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Cleanse Diets: Medicine or Myth

Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia

Cleanse diets (also known as fasts, flushes or detox diets) have been around for at least 50 years. Intended to rid the body of toxins and internal wastes caused by diet, exercise and stress, these diets are often touted as a way to lose weight quickly. These programs typically last from anywhere between a weekend and a month and are usually built around drinking a juice concoction. Most detox programs also avoid alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and many supplements. Cleanse & Detox programs also encourage you to reduce stress and examine the areas of your life that cause tension.

Yes, you will lose weight on a cleanse, but at what cost? During a fast, you can expect to experience:

• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Dizziness
• Extreme hunger
• Fatigue
• Headaches
• Mood Swings
• Nausea
• Sluggishness

Often, when a person goes on a cleanse diet, an extreme binge occurs after the fast because of the huge calorie deficit that is created. Also, fasting can rob your intestines of healthy bacteria that aid digestion and boost immunity; and the lack of protein during a fast can lead to a loss of lean muscle tissue. This lack of lean muscle slows the metabolism, which can lead to rapid weight gain once you resume eating normally. Experts also point out that fasts do not provide enough calories to fuel the body to perform its natural processes.

Fasting or cleansing plans are not recommended for anyone. There is currently no evidence that purging your body of “toxins” in this extreme manner is beneficial. Instead, focus on healthy, long-term weight management solutions, rather than a “quick fix.” However, if you do choose to try a fast, be sure to only do it for a few days and definitely consult your doctor beforehand.

No matter where you live in the New York area, if diets and exercise have not worked for you, we invite you to make an appointment to see one of our surgeons at a location near you by calling (516) 616-5500, fill out ourcontact form or, if you prefer, click on “Live Chat” in the upper left corner of your screen to have a conversation now.

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