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Does detoxing really help you lose weight?

  • Posted by Catherine Tumelty
  • 25 February 2013

We’ve seen it all over magazines; celebrities talking about how they swear by their latest ‘detox diet’ . But do these diets actually help you lose weight? The theory behind detoxification diets is that our bodies can become overloaded with toxins that come from foods, drinks, cigarettes and the environment. Food preservatives, caffeine, alcohol nicotine and pesticides are the common offenders. So, in order to rid our body of these toxins, you go on a 'detox'. Some benefits of detoxing include:

  • Improves digestion, less bloating, indigestion, constipation and gas
  • Breathing more deeply
  • Decrease in allergic/reaction response to food
  • Increases energy
  • Improves health overall
  • Realisation that you can enjoy eating lighter
  • Weight Loss

Here is a run down of some popular detox diets: The Lemon Detox A 1-7 day liquid diet where meals are replaced with a lemon, Madal Bal Syrup, and Cayenne Pepper drink. Pros:

  • Weight Loss
  • Improves confidence and self-esteem
  • Motivation to improve your lifestyle
  • Energy boost
  • Increases your vigour and vitality


  • Vomiting/nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling cold

* Note: the more fluid you consume and stay hydrated, the less those symptoms will effect you. But, if the symptoms last longer than a few days, you should see a medical practitioner. The Acai Berry DetoxCompletely eliminates all toxins from the body, however, it is to be combined with an exercise regimen for full effect. Pros:

  • High antioxidants reduce the risk of disease associated with ageing and cancer
  • Good for the dieters/physically active, neutralizes the free radicals that are produced during exercise
  • Reported decrease in appetite and increased energy levels


  • Unsupported claims that it causes weight loss
  • Doesn’t encourage lifestyle change
  • Holds a ‘quick fix’ approach to weight loss
  • Expensive

Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox Often controversial, stating that you can lose 21 pounds in 21 days. It begins as a liquid diet, where after 21 days you ‘upgrade’ to detox foods. Pros

  • Weightloss


  • May leave you dehydrated
  • Body absorbs nutrients poorly
  • Low-protein diet – losing muscle mass, compromises immune system

So, will detoxing your body help you lose weight? Of course it will, initially, when you’re cutting out 2,500 to 1,000 calories each day. Kicking junk food out of your diet and replacing it with fresh fruits, vegetables and juice will definitely make you cause a significant amount of weight loss. However, using a detox diet as a main way of losing weight, especially over a long period of time, will eventually backfire and won't benefit your body because you're denying it the nutrients, proteins and even carbohydrates that it requires. Have you ever tried a detox diet?