The Sonne's 7-day cleanse is a diet that consists of eating no food; drinking a gallon of water per day along with specific, branded liquids; taking certain supplements; and performing daily enemas or colonics. Neither the safety nor the efficacy of the Sonne's diet has been proven.
Read more: 11 Reasons You Shouldn't Do That Detox or Cleanse
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Cleanse Diets Lack Evidence
There is no conclusive evidence that abstaining from solid foods will improve your health or rid your body of toxins. In fact, solid, fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables slow digestion, improving your body's ability to absorb essential nutrients and excrete harmful toxins through stool, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Furthermore, a cleanse diet is unlikely to result in long-term weight loss. While you may notice some weight loss initially, the pounds you shed in response to a cleanse are most likely due to lost water and stool, which will return after a solid-food diet is resumed. A cleanse diet may even be counterproductive if weight loss is your goal, because the lack of calories consumed can slow your metabolic rate, or the number of calories your body burns, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Sonne's 7 Detox Side Effects
Cleanse diets starve your body of essential nutrients. Fatigue and irritability are common side effects of such diets, but they can also cause more serious complications such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies and kidney damage, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Colon cleanses or enemas, which are encouraged as a part of the Sonne's 7-day cleanse, come with their own risks. Colon cleansing involves flushing large amounts of water or other substances through the rectum and into the colon. Proponents believe that they flush harmful, disease-causing toxins out of your system. However, there is no evidence to suggest that they are necessary or beneficial, and they can cause dangerous side effects such as dehydration, infection and electrolyte imbalances, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Plus, the Sonne's 7-day cleanse, as well as many similar cleanses, promote the use of products that may not be safe.
"Packaged cleanses typically fall within the realm of dietary supplements, which are largely unregulated," says Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University in Missouri. "These may contain unlisted substances, and may interact with other medications or supplements you are taking."
Support Your Body’s Natural Detox
It's important to remember that you don't need a special diet to get rid of toxins because your body is naturally equipped to do so on its own.
Your digestive tract, liver, kidneys and skin all play a role in the process of breaking down toxins you ingest through the air you breathe or the food you eat and then eliminating them via urine, stool and sweat, per Harvard Health.
How do toxins accumulate? Harmful toxins can build up in the body when you are exposed to more toxins (through environment, diet or other factors) than you're able to excrete, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For example, this could occur in someone who consumes large amounts of alcohol over many years, or eats a diet that is too rich in mercury.
But cleanse diets are not a proven method of counteracting a buildup of toxins. Instead, you should do your best to limit your exposure to toxins and focus on supporting "your body's built-in capacity to detoxify," Linsenmeyer says.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says this includes staying hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet, including plenty of:
- Whole grains.
- Lean protein.
This way, you can detox safely and naturally.
- Cleveland Clinic: “Are You Planning a Cleanse or Detox? Read This First”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Harvard Health Ad Watch: What’s Being Cleansed in a Detox Cleanse?”
- Mayo Clinic: “Is Colon Cleansing a Good Way to Eliminate Toxins From Your Body?”
- Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, LD, spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; assistant professor, nutrition, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “What’s the Deal With Detox Diets?”
- Sonne's Organic Foods Inc.: "7-Day Cleansing Program"
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.