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What are some health risks of detox diets and fasts?

Eva B. Cwynar, MD
Internal Medicine
Many people believe that fasting is the best way to detox the body. However, studies have shown that fasting depletes the body of essential nutrients and can have many adverse health effects, including decreased energy production. Other studies have shown that efficient functioning of the liver's detoxification system requires adequate protein. Also, it appears that high carbohydrate intake reduces the ability of certain detoxification enzymes to work effectively.
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        Every day, all over the world, millions of women are grappling with many of the same mind and body issues: low sex drive, weight gain, sexual dissatisfaction, chronic stress, anxiety,...
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
You may lose weight sipping lemon water with cayenne pepper for days, but radical fasting detoxes and master cleanses such as these, especially when done for rapid weight loss, can challenge the body much more than your current daily routine. They can deny your body of nutrients it needs, downshift your metabolism, and leave you more sensitive to foods, beverages, and your normal daily chaos when you return to your precleanse eating habits. Not to mention they are a metabolic recipe for energy loss. During a fast the body slows its systems and workload to compensate for a perceived lack of nutrients. To this end, if your cleanse doesn't supply sufficient nutrients (the range of nutrients -- carbs, proteins, healthy fats) it's likely that the body may alter its metabolic functions in a way that prevents sustainable results and may compromise short-term energy and immune function. Not a good thing for your health or your energy.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.