Expert Health Articles

Detox Diets

Martha GonzalesMartha Gonzales

Clinical Nutrition Manager

Fad diets—two words that always seem to be in the headlines of the media. They promise everything from weight loss to improved sleep. However, these quick fixes are not realistic lifestyle habits and often end up failing.

Some popular fad diets in today’s society revolve around the words “detox” and “cleanse.” Many people feel the need to take part in a detox or cleanse diet to clean out their system.

First, let’s explore where toxins in your body come from. Toxins can be divided into two main groups. The first group is made in the body from normal metabolism. The second group comes from outside the body through things like eating, drinking and breathing.

Next, let’s define detoxification. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, detoxification is defined as, “to remove a poisonous or harmful substance.” Many people do not realize that your body naturally performs detox processes around the clock.

Organs like your liver and kidneys, along with several others, work day and night to detox your body naturally. These organs work to break down and excrete toxins from the body through urine and sweat.

The ability of your body to detox is influenced by diet, lifestyle, health status and environment. Excess toxins are stored in your body when you produce or consume too many. This is what negatively affects your health.

Popular detox or cleanse diets include removing certain foods from your diet; items like processed foods, dairy, gluten, red meat and fast foods. These are thought to cause high toxin levels in your body.

Similarly, detox diets suggest eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean protein. This is very comparable to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines. For information about the Dietary Guidelines, visit

Helping your body naturally detox does not have to be a hard task. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers some recommendations to help support your body’s natural detox processes.

To help support your body’s natural detox process, it is important to stay hydrated with plenty of water. This will allow your organs to work properly and excrete toxins.

Eating at least five to nine serving of fruits and vegetables every day will also help your body detox. The most helpful fruits and vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, berries, garlic, onions and artichokes.

Consuming enough fiber each day is a good way to help support your body’s detox process as well. Good sources of fiber include vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

To put it simply, your body naturally removes toxins to help keep you healthy. Therefore, a strict detox or cleanse diet is not necessarily beneficial. Focus on eating less prepackaged, processed foods and choose more fresh, whole, natural foods and your body will thank you!

For more information, visit or check in with a local registered dietitian or physician.