Detox Diet – Principles and mechanisms of the detox diet

By “detox diet,” we refer to a real diet that removes exogenous toxins from the body that have accumulated as a result of modern lifestyle factors like junk food, jittery drinks, psychological stress, drugs, and environmental pollution.

The detox diet, or detox diet, therefore aims to improve the general state of health. Furthermore, although it is not directly aimed at weight loss, by virtue of the very small amount of energy introduced with food, it is not uncommon that following it there is a (more or less conspicuous) reduction in body weight due to the depletion of fat, but also of muscle protein, glycogen, and body hydration.

There are many types of detox or detox diet, and (for various reasons, which we will explain below), since they cannot be included in so-called conventional medicine, they are all part of a branch called “alternative medicine.” For convenience, we will summarize the characteristics that unite the main detox diet or detox diet systems without NEVER going into the specifics of what is quoted by one or the other author in question.

A holistic system

Some of the founders ardently assert that the detox diet or detox diet represents a nutritional strategy with holistic properties, i.e., that it makes use of mechanisms that defy straightforward schematization or logical explanation. From a scientific point of view, this is certainly a questionable aspect, not to say extravagant. In the experimental field, in fact, the justification of the methods, means, and tools and the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the various processes represent the fundamental premise of the research itself. Therefore, speaking of “holistic detox” means totally disregarding both the verification of the effectiveness of the proposed food scheme and its real health impact.
At the same time, there are also those who try their hand at differentiating other healing disciplines; this is the case of “biontology.”. This is defined as the study of the essence of life aimed at achieving health and well-being; it is no coincidence that biontological systems (which have roots in Chinese medicine) use the method of the detox diet to obtain the maximum desirable result.

Principles and mechanisms of the detox diet

The detox diet, or detox diet, is based on the complementary application of certain principles:

  1. Change your eating style by promoting the consumption of detoxifying or detox foods instead of intoxicating ones. Detoxifying foods are all those rich in water, fiber, vitamins, mineral salts, and antioxidants in general. Intoxicants, on the other hand, contain animal proteins, additives, bad fats and cholesterol, pollutants, drugs, nerve molecules, etc. and these are mainly: fast-food foods (fried foods, hamburgers, frankfurters, etc.), snacks and other packaged products, added fats, salty foods, sugary foods, coffee, alcohol, etc.
  2. Change your lifestyle: through the increase of physical activity, the elimination of smoking, the reduction of exposure to environmental pollution and the correct management of psychological stress
  3. Reduce the use of medications
  4. Use parallel detox or detox systems; the most famous is (or was) “the aqua detox—foot detox“, a sort of electric foot bath that would facilitate the detoxification of the organism through the ion exchange—skin chemical. Obviously, it has been put under investigation as it is considered a real scam (read the review by Dr. Ben Goldacre).
    Also widespread are colon cleansing (enteroclisms), chelating therapies, removal of dental fillings, etc.
  5. Start paths of mental stabilization through the practice of activities such as “yoga detox” or meditation.

In short, whoever has the most, the more!
As mentioned, the hypothetical physiological mechanisms on which the detox diet is based are not always well defined. It seems that the various strategies aim at interrupting the accumulation of toxins by promoting their active disposal; on the basis of some physiological principles (more or less “sketched”), the “gurus” of the detox diet affirm that with this technique it is possible to stop the accumulation of mucus saturated with toxins in various districts of the body. In addition to the discharge of the hepatic-renal work (blood processing and filtration), one should therefore assist in the expulsion of all excess waste (mucus and organic liquids) from: digestive tract, respiratory tract, blood and skin (principle curiously similar to that of the “diet without mucus”).

On the basis of what is quoted in the various texts which speak of a detoxifying diet or detox diet, by toxins we mean all the molecules that are “harmful” to the body or responsible for significant psycho-physical discomfort; among these are mentioned: excess protein waste (amino groups and urea), refined carbohydrates (white flours and sugar), muscle fatigue catabolites (lactic acid), homocysteine, food additives, table salt, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics , heavy metals (lead and mercury) etc. Toxins are therefore responsible for the deterioration of the state of health, psycho-physical performance, reduction of the immune system, the increase in the incidence of infectious and neoplastic pathologies, etc. On the contrary, the use of raw foods of vegetable origin and, more generally, of the phytotherapeutic agents contained in vegetables, roots, spices, etc., would facilitate the detoxification of the organism to the detriment of the accumulated toxins (principle curiously similar to the ” Kousmine method” and the “raw food diet”) with an indirect effect of protection, improvement of the immune system and increase in physical and mental prowess.
Sometimes, the detox diet or detox diet also involves the cycling of pre-established phases and periods; some examples are supervised fasting, semi-fasting, selective food exclusion, etc.


Back to reality (since, for the most part, we talked about fairy tales!), we remind you that specialists DO NOT RECOMMEND adopting the detox diet or detox diet in case of pregnancy, breastfeeding, kidney disease, or full-blown physical deterioration; aspect, the latter, is significant, given that according to “certain gurus,” the detox diet lends itself considerably to post-chemotherapy recovery…
Among the above, by analyzing the cases in which certain patients undergoing a detox diet reported a perception of significant improvement, it was concluded that this system can determine a rather important state of ketoacidosis. It is interesting to confirm that, after a detoxifying diet or detox diet that lasts longer than 24 or 48 hours, the accumulation of toxic molecules can occur. This is due to the extremely low carbohydrate diet (consisting primarily of liquids extracted from vegetables, such as “centrifuges” and “minestrones”) that causes the carbohydrate insufficiency. Nor can it be ruled out that it could have been a trivial placebo effect or false testimony.
In light of the scientific evidence of the various detox systems (i.e. NONE), the “British organization Sense About Science she called the many detox diet strategies a “waste of time and money.”
Prof Professor Alan Boobis,OBE, Toxicologist, Division of Medicine, Imperial College London” he stated that “The body’s autonomous detoxification systems are at the very least sophisticated and certainly very effective thanks to the evolution they have undertaken by continuously enduring the stresses of a hostile environment. It is therefore serious that some people are willing to risk damaging these very systems with debilitating diets such as the detox diet, which more often than not does more harm than good!”.
Ultimately, if the changes proposed by the detox diet as regards food and lifestyle are – except for extremes such as raw food, fruit food or prolonged fasting – at least partially acceptable, all other “alternative” solutions, such as enemas, thermal overalls, urine therapy and so on, convey a strong anachronistic sense; moreover, they are devoid of scientific foundations and potentially dangerous for health

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