The Joshi Detox Diet

Herbal tea with cake in the background
A glass of herbal tea on a table. (Image: amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images)

The Joshi Detox Diet, also known as Joshi's Holistic Detox and Dr. Joshi's 21-Day Detox Diet, is a weight management plan that was designed by osteopath and holistic health clinic owner Nish Joshi. It has been both followed and endorsed by a number of celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ralph Fiennes, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss and Princess Diana. According to Joshi, the three week program will help you flush toxins out of your body, lose weight, gain energy and conquer food cravings. While the plan offers many advantages, critics question the health aspects of detox diets like the Joshi Detox Diet.

Aspects

The Joshi Detox Diet's guidelines are based on the premise that many of the foods you eat cause your body chemistry to become acidic. According to Joshi, a physically acidic environment in the body puts unnecessary strain on the digestive system, clogs the liver with toxins and causes you to gain weight because you store more food energy as fat and end up with a slower metabolism. By eating only a specific list of foods during the 21 days the detoxification program lasts, proponents of Joshi's program claim that you will replace your desire to eat acidic foods with new cravings for healthier alkaline foods. While on the diet, you should strive to eat only fresh, organic, locally grown produce and drink room temperature water, but not too much. Joshi also recommends a number of alternative medicine therapies, including meditation, herbal supplements, colonic irrigations, reflexology, cupping and various aspects of Ayurvedic medicine philosophy.

Foods to Eat and Avoid

While on the Joshi Detox Diet, you should avoid eating all red meat; alcohol, including beer, wine or champagne; any processed foods; any form of sugar; all fruit except for bananas; all dairy products made from cow's milk; nuts; tea and coffee, including both caffeinated and decaffeinated forms; potatoes; jams, jellies and preserves; any products containing gluten, yeast or wheat; and all food items containing artificial flavors.

Joshi recommends replacing these items in your diet with soy products such as tofu; lean protein from turkey, chicken and fish other than tuna, swordfish and all types of shellfish; eggs; herbal tea, especially green tea; beans and legumes; brown rice; olive oil; leafy, dark green vegetables; olive oil; honey; both soy and rice milk; live yogurt; and ricotta or cottage cheese as well as buffalo or goat cheeses.

Advantages

The Joshi Detox Diet places a strong emphasis on lean protein sources, fruit and green vegetables and encourages dieters to avoid sugar and all processed foods--all habits that can help to decrease the risk of developing a number of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Additionally, journalists who followed the full program after visiting with Joshi -- including one reporter from the "Independent" and one from "The Guardian" -- both reported successfully losing weight by the conclusion of the plan.

Disadvantages

The most prominent disadvantage of the Joshi Detox Diet is the dietary restrictions required to follow the program successfully. Many dieters -- such as Simon Hattenstone, the journalist who tried the diet and wrote about it on the Guardian.co.uk site -- find giving up large categories of food difficult, and that while they may have lost weight, they do not experience better health by following the plan. According to the Fiterati.ca site, many Joshi Detox Diet followers instead end up suffering from nausea, extreme fatigue and migraine headaches for at least two weeks out of the three week program.

Expert Insight

According to the Reader's Digest.ca site, there are no reliable scientific studies available to prove whether detoxification diets like Joshi's 21-day plan succeed in doing what they promise to do for dieters. Nor are there studies that show whether the foods forbidden on the Joshi Detox Diet cause the body to become more acidic, less healthy and more resistant to weight loss. The site concludes that, "Going on a detox diet for a short period is not going to make you healthier." Additionally, the "Independent" reports that the director of nutrition and dietetics at King's College Hospital in London says the diet is "not healthful."

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