Detox Diets: Purging the Myths (cont.)

Then, she suggests, evaluate your eating habits and make small, gradual changes that you can sustain. Concentrate on eating healthy foods rather than forbidding entire categories of foods.

"Drastic, restrictive [diets] or forbidden foods have a very powerful effect, triggering cravings and giving food power over you," explains May.

Your best bet, experts say, may be to consult a registered dietitian for a customized diet plan that will help you accomplish your personal goals in a safe and effective manner.

The Natural Way to Detox

The best way to "detox" the body is simply to let your body do its job. Unless you have a medical problem, your body takes care of itself quite nicely, experts say.

"The liver and kidneys are nature's best-kept secret, because they are the weapons to eliminate toxins from your body," says Gerbstadt. "If you are concerned about certain substances in your diet, it is easier and safer to simply eliminate [those substances] rather than engage in unhealthy detox plans."

Be mindful of what you eat, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid excess medications and alcohol, say the experts.

If you want to promote water loss, Gerbstadt suggests doing it naturally by consuming cranberries, celery, asparagus, and herbal teas, and limiting salt.

Published July 2, 2008.

Michelle May, MD, author, Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don't Work.
Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association.
American Dietetic Association web site: "Food and Nutrition Misinformation."

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Last Editorial Review: 7/16/2008