A cleanse promises quick weight loss and increased energy, but these benefits are often short-lived. The best body cleansing systems for weight loss jump-start a healthier approach to eating so you can maintain a healthy physique for the long term. Avoid fads that require you to fast or eliminate entire food groups, as these may cause nutritional deficiencies and cravings. Seek out cleanses that provide proper portions of whole, unprocessed foods and limit added sugars, alcohol and saturated fats.
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Why You Cleanse
The concept of cleansing or detoxing is hot in the dietary world, but science isn't that supportive of these diets' purported benefits. Your body's liver, kidneys and lymphatic system are natural, powerful detoxifiers, so taking in supplements and abstaining from all food for long periods isn't necessary. But, replacing junky food that lacks in nutritional value with fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains can help you feel better by increasing your overall nutrient intake and eliminating unnecessary additives that may adversely affect your energy. A cleanse that emphasizes whole foods may also give you a new start, so you break cycles of relying on fast or processed foods.
Problems With Some Cleanses
Many cleanses are simply fad diets with fancy, catchy names. The Master Cleanse, for example, has you subsist on a concoction of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for days on end with the promise that you'll flush toxins and waste from your body. Juice fasts and cleanses that include supposedly fat-melting ingredients, such as vinegar or green tea, are all hype and have no research to support them.
Weight loss can be a side effect of these plans because you've given up solid food, but the losses aren't sustainable. The cleanses can leave you miserably hungry, so that you can't sustain the plan long enough to lose substantial weight. When you do lose weight on a fadlike cleanse, it's mostly water and may also be valuable muscle tissue. The cleanses do little to teach you about healthy eating, so when you go back to your precleanse meals, any weight you lost comes right back. Sometimes, you may even pile on extra pounds because the cleanse confused your metabolism.
Cleanses aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and may include supplements that aren't pure or may react with certain medications you're taking. Cleanses that contain very few calories or require the use of a diuretic may leave you without crucial nutrients you need for good health.
Healthy Ways to Cleanse
The top cleanses for weight loss help you moderate portion sizes and choose healthier foods. This enables you to eliminate excess calories found in foods with added sugar, saturated fats and alcohol. They teach you to crowd out unhealthy choices by opting for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains instead. A diet of whole foods usually has fewer calories than one filled with chips, snack bars, desserts and soda, too, and can thus lead to weight loss. Top cleanses won’t recommend you use herbal laxatives, enemas or syrup and saltwater solutions. Instead, you’ll rely on fiber-rich foods such as whole grains and vegetables to regulate your digestive tract. A cleansing diet that spurs you into healthier eating habits that you can sustain for a lifetime is far more valuable than one that gives you quick, but temporary, weight loss.
Things to Look For
Choose a cleanse that contains an adequate number of calories to support your daily functioning. Most women need a minimum of 1,200 calories per day, and many need more. Any cleanse that promises miracle slim-downs is suspect; weight loss takes time. Look for ones that include a variety of whole foods and no supplements. Breakfasts on a top cleanse usually include smoothies, eggs with vegetables, fresh fruit and plain yogurt or quinoa cereal with nuts. Lunches often include homemade vegetable soup, salads or steamed vegetables with beans. At dinner, baked or broiled lean protein -- including white fish, chicken breast or turkey -- along with more salads or vegetables and homemade dressings of lemon juice or vinegar and olive oil are common. Snack recommendations should not be purchased bars or snack mixes, but rather raw nuts, fresh fruit, nut butter, plain yogurt and cut-up veggies.