Why do people go on detox diets?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

Detox diets can be extreme and if taken too far can lead to nutrient deficiencies and a host of health issues. People go on detox diets for a number of reasons. Some do it after they've eaten too much junk food or meat, others when they want to lose weight and some people use detox diets as a way to feel disciplined or for religious or spiritual reasons. 

Although detox diets are popular, there’s very little evidence that they actually improve the body’s ability to detoxify itself. In fact, the liver and kidneys are designed to remove impurities from the body for us. And in healthy individuals, they do a great job. The best way to achieve lifelong health is to stay active, be social and eat a diet of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and adequate hydration daily not just 3-7 days out of the year.


Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Eating a balanced, clean diet, coupled with adequate physical activity is more than enough to keep your body mean, lean, and clean -- and does so without any of the side effects of an extreme detox. When people come to us for the secrets to detoxing the body, it usually means they've been indulging in their own "relax and enjoy life" phase of being less mindful of their dietary choices or they haven't been engaging in regular exercise and think a detox will help jump start their efforts. They find themselves feeling low on energy and thicker around the waist thanks to eating lots of processed and classic junk food, and washing it down with enough wine to make a desperate housewife look good. What they really seek in a detox program is motivation to go back to basics and evict all the things that tax their body's optimal functioning.

In some instances, someone may ask about a detox program as they are recovering from treatments or battling with digestive or immune-related issues. They wonder if a detox will clear out whatever is disagreeing with their body. This is actually the worst time for a detox, as the body is in a weaker state and needs nutrient support. The body should be given the resources it requires to attend to its physiologic needs.
Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

More About this Book

Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

       From celebrated dietitian Ashley Koff and fitness trainer to the stars Kathy Kaehler comes Mom Energy, an exciting new way for moms to tap into their own natural and renewable sources of...

Continue Learning about Wellness



Wellness is a difficult word to define. Traditionally wellness has meant the opposite of illness and the absence of disease and disability. More recently wellness has come to describe something that you have personal control over. ...

Wellness is now a word used to describe living the best possible life you can regardless of whether you have a disease or disability. Your wellness is not only related to your physical health, but is a combination of things including spiritual wellness, social wellness, mental wellness and emotional wellness. Wellness is seen as a combination of mind, body and spirit. Different people may have different ideas about wellness. There is no single set standard for wellness and wellness is a difficult thing to quantify.

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.