Original article published in Body & Soul.
What if we were to tell you there is no single food or nutrient that is to blame for our health problems and therefore no single solution. That you don’t have to starve yourself or cut out sugar to feel healthy. That diets and detoxes are rubbish? Would you believe us, or would this simply be more noise in an already crowded space?
Health and wellness advice comes fast and loose from every direction – from celebrities to grandparents to the supermarket checkout lady! We’re living in a world where everyone seems to be a nutrition expert. While almost everyone tends to agree what you eat is extremely important to your health and wellbeing, there seems to be a lot of debate as to what constitutes the best diet. Whether it’s kale smoothies or mermaid lattes it’s hard to know what is legit science vs nutritional BS.
What the FAD?
Fad diets are often appealing because they promise quick results by revolutionizing the way you eat. They’re often endorsed by shiny celebrities and unqualified health gurus and involve strict food rules, almost always excluding entire food groups. More often than not, these diets are rubbish. They lack evidence, sell false promises, are unrealistic and unsustainable in the long term.
The science shows us that fad diets do not work long term. Yes, they may help you to drop a dress size fairly quickly (as you are consuming fewer calories than before), but the reality is even the most determined dieter can’t live off lemon water for the rest of their life.
The Truth About Detoxing
One of the biggest diet scams of all times are detox products and programs. It’s no wonder detoxing has become a multi-billion dollar industry as they seem to lure in even the most well educated and well versed in the health space.
While ‘detox’ may be a medical term, it is pure marketing quack.
The idea behind any detox diet or product is that by eating certain foods you can remove ‘toxins’ from your body and help ‘cleanse’ your organs.
We’re calling nutritional BS on this one!
Firstly, anyone who suggests that your organs need to be ‘cleansed’ has a serious misunderstanding of how the human body works. If toxins were able to build up in the body, the way popular detox programs suggest, you would probably be dead or hospitalised. The human body has excellent built in ‘detox-systems’. Your lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system are all highly capable of removing or neutralising potentially toxic substances from the body.
Secondly, there has been no credible study in humans to indicate that a specific food or product can remove any particular toxins from your body. While it would be nice to eat and drink whatever and flush it out with a kale smoothie, unfortunately it doesn’t work like this.
We need to stop with the fad diets, detoxes and miracle silver bullets. They do not work in the long run, can negatively impact your relationship with food and usually only ‘cleanse’ your wallet of cash.These diets can lead to energy, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, fatigue and irritability. Instead of following a diet with strict rules and restrictions focus on including a wide variety of foods in your diet to reap the best results.