Those interested in shedding a couple pounds while getting healthy in the process are often attracted to the "quick and easy" programs offered by the various detox diets and cleanses on the market. After all, there are many options to choose from, many of them claiming to do everything from clearing the digestive track to curing acne. But those interested in undertaking one of these detox programs should know exactly what it is they are getting into before they sign up.
The first step to finding the right cleansing regimen is to understand fully what constitutes a "detox" diet. Health experts agree that there is no firm set of rules governing what can and cannot be considered a cleanse or detox. However, there are general guidelines that allow a detox diet to be categorized as such. Low-calorie diets that focus on cutting processed foods, alcohol and anything cooked while promoting the intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and fluids can be considered cleanses.
That begs the question: is a detox diet really necessary? Many nutritionists will say no because vital organs, such as the kidney and liver, are the human body's natural cleanser of toxins. Not only that, but cleanses aren't designed primarily as a weight-loss method. Any weight that is lost on a detox diet is usually the result of lost muscle mass due to the starving of the body. That means not only is the weight unlikely to stay off, the body's immune system could be compromised by the crash course as well.
But those who have relied on a diet rich in unhealthy foods or who have abused substances such as alcohol may see some benefits in a cleanse. But just as there are many dubious fad diets out there in the world of health and fitness, there are many fad cleanses and detoxes as well. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff and figure out not only which detoxes and cleanses are legitimate, but which ones will work for you.
With that in mind, here are some rules to abide by when considering a detox regimen.
CHOOSE A MANAGEABLE PROGRAM
Body-cleanse programs that last for a week or more are not only likely to be ineffective, they are oftentimes unhealthy as well. That's why it's important to pick a program that lasts a maximum of three days and allows for a daily intake of 1000 calories. Avoid plans that involve supplements and stick with those regimens that promote fresh fruits and vegetables. By adhering to these principles you will likely find an effective cleanse that won't compromise your metabolism in the long run.
AVOID CONTINUAL CLEANSES
According to most nutritionists, once one detox is finished that is absolutely not the time to start another one. Health experts recommend no more than four cleanses a year with three months between each one.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
A cleanse alone does not a healthy lifestyle make. At best a detox diet primes the mind and body; it's up to the individual to follow through. That means maintaining a post-cleanse diet focusing on the elimination of added sugars, processed foods and other toxins from the body.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when trying to discern which detox program is right for you. But as mentioned above, without a true commitment to a healthier lifestyle, any and every detox diet out there is a fad that won't end up being very effective.
Natalie Parsons is a professional blogger that provides information for health, fitness and finding affordable gym memberships that works for you. She writes for Fitness 19, a leading fitness center that has affordable health club memberships.