A "grape detox diet" may include eating only or mostly grapes for a short period, with the goal of "detoxifying" your body. This is based on the mistaken idea that we must cleanse our bodies of toxins using special diets or products, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
There is little evidence that any detox diet — including a grape detox diet — will actually remove a substantial amount of toxins from the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Detox Diet Myths
There are many different detox diets and detox products sold today. "When I talk with clients or students about a 'detox diet,' I find that there are a wide variety of interpretations of this term," says Pittsburgh-based Caroline Passerrello, RDN, LND, a spokesperson for the AND and an instructor in the graduate dietitian nutritionist program at the University of Pittsburgh.
"Some people focus on abstinence from certain foods and beverages, and some people focus on elimination, ridding their bodies of what they believe to be 'toxins,' and then there are some that do a little, or a lot, of both."
But your body is already designed to detoxify itself on its own, according to the Mayo Clinic. The body has a natural detoxification system working constantly to flush out toxins ingested through the air you breathe or the food you eat. The kidneys and liver both play essential roles in converting toxins from substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco into waste products, and then flushing them out through urine, feces and sweat, according to the AND.
Too much exposure to toxins — for example, heavy alcohol use over many years or eating a lot of high-mercury foods — can overwhelm your body's ability to excrete these toxins, forcing it to store toxins and potentially harming your health, per the AND.
But unfounded detox diets or products are not the best ways to avoid a build-up of toxins. Instead, you should do your best to limit your exposure to toxins and "focus on supporting the natural detox system," Passerrello says.
You can support your body's natural detox system by staying hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet, according to the AND, which includes:
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
You can also incorporate fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Restrictive Diets Are Risky
A diet that encourages you to only eat grapes will deprive your body of essential nutrients like protein, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Such a restrictive diet is unlikely to lead to weight loss, and it can even have a counterproductive effect by slowing your metabolic rate — or the number of calories your body burns — according to Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the AND and an assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University.
While eating only grapes as a part of a detox diet is not an effective way to lose weight or detoxify your body, grapes do have health benefits when included as part of a balanced diet.
Grapes as Part of a Healthy Diet
One cup of grapes provides the following nutrients, according to the USDA:
- Calories: 62
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Total carbs: 15.8 g
- Dietary fiber: 0.8 g
- Sugar: 15 g
- Protein: 0.6 g
Grapes are made up of about 82 percent water, according to the USDA, making them a very hydrating food.
Grapes are also famous for their antioxidants. Research suggests eating antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and legumes may be associated with a lower risk of heart diseases and cancer, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
A compound called resveratrol, found in grapes, has sometimes been theorized to have cancer-preventing powers, but research has not yet backed up these claims, according to the National Cancer Institute.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “What’s the Deal With Detox Diets?”
- Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN; spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; instructor, graduate dietitian nutritionist program, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Mayo Clinic: “Do Detox Diets Offer Any Health Benefits?”
- Harvard Medical School: “The Dubious Practice of Detox”
- Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, LD; spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; assistant professor, nutrition and dietetics, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Grapes American Type (Slip Skin) Raw”
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Antioxidants”
- National Cancer Institute: “Alcohol and Cancer Risk”
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