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Detoxing the truth behind celebrity diets

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By: Sohana Farhin/ SHEC

Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Oprah, Salma Hayek, Megan Fox, the clan of Kardashians, Jared Leto and Beyonce, have claimed to use detox diets to lose weight. The most popular celebrity detox diet is known as the Master Cleanse.

The Master Cleanse was created by Stanley Bourroughs, a man arrested for practicing medicine without a proper license. The detox diet promises to “cleanse the body of toxins and obliterate cravings for juices, alcohol, tobacco and junk food.” The diet plan consists of drinking a glass of salt water in the morning, 6-10 glasses of a concoction consisting of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper throughout the day and drinking a laxative tea at night for 10 days. For these 10 days, you do not consume any solid foods.

First and foremost, what does it mean to detox your body? “De-tox” literally means eliminating toxins — harmful agents that are found in the environment, including mercury and bisphenol A. Detoxification is a natural process that occurs in your body in which organs such as your liver, your kidneys, your lungs, or your skin excrete toxins to eliminate them from your body. Despite being “based on a natural bodily process,” there is no scientific evidence that proves that certain detox diets actually help the organs in our body in the process of detoxification. Detox is becoming a buzzword widely used by celebrities, and it is essentially a sales pitch with no evidence-based research to back it up.

At the end of the day, losing weight can be attributed to creating a calorie deficit, which means burning more calories in a day than you are eating. Celebrities have used the Master Cleanse to lose weight, but the reason they are losing weight is not because the concoctions they drink throughout the day have magical detoxifying properties, but rather because of the large calorie deficit that these diets promote. Although you will consume very few calories while on a “detox” diet, you will be deprived of macro and micronutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally. This will stress your body, with particularly intense effects on the digestive tract, and may have negative long-term health effects. Additionally, it can lead to a cycle of dieting followed by binging. This process, popularly referred to as “yo-yo dieting,” can lead to weight gain as well as physical and mental health complications. Ultimately, it is advisable to always consult a healthcare professional to make dietary restrictions that will work for you and your health long-term.

 

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