Fruit & Vegetable Detox Diets

Celebrities, co-workers and your Aunt Betty all want to detox on fruits and veggies to rid their bodies of toxins. But your body doesn't need a special diet that involves severely restricting food intake to rid itself of toxic substances -- it does this naturally every day. Fruit and vegetable detox diets, like other restrictive diets, are fad diets that make false promises, and they may not be the best choice for everyone.

A man carrying a crate of fresh vegetables. Credit: altrendo images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

What's Involved

Searching the Internet, you may find any number of fruit and veggie detox diets. While they vary in some ways, they all have a similar theme -- eating nothing but fruits and vegetables for a set period of time. The time frame of these detox diets usually ranges from one day to a week. Some of these diets also include a detox drink or tea to help with the purification process.

The Claim

The theory behind the detox diet is that your body is unable to rid itself properly of the toxic substances you ingest every day. These toxins hang around in your body and cause ailments such as fatigue, headaches and nausea. On a detox diet, you give up foods that make your body toxic and instead eat or drink foods that help your body purge itself of toxic substances. Proponents of the diet claim that a detox diet improves health, lowers your risk of disease, gives you more energy and helps you focus.

The Truth

There is no scientific proof that a detox diet rids your body of toxic substances. In fact, your liver and kidneys naturally detox your body every day, removing and eliminating waste, bacteria and other harmful substances through their normal physiological process. If your liver or kidneys are diseased, they may not be able to rid your body of toxins, but in that case, you need serious medical attention -- a detox diet won't help and may do more harm. Detox diets may also be harmful to certain groups of people, including people with diabetes or heart disease and teens. And, if you're detoxing to lose weight, you're most likely losing muscle and water, not fat. You'll likely regain the weight once you go back to eating your regular diet.

Benefits of a Balanced Diet

Eating can harm your body. When your body turns food into energy, it creates free radicals, which are chemicals that damage cells. Food is also a source of free radicals. To prevent harm from these chemicals, you need to eat a diet that is rich in antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good sources of antioxidants. In addition to antioxidants, if you want to keep your body healthy and energized, you need to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups. That means including lean sources of protein such as seafood and beans, as well as low-fat dairy.

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