Before you go on a diet, you might want to prepare your body for the process of losing weight. Some people believe that a pre-diet detoxifying cleanse can help your body's organs function better by clearing them of poisons or toxins that have accumulated over time. However, medical science offers no support for the value of a detoxifying cleanse. Nevertheless, a short pre-diet cleanse might help you get in the proper mindset for success.
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Fasting and a body detoxification or "cleanse" might aid dieting by helping the body's tissues function better, according to the website Every Diet. A cleanse can help remove unhealthy bacteria and yeast in the body, which feed on old food residues if they are not cleared out, according to Natalia Rose, author of Detox for Women, a popular detoxification program. Women are particularly susceptible to yeast, because estrogen helps it breed, she says.
Detoxes have gained attention as celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey have tried detoxification programs and publicized them. Paltrow has tried the Master Cleanse, which features a regimen of lemonade, but is a proponent of Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D. Oprah tried the Quantum Wellness 21-Day Cleanse and featured it on her show and blog. You can use either cleanse for weight loss or to prepare the body for a diet.
The idea behind any detox diet, according to Every Diet, is that removing toxins from your body will help the lymph, liver and kidneys perform their functions better. Most detox diets are very strict but only last from a few days to 10 days. Fasting or liquid- or raw food-only regimens are part of many diets. Several detox plans, such as The Weight Loss Cure, lead into a longer-term diet program.
Most detoxifying diets have several foods in common, according to Every Diet. Most require organic foods that are free of pesticides and fungicides. High quantities of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, water and whole, unprocessed foods are also common. Most of the diets also require you to avoid smoking, alcohol, processed and refined foods, and stress.
Before going on a cleansing or detoxifying diet, it is important to recognize that science does not support their claims. According to Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, there's little evidence that detoxes help remove toxins from the body; the kidneys and liver naturally do this job. She also warns that if you try a detox, be aware of possible side effects -- nausea, fatigue, dizziness and dehydration -- and check with your doctor first.