You’re being lied to.
Whenever someone tries to sell you a detox pack, be it a “flush” or a “cleanse” – beware, it’s a scam. All the talk about helping you lose weight and burn extra fat because you’re “purified” is non-sense.
Your body is already a cleansing machine, expert at getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. Americans have never been more afraid of environmental chemicals, low-quality diets, and the harmful side effects of cumulative bad choices.
Let’s be real here: detoxing is not a way to atone for your bodily sins or bad habits.
This post is going to look at the biological realities of why keeping your body clear of toxins is important. We’re going to talk about how to optimize your organs, what makes a healthy detox diet, and the best practices to make sure you feel your best, don’t get backed up, and stay running at high-levels.
The truth is, detoxing is a matter of eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy internal ecosystem.
We’ll also show you the real fat-detox diet that’s making huge changes for people around the world. Good news is, you get to eat your way to a healthy system.
The Organs Of Detoxification
When we talk detox, three organs and three phases place crucial roles. The three organs are the skin,the kidneys, and the liver.
Skin – the body’s largest organ is also the body’s largest organ for detoxification, absorbing the environmental toxins it contacts and eliminating them through sweat.
Kidneys – the kidneys filter your blood and excrete toxins through urine.
Colon – Toxins are metabolized within the body, packaged up with fiber and then sent out in the form of waste. With any effort to increase detoxification, making sure you’re getting enough dietary fiber and water will help you adequately flush the system.
Liver – The liver screens every single molecule that circulates the body, transforming all toxins into harmless, biodegradable substances.
Those that advocate paid detox measures paint a picture of the kidneys and liver acting as filters, screens that physically capture and retain toxins passing through the body. Truth, is these organs don’t need to be wrung out like a sponge, or swapped out like an oil filter in your car.
The kidneys and liver don’t work this way. To argue that organs require a “cleanse” demonstrates a ignorance of physiology, metabolism, and toxicity.
The liver is self-cleansing. Toxins do not accumulate in it, unless you’ve got a documented liver disease.
Kidneys excrete waste products into the urine – otherwise these substances will circulate the blood. Unless you’re experiencing kidney failure, no worries here.
The 3 Phases of Detoxification
There are three distinct stages to eliminating toxins from the body and moving them out through elimination. In each step, the body performs chemical reactions that facilitate break down. Each of these phases requires certain nutrients to complete.
Without these nutrients, the body is unable to compete the biochemical pairings needed to complete elimination processes. In other words, without eating right, you do actually contribute to overall toxicity levels.
First, the liver screens every single molecule that circulates within the body, transforming the toxic ones in harmless, biodegradable substances. This continuous cycle of molecular breakdown even applies to “good” molecules such as hormones. Many outward signs of bodily distress, of feeling stuffed or bloated are actually the result of hormones not being properly recycled or eliminated. Such symptoms include: infertility, acne, bloating, breast tenderness, low sex drive, or sensations of being “stuffed.”
Phase 1 Necessary Nutrients:
- Vitamins B3, B6, B12, A, C, and E
Sources: Fruits, vegetables, soaked whole grains, organ meat (the highest concentrations).
Some compounds require a second breakdown before heading into the final breakdown phase. In this step, intermediate compounds are attached to amino acids like sulfate, glycine, and glutathione molecules, resulting in non-toxic substances that can then be eliminated.
Free radicals are a byproduct of Phase 2 processes. The only way to neutralize these cancer causing molecules in the body is to eat healthy foods that contribute the necessary levels of antioxidants.
Phase 2 Necessary Amino Acids (derived from protein):
Sources: Complete protein combinations, meat, seafood, quinoa, dairy.
Important Note: If you don’t have enough protein in your diet to make the amino acids, the body steals them from your muscle tissue. For this reason, many detox diets result in rapid weight loss. However, it’s not fat you’re losing when you go on the cayenne-lemon-honey detox for 10 days – it’s all muscle mass and water weight.
If you eat too many foods that accelerate Phase 1 while lacking the nutrients for Phase 2, you could be in trouble. This is also a strong reason to limit environmental toxins like cigarette smoke and alcohol (because they deplete vital nutrients in the body). This is because Phase 1 toxins will get blocked if the bonding stages of Phase 2 can’t keep up.
This is the final elimination phase. Neutralized toxins are bound to proteins and carried out of the body. Making sure that you’re getting enough dietary fiber will smooth the elimination phase along nicely.
Other Necessary Nutrients: Detoxing also requires sulfur and selenium. Eggs are great double-duty sources of both protein and sulfur, while fish is great for adding selenium, healthy omega-3 fats, and protein.
Vegetarian sources of sulfur include raw garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. Eat brazil nuts for loads of selenium.
The Real Detox Diet
“Detoxification is a nutrient-dependent process,” says Alisa Vitti, FLO Living founder and author of WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source.
“Detoxing the wrong way can actually wind up doing more harm than good.” Her book points out how many of the popular juice-based or starvation-centric “cleanses” lack the nutrients required to carry out the three-phase process detoxification requires.
The only detox diet worth pursuing is a sustainable one that limits processed, high-fat, and sugary foods – one that replaces them with whole foods like fruits and vegetables. A clean eating approach is the best way to keep your body and mind feeling tip-top.
The Healthy Alternative: Intermittent Fasting
Many people pursue cleanse and detox diets to lose weight and maximize fat burning in the body. As we’ve discussed, these efforts are not only misplaced but unsustainable. Fortunately, our body has a latent mechanism that allows us to “cleanse” away excess fat. All it takes is a tweak our eating schedule. Doctors, fitness athletes, and everyday people are turning to intermittent fasting to streamline their body’s internal processes – and trim down their external physiques.
Intermittent fasting simply means that you prolong your morning fast until mid-day, eating two larger meals instead of those three-square we’re used to. This not only simplifies the morning routine but it allows the body to burn more fat throughout the day. It’s been shown to extend our lives, without changing what we eat.
Because the body can now achieve what’s called a “fasted state.” There are three steps to our food cycle:
#1 Fed State – This is when your body is eating and absorbing nutrients from food. Insulin levels are high and you’re not burning fat.
It takes 3 – 5 hours to move from a “fed state” into post-absorptive state.
#2 Post-Absorptive State – The period after being fed when your body isn’t processing a meal. Insulin levels are lower and so it’s easier to burn fat.
The post-absorptive state lasts 8 – 12 hours after your last meal.
#3 Fasted State – Here, our bodies burn all the fat that was inaccessible during the fed and postabsorptive states.
Rarely do our bodies achieve this state by eating three meals a day. If you’re eating at 8 a.m., 12 p.m., and 6 p.m., you’ll never reach the maximum fat-burning potential of the body.
For this reason, many people who start intermittent fasting lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how much they exercise. This study found that intermittent fasting was an effective strategy for weight loss in obese participants, and that “subjects quickly adapt” to the routine.
Studies and analysis have also detailed that fasting reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
Biologically, this makes sense. Rarely in the span of million years of hominid history have we had steady access to food. Routinely we’ve had to hunt, gather, or move to pursue food sources. Seasonal shifts would influence food supply, diets, and require times of hardiness and nomadic tendencies. By stressing our cells, like when we stress our muscles during a workout, our system gets stronger and more resilient to environmental factors.
Point is, only since we’ve settled into the agricultural lifestyle have we been surrounded by so much food all the time. For those wanting to live a Paleo-diet lifestyle need look no further.
We’re all out to keep our bodies clean and toxin-free. Unfortunately, the health and supplement industry cannot be trusted to provide the correct information while they peddle quick-fix solutions. In fact, these cleanses are often directly detrimental to our health. The only means to stay healthy and free-flowing inside and out is with a balanced diet. Stay in good shape: detox yourself of nonsense and practice good dietary choices every day.