In the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Australian-born Joe Cross is fed up with being 100 pounds overweight, living on a diet of fast food, hamburgers, soda, and junk food, and taking way too much medication. So he sets out on a 60-day journey across America armed with a juicer and a plan to lose* the weight and show others how it’s done. His liquid-only detox diet is made from fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens churned into juice by a high-powered machine. And it works, he loses the weight, gets cleared to quit taking his medications, and inspires a bunch of people in the process. Most detox diets don’t last that long. But Cross proved a point in his cross-country experiment…a detox diet really works.
What is Detox? How Can it Help You Lose* Weight?
If you’re eating a diet similar to Cross, you’re like a lot of Americans. In fact, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average adult eats 24 pounds of ice cream, 11 pounds of chocolate, 23 pounds of pizza, 29 pounds of French fries, and chugs 53 gallons of soda. Processed foods and drinks contain all kinds of added chemicals and preservatives that can accumulate in your body for years and potentially create a toxic environment. It’s one reason heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases keep rising. And it’s a primary reason obesity has become a nationwide epidemic with nearly 70 percent of all adults overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you want to lose* weight, you’ve probably heard of a detox diet. While there are various forms of detox diets, the most common detox diet is the juice cleanse. This weight-loss strategy basically calls for going on a liquid diet for a set number of days. In a juice cleanse detox diet, you’ll follow a liquid-only diet made from fruits and vegetables stripped of pulp and fiber and blended into a juice. In a typical detox diet, that’s your only source of calories while you’re in detox mode. And if you’re trying to lose* shed some unwanted pounds, it’s a good way to lose* weight fast. Going on a calorie restricted diet for a short time shocks your metabolism, taps into fat stores for energy, and helps you see results in a short amount of time.
But it’s important to know that a detox diet isn’t intended to be a long-term plan for weight loss*. Consider it a starter plan. You’ll lose* weight on a liquid-only diet fast. After that, it’s important to develop a sustainable eating plan and get regular exercise to lose* additional weight and maintain your weight loss*.
Some Detox Foods and Drinks
If you have a juicer, you can make the same kind of green smoothies Joe Cross used to drop 100 pounds. His Mean Green Juice includes cucumber, celery, apples, kale, lemon, and ginger. And you can find more easy-to-make detox juice recipes here. While juicing is the most popular form of detox dieting, it’s not the only way. Some people take the liquid-only diet to the extreme and follow a detox diet plan drinking only water for a few days. And if you prefer a little more substance to your detox diet, foods that can help rid your body of the build-up of chemicals and toxins include beetroot, seaweed, dandelions, broccoli sprouts, flax seeds, garlic, artichokes, and turmeric.
Is it Safe to Use?
There’s no evidence to suggest that a short-term detox diet of a few days to a week is harmful. On a detox diet, you’re significantly restricting calories and that’s good for weight loss* in the short term. Without added calories from food, your body will initially use stored fat for energy when you’re on a detox diet. But it won’t last forever. After a short time on this kind of diet, your metabolism will slow to a crawl, your body will begin conserving fat, and other bodily functions could be impaired. And that’s not what you want. Detox diets provide a short-term solution to weight loss*. But it’s important that once you lose* weight in a few days to a week on a detox diet, you return to eating healthy foods and getting regular exercise. Without a healthy eating and exercise plan in place after going on a detox diet, the risk of gaining the weight back is high.
Some Easy Detox Tips
- If you’re going to follow a detox diet for weight loss*, look for ones that only last a few days to a week. Joe Cross’ 60-day detox diet was pretty extreme. But he did it to prove a point. A few days to a week on a detox diet is enough to lose* some weight and rid your body of toxins.
- Go Shopping Before You Get Started. When you go on a detox diet, you’re going to follow a calorie-restricted eating plan. It’s important to get all the foods and ingredients you need ahead of time, so you’re not tempted to hit the drive-thru.
- Be Committed: Many people feel miserable after beginning a detox diet. But it’s part of the process your body and your brain go through to eliminate* toxins and chemicals from food we eat and the plastics and metals used in cooking and food storage. Hang in there. You’ll feel better than ever in no time, and you’ll like the results when you step on the scale.