In part 1, I spoke about the detoxification capacity of detox diets. In this second and final part, I am going to address the claims of weight loss associated with detox diets.
Detox dieters generally experience rapid weight loss and equate it with either of the following –
- Detoxification of the body
- Fat loss
Let’s examine the first claim.
Does Weight Loss Equal Detoxification?
Detox diet supporters often say that weight loss on a detox diet is proof of detoxification.
As mentioned in part 1, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are stored in body fat. Fat loss during a detox diet or any other diet releases these POPs into the blood. For example, a 15-week weight loss program found an increased concentration of POPs in the blood of all subjects i.e. POPs were simply relocated from fat to blood.
POPs in the blood are more harmful than them being stored in fat as they can easily reach sensitive body organs. We also don’t have any evidence of detox diets removing POPs from the body.
Therefore, if you have stored toxins like POPs, detox diets at best don’t remove toxins and at worst they can even increase the no. of toxins circulating in your blood.
But what if you don’t have stored toxins and are following a detox diet only for the sake of weight loss?
Do Detox Diets Lead to Weight Loss?
As mentioned earlier, detox dieters generally experience rapid weight loss. But this is mostly water and not fat loss.
Why do they lose so much water? To understand this, you need to know a few basics about how carbohydrates are stored in the body.
Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen (a complicated molecule) while a small portion remains in the blood as glucose. Every gram of glycogen is stored with around 3g of water.
However, detox diets tend to heavily reduce your carbohydrate intake leading to a drop in blood glucose. To maintain blood glucose levels, glycogen is broken down to glucose.
As the glycogen breaks down over a few days, the water it is stored with is also removed by your body. A lot of water leaves your body when this happens, which you see as weight loss on the scale. The rapid weight loss you see is due to this water leaving your body and not fat.
Ok, so you can lose fat on a detox diet if you follow it for long enough but…
Are Detox Diets a Sustainable Way to Lose Weight?
The best diet to lose weight is the one which is the most sustainable for you. Unfortunately, detox diets aren’t sustainable because –
- They are very low in calories
- They can cause nutrient deficiencies
- The sudden carbohydrate reduction can make you physically and mentally sluggish.
This is where personalized diets come into the picture. Sustained healthy habits are unquestionably better in the long-term than the quick fixes offered by detox diets.
In conclusion, there’s not enough evidence to say that weight loss on a detox diet is proof of detoxification. Finally, detox diets do lead to weight loss but it is not a sustainable strategy in the long run.
If you are looking for a sustained weight loss strategy because you are tired of attempting and failing at crash diets then your search ends here with us! Drop us a message and we’ll sort out all your nutrition worries