhausted, give it rest! “
These are the main arguments we hear.
The liver is quite capable of doing its job BUT if your diet is pro-inflammatory, rich in processed products, both in terms of food and drink, that you consume alcohol every day and “bad” fats. , then yes, the liver can be tired . However, no need to jump on the first juice cure you find.
The liver is the star of detox because one of its main functions is to isolate and transform toxic substances so that they can be eliminated. But, it is only one organ, whose role is to eliminate waste, among others.
The principles of detox marketing
We want to help you purify yourself, cleanse your body of accumulated waste and lose weight. The solutions offered: fruit / vegetable juices cures with spices and herbs with detoxifying properties. These jucing cures are often sold at exorbitant prices. This is pure marketing .
Detox and weight loss
Some people do a detox for weight loss. It is a mistake. Drastically reducing your calorie intake will make you lose a few pounds depending on the duration of the treatment, but this will be temporary. Once your detox is over, your pounds will come back at full speed.
Why ? Because your body will draw on its glycogen reserves to provide energy. Glycogen is the glucose stored in the muscles and the liver. However, 1g of glycogen is stored with 3g of water. If you use the stock of glycogen, you lose pounds … of water, even muscles!
However, it is possible to try to eliminate some toxins, especially obesogenic toxins . These toxins get lodged in adipose tissue (fat) and prevent you from losing weight.
The “plateau” that you may have seen if you have tried to lose weight may be due to the fact that your body is inundated with toxins released from fat loss.
Obesogenic toxins are a major problem in our society. While they alone do not explain this obesity epidemic, they do contribute to it.
Is doing a detox really necessary?
Our body detoxifies itself permanently thanks to the 4 systems seen previously. Also, some think that it is not necessary to intervene.
However, food choices, lifestyle, our environment … can influence our body’s ability to detoxify. We do not all live in a non-polluted, stress-free environment with an organic and healthy diet.
Also , it may be relevant to take a detox cure to help one of the emunctories, especially the liver. During a detox, we will not really cleanse his liver, but rather help it in its functions.
How to do a simple detox
As we always say: you have to eat everything, a little bit. The dose is the poison . Take any food, there will always be good … and less good!
Quinoa for example, it contains all amino acids. Demand has exploded… and so does its price! The populations cultivating them are no longer able to afford this pseudo-cereal which was nevertheless the basis of their diet.
Legumes, top, source of fiber, rich in protein,… and in phytic acid and enzyme inhibitor. In addition, they are poor in methionine. It is ideal to consume them with nuts or cereals for a full AA intake.
Meat ? Very good source of proteins, minerals and omega 3 … but only if the animal has been raised in good conditions, that is to say, grass-fed, without antibiotics, with space where it could build muscle, and without stress. By consuming the flesh of an animal that has received hormonal treatment or by drinking its milk, you in turn ingest these synthetic hormones . In high doses, this will have harmful consequences on your health.
Fruits, an extraordinary source of minerals and vitamins, but also, often rich in pesticides. I had a patient once who consumed up to 10 fruits a day because he had read that it was good for the health. Yes, but as a reminder, fruits are high in fructose. Yes and ? Fructose is metabolized by the liver to fat when it is present in too much quantity.
Okay, I’ll stop there, you understand the principle. No single food or nutrient can act on the liver and help it in its functions. The important thing is to eat as healthy as possible and as often as possible. Some people talk about 80/20, 80% healthy and 20% you have fun. I don’t really like this principle because it means that eating healthy is a constraint, and that it is good to indulge in cheat meals 20% of the time. For me, healthy eating shouldn’t be a burden, it should be fun .
For me, the principle of detox is to activate the 4 waste elimination systems.
Want to do a detox? Start by throwing away ultra-processed products in the trash. It will be a good start. To go further, look around you!
Throw away super harsh cleansers or artificial fragrances that you touch and breathe. Prefer more natural cleansers based on alcohol vinegar and essential oils for example. Read the list of components of your hygiene and cosmetic products. You do not understand anything ? Me neither. You find that normal ?
I now use a solid shampoo. I swapped my “silky hair” product for jojoba oil, and brushed my teeth with natural toothpaste. I use coconut oil as a lip balm and make my own deodorant with just 3 ingredients. After washing my face, I hydrate it with aloe vera, then I massage it with a little oil so that my skin does not lose its water.
I am not a natural skincare pro. You will find a lot more information on some specific websites.
Be careful with the water you drink but stay hydrated! Help your kidneys by providing water to your body that is not polluted by heavy metals. Remember, our body is mainly composed of water. Thus, he needs water, not sugary drinks!
Air your home as indoor pollution is real. Even if you’re living in town.
Favor foods from organic or sustainable agriculture. The dirty dozen is a list published each year referencing the 12 most contaminated foods in each country. Inquire!
Load up on antioxidants. Vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, glutathione peroxidase… are major antioxidants, essential for our body. Without them, our detox systems are damaged. Eat a myriad of different plants : add color to your plate!
Take care of your bowel movement. Having a bowel movement less than 3 times a week is not normal. Find our more in my article on constipation.
Sweat, activate your skin and respiratory elimination systems. Go to the sauna once a week and taking care to wash yourself well afterwards, helps activate your microcirculation.
Activate your lymphatic system by practicing for example dry brushing.
Make your own cosmetics (or buy natural products). We were made to believe that we needed deodorants, make-up remover, shower gel, shampoo adapted to our type of hair… More marketing!
Avoid heavy metals found in some fish, impure oils, deodorant, paint, dental fillings and even some foods.
Line your house or apartment with green plants that absorb toxic gases and replace them with oxygen.
Feed your microbiota . Our intestinal microbiota eliminates about 40% of the toxins contained in the food ingested. Give them a hand!
Learn to manage your stress.
We live in a society where we’d rather pay 500 euros for a detox cure thinking that it will catch up with the excesses of the last few months, rather than adopting daily actions which would be much more beneficial . If you have to run 100kms, do you think it makes more sense to run them all at once, or over several days? Food is the same.
When to do a detox?
In prevention, at each change of season, at the end of winter or summer.
Adetox can help with weight loss. Indeed, if despite your efforts the scale does not move, it may be due to an excess of toxins in your body. However, as I told you earlier that choosing to do a 3 weekds-detox cure with the only purpose of loosing weight is a mistake.
As more and more people, you may be suffering from food intolerance or sensitivity, manifested by digestive, skin or other disorders. Detoxing and eliminating foods that you suspect are causing your symptoms, or major allergenic foods (soy, eggs, dairy, gluten), is often beneficial.
Our epithelial cells (cells in the gut) regenerate every three days. So if you cut out foods that promote intestinal impermeability for a few days, it will give your cells time to regenerate. Subsequently, you will have to reintroduce these foods one by one, according to a specific protocol, in order to determine if you are intolerant to any food.
The advantages of detox cures:
Personally, I sometimes do a “detox” after a very heavy meals, when I am sick or simply when I feel that I need it. I won’t start drinking green juices for 1 week. Instead, I will skip dinner, fasting for 18 hours, or taking only vegetable soup or juice. Don’t be afraid, skipping a meal is not dangerous. Listen to your body.
I think detox cures can be a great awareness for people who eat mostly processed and ultra-processed products. If thanks to the detox cure you realize that eating “real” and healthy is good for you, bingo! But if you fall back into “bad” eating habits, you will clearly have wasted time and money !
Practicing a detox can also allow you to take time for yourself, to ask yourself questions about your diet but also about your life in general.
Cutting out processed foods and foods loaded with pesticides for several days promotes the growth of good bacteria in your gut. A balance of the microbiota is beneficial for the general state of health.
The intermittent fasting
Fasting is including as detox method. In France, this subject is quite taboo. On the other hand, in Germany and Russia, this practice is common and recognized by the medical profession.
It is difficult to assess the benefits of fasting because you cannot compare its benefits to taking medication. When we seek scientifically to prove the effectiveness of a drug, we always compare an active substance to a placebo. However, it is not possible to compare fasting to a placebo.
Intermittent fasting is a popular practice. Not eating for 14 to 16 hours gives the body rest, takes a digestive break and gives the liver time to do its detox work. Intermittent fasting, why not, as long as this rhythm suits you.
Please stop believing that a three-day detox will detoxify you.
The liver does its job very well and doesn’t really need a juice cleanse unless you eat breakfast at McDonald’s, eat KFC lunch, and dine Burger King. And even if you think you are eating unhealthy , it is not by drinking liters of organic vegetable juice bought on the internet that that will change anything ! Your liver will thank you if you save it too much work, but don’t forget your kidneys, lungs, digestive system, and skin!
We are constantly exposed to toxins. The question we must therefore ask ourselves is “am I careful to limit my exposure to these toxins?” “.
To be able to answer yes, all you have to do is get back to the basics : hydrate properly , eat a varied diet as raw as possible, avoid heavy metals , practice regular physical activity , manage stress , ensure you have a good transit and a restful sleep, imitate its consumption of refined sugars, alcohol, drugs, go to the sauna, indulge in Espom salt baths from time to time, practice dry brushing … in short, make choices judicious to maintain a good detoxification capacity all year round.
If you then want to go further by doing a detox cure or a fast, know that the method must be adapted to your needs and to your body. Also, it is essential to be followed by health professionals
To remember :
When to take a detox cure?
Weight stagnation for the purpose of weight loss
In case of food allergy or many intolerances
To do yourself good, because you feel the need to “take a break”, recommended at each change of season
Detox is not recommended for pregnant women (but women should be careful with the products they use and the environment in which they live) , children and people with TCA.
How to do a detox cure?
Talk to a health professional (naturopath, dietitian). He will help you in your process.
Principles to be adopted:
The detox does not concern only what we put in our the plate. Little by little, try to eliminate toxic products. Furthermore remember: stress is poison. Learn to manage it.