January Detox – Real or Ruse?

Every year in January, as the population sets out to achieve their New Year resolutions, diet and health companies beginning banging the drum of a relatively new concept: the Detox Diet. The idea is simple: give up ‘toxins’ such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, preservatives, etc, for a few weeks to allow your liver to return to ‘normal’. While this sounds sensible and easy to visualise, many health practitioners have begun to explore the true value of the detox. Should we all be doing it? And, furthermore, should we be spending money on health products to enhance our results?

First of all, let’s explore the toxins that you’ve accumulated, and supposedly need to detox. A healthy, working body has kidneys, a liver, skin, and lungs that are ‘detoxifying’ all the time. Right now, whether you have a double-mocha or a green tea in your hand, all of those functioning organs are detoxifying your system. If toxins could build up in your system in a way your body didn’t process them, you would at least be ill – or maybe dead by now. So there is no amount of green juice shakes that can provoke that process – it’s what your body does already.

So, detox or no detox, you’re going to be okay. But let’s talk about valid reasons to detox.

The respectable reason to detox might be to manage overindulgence. Taking a few weeks off something that is overused – whether it is your morning coffee jolt or your after work-pints – is good practice to moderate habits. The biggest benefit you will get from this process, aside from the assumed reduction in caloric intake, is more of a mental exercise – to assess whether the indulgences are still at a healthy and manageable level. It’s always a great practice to take a step back and assess our physical and mental health.

Of course, doing a detox also has the benefit of hitting the ‘reset’ button on your diet practices in general. Forcing you to use less salt or sugar, or avoid fast-foods, will show you how your habits may have slipped over the last 11 months, and prove to you that you can eat clean. And doing so will naturally make you feel better (as long as you don’t take it too extreme and end up crashing).