Matt Keane

Detox Diets 101: Do They Really Work? | Man of Many

Detox diets are short term dietary changes designed to de-toxin your body. In other words, a detox diet is an intervention to rid the body of harmful toxins and cleanse your insides.

What is a Detox Diet?

Detoxes can range from small dietary changes to drastic, straight up bizarre tactics to cleanse the body (but we’ll get to that in a moment).

How to Detox Your Body

When it comes to detox diets, the word ‘toxin’ is loosely defined. Detox diets rarely identify the actual toxins they remove, instead opting for a holistic approach to removing toxins that may damage your health.

What Toxins Does a Body Cleanse Get Rid Of?

Short answer… not really.

Do Detox Diets Actually Work?

The jury is out on the effect of detox diets on weight loss. A detox intervention is usually for a period of under a week, which is a short time frame for any substantial weight loss to occur. On top of this, any of the weight loss that does occur could be contributed to fluid loss and depleted carbohydrate stores influenced by periods of fasting.

Effects on Weight Loss

Some variations of detox dieting can have similar effects to that of short-term/intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has been proven to boost fat-burning hormones and help with certain health factors.

Detox Diets, Short-Term Fasting, and Stress

While detox diets may not actually de-toxify your body per se, they can still be beneficial to your health. This is because the interventions that detox diets include are similar to that of any healthy dietary change. These benefits include:

Potential Benefits

As with any drastic diet switch, you should consider the potential side effects and overall safety of the change. Fortunately, detox diets encompass a relatively low risk to your health when done correctly. Potential safety considerations include:

Safety and Side Effects

Many of the popular detox diets recommend periods of fasting and greatly reduced calorie intake. This severe calorie restriction can cause fatigue, irritability, and bad breath in the short term, and more serious health implications if continued long term such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, and even death.

Severe Calorie Restriction

While this is rare/impossible for most detoxes, some variants of detoxing do pose the risk of overdosing due to their reliance on supplements, laxatives, and diuretics.


It’s always best to consult a doctor before making a drastic dietary change like a detox or cleanse. Certain people may be more susceptible to adverse health reactions than others and it’s best to check beforehand if you’re one of them.

At-Risk Populations

At the end of the day, a detox diet probably won’t revolutionise your life. Your body is frequently exposed to toxic substances and for the most part, is incredibly successful at dealing with them.

The Summary

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