THE DANGERS OF DETOX
With the warmer weather gradually returning, so too is the reminder that very, very soon we’ll be baring more flesh and it probably wouldn’t hurt to lose a kilo or two over the next few weeks.
But before you run out and spend your hard-earned dollars on the latest outrageous detox program, there are few important things to know that may prevent you from doing more harm to your body than good.
The first thing to keep in mind when considering a “detox” or period of rapid weight loss is that the body does not actually “need” to be detoxed – the liver and the kidneys already do a very good job of this.
For that reason any pack of pills and potions that cost $39.99 and promise you the world are not likely to do much at all except help you to feel as if you are following a special “regime”.
One of the biggest concerns in relation to commercial detox programs is that not only do some encourage you to replace all of your food but that they may also contain a number of additives which can potentially give cause for concern.
While we do need a certain number of vitamins and minerals to allow our body to function optimally, more and more of these essential nutrients are not a good thing, and in fact could even be toxic long term.
For this reason, any program that encourages multiple vitamins, supplements, herbs and powders should be approached with extreme caution.
Even the good old “protein” shake needs to be checked, as many varieties contain the full ratio of essential nutrients which means that consuming several of these a day may leave you vulnerable to constipation and exposed to a toxic level of some nutrients.
So what should you look for if you do want to drop a few kilos in time for summer?
Yes, you can use a shake, or more specifically a meal replacement to help kick-start your regime. A meal replacement, which will have this clearly stated on the label, is scientifically formulated to replace a meal, with fewer calories than food.
Replacing one or two of your meals with such a products should help you to drop a kilo or two relatively quickly.
Next, and most importantly, all you need to do is load your diet up with fresh fruits and vegetables and ditch the alcohol and coffee for a short period of time.
Eliminate all processed foods, cakes, bars and snacks and simply get all of your nutrition for a week or two from clean, whole foods.
Large salads for your meals, a vegetable soup once a day and a small amount of whole grains such as oats, brown rice and beans and a little lean protein from fish, eggs and nuts.
While it may not sound as flash as the latest and greatest program, you are guaranteed to feel better, lose weight and save some serious cash in the process, without doing any possible damage to your body long term.
*Susie Burrell is one of Australia’s leading dietitians with degrees in both nutrition and psychology. Susie regularly appears on Channel 7’s Today Tonight and Sunrise and is a regular contributor to Woman’s Day and SHAPE magazines. Susie released her first book, Losing the last 5kg last year and has a nutrition practice in Sydney. For more information go to www.susieburrell.com.au.