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  1. #1
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    Default Is Detoxing real?

    I hear this word thrown around constantly when people discuss diets, skin products, workout routines, juice cleanses, etc. Is there any scientific support for "detoxing."

    What exactly are we "detoxing" from when we eat "clean" food, cut carbs, etc.?



  2. #2
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    it's nonsense. Your body detoxes itself constantly. some people put their bodies through horrible experiences, such as colon cleanses or severe fasts, and experience surprise! illness, which they say is "detox". But it's not, it's just a sign that they are doing something really stupid.


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  3. #3
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    I think it means different thing for different people. I did a dietary "cleanse" this spring with a friend who is a holistic nutritionist. She never suggested that this was a huge "detox" in terms of your long-term health, but that eliminating certain types of foods for some period of time does two things - helps your body recover from any toxins/sensitivities/intolerances, and breaking a cycle of addiction (e.g. sugar).

    I don't think a week or two weeks of "detoxing" for your long term health makes any difference if you just go back to the same routine you had before. But if you use a dietary cleanse, for example, as a starting point for dietary health, then yes - I think it is "works".

    ETA: in reading the post above - my "cleanse" wasn't anything wacky like a colon cleanse or a liquid diet. It was just no meat, dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine or alcohol. Lots of different types of good food, though - lots of fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains like rice & quinoa -- basically a gluten-free vegan diet.


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  4. #4
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    What are these "toxins" that the body is getting rid of during the dietary cleanse?


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  5. #5
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    Well, you're mixing apples and oranges there.

    Eating "clean" or organic food is about restoring biological normality as per the best information we have concerning what we evolved historically to eat. The point is to eliminate artificial ingredients, pesticide and herbicide residues, and unnatural Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratios.

    Low-Carb is a way of eating to cure insulin resistance, which is actually the metabolic condition underlying obesity--it is a disregulation of the body's mechanism of fat storage, which is hormonally regulated. Short-version is, refined carbohydrates (anything starchy and sugar are the worst offenders, but bananas, sweet fruits, and especially sweet drinks and beer are just as bad) cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise, then fall. Over and over again in the course of a day which is why eating a lot of that stuff makes you always hungry. The insulin secreted removes the excess glucose from the bloodstream and stores it as fat. All of it. No matter WHAT you ate!

    But if you eliminate the starch and sugar groups and processed foods from your diet, eating protein and especially natural animal-derived fats and green vegetables in quantity, you never get that blood-sugar and insulin spike and your body will totally convert in a couple of weeks to burning FAT--YOUR FAT, that is, and you will go down to your ideal weight and maintain it long term. It is now thought that this is the way early mankind actually ate; it is the pre-agricultural biological norm. There is TONS written in books and online about this.

    BTW, there is absolutely no biological basis to the idea that a diet of "whole grains" or veganism is beneficial--many people can't tolerate the grain, I'm one of 'em, and veganism leaves one lacking the many essential nutrients the body can not synthesize from plants. We also lack the cecum a horse or cow has to digest cellulose, the main ingredient in plants, which because OUR cecum is now our appendix is indigestible by humans. We have functionally the same gut as a cat or dog, and our brains achieved their full size when we were almost exclusively carnivores during the ice age. They have since shrunk (this is documented!), of which you have no doubt at all after spending a weekend day in NYC.

    "Juicing," "fasting," strange regimens like coffee enemas, etc. really have no legitimate science behind them in favor, and quite a lot that says they either have no benefit or actively stress the body. Basically, they come from a very old 19th century idea that the lower intestine is "dirty" and needs to be "cleansed." Well, if you fancy washing all your beneficial gut flora down the can, party on! Think horse on Doxycycline eating green alfalfa . . . I do know people who swear by it.


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    What are these "toxins" that the body is getting rid of during the dietary cleanse?
    Yeah, cutting specific things out of your diet for whatever reason, like going low-carb to improve insulin sensitivity or even (no matter how trendy it currently is) cutting out gluten-containing products in an elimination diet to see if you might be allergic to it, that's fine.

    But notice, in those examples you're actually able to pinpoint what you're looking to fix (insulin resistance, which can be measured; gluten allergy, ditto), or the physiologic process makes sense (for the low-carb/insulin resistance, for ex; intermittent fasting also helps with that, by an explainable physiologic process).

    But "detox" as in "this mahhhgic protocol will get rid of ~~~toxins~~~", is pure utter bullshite. You'll notice that these boogeyman "toxins" are never identified, nor can science explain why drinking green juice or whatever "helps your liver get rid of toxins".

    But man, it's a lucrative scam. I don't mind admitting that I wish I'd have come up with some popular detox product, I could be rich and laughing at idiots now *sigh*
    Last edited by Coanteen; May. 26, 2013 at 09:47 PM.


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  7. #7
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    Well there are medical definitions of detoxing from drugs/alcohol and then a medical process to remove heavy metals from your body, which is where my mind went when I read the thread title.
    Breathing is a detoxing action as is sweating and body elimination.


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  8. #8
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    One of the big arguments for "detoxing" is all the "sugars" that are addictive in our foods. High-fructose corn syrup in its many forms is disguised as many things.
    Ask me why I was addicted to "Sun Chips".
    This is one of the reasons why you may keep eating when you aren't really hungry. You aren't getting the nutrients your body really needs but it keeps trying to find the right thing.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    What are these "toxins" that the body is getting rid of during the dietary cleanse?
    In my case, they were never called "toxins". It was more a theory that for many people, they can suffer from low-level intolerance -- lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, etc. So to take a week to eliminate foods that are commonly associated with intolerances is never *bad*. In some cases, you might find that in the "re-entry" phase of cleanse (which is necessary, and if skipped defeats the whole purpose), you might realize that you did feel crummy with your gluten-full diet, or that lactose was a mild issue for you.

    In the case of my "cleanse" - it was never depicted as a "de-toxifying" event, but more of a way to jump start a better diet -- a better way of eating healthy. So it started by eliminating the common problems and pitfalls to eating well like sugar, caffeine and alcohol, as well as things like meat, processed food, gluten and dairy.

    But, again - this is not a TV scam - this is a friend that is a nutritionist and if you are interested in pursuing specialized diets or nutritional help, that is her main gig.



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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    In my case, they were never called "toxins". It was more a theory that for many people, they can suffer from low-level intolerance -- lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, etc. So to take a week to eliminate foods that are commonly associated with intolerances is never *bad*. In some cases, you might find that in the "re-entry" phase of cleanse (which is necessary, and if skipped defeats the whole purpose), you might realize that you did feel crummy with your gluten-full diet, or that lactose was a mild issue for you.

    In the case of my "cleanse" - it was never depicted as a "de-toxifying" event, but more of a way to jump start a better diet -- a better way of eating healthy. So it started by eliminating the common problems and pitfalls to eating well like sugar, caffeine and alcohol, as well as things like meat, processed food, gluten and dairy.

    But, again - this is not a TV scam - this is a friend that is a nutritionist and if you are interested in pursuing specialized diets or nutritional help, that is her main gig.
    What you're describing in your first para isn't a "cleanse" (unless the New Ageys have started calling it that because it's trendy), it's a boring old standard elimination diet. Which is completely legit, but...not a "cleanse". Nothing is being cleansed.


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  11. #11
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    You should read "The Nuts among the Berries", about 19th and 20th century food faddism. Has the history of Kellog's cereal amusingly enough. Like Chall the only detoxifying diets I've heard of that really do something are the ones to remove heavy metals.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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  12. #12
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    Thank you, that is great information.

    A thing I read lately is the reason so many people appear to now be intolerant of wheat is that it is so different than the wheat our forefathers consumed. Can anyone comment on that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    Well, you're mixing apples and oranges there.

    Eating "clean" or organic food is about restoring biological normality as per the best information we have concerning what we evolved historically to eat. The point is to eliminate artificial ingredients, pesticide and herbicide residues, and unnatural Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratios.

    Low-Carb is a way of eating to cure insulin resistance, which is actually the metabolic condition underlying obesity--it is a disregulation of the body's mechanism of fat storage, which is hormonally regulated. Short-version is, refined carbohydrates (anything starchy and sugar are the worst offenders, but bananas, sweet fruits, and especially sweet drinks and beer are just as bad) cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise, then fall. Over and over again in the course of a day which is why eating a lot of that stuff makes you always hungry. The insulin secreted removes the excess glucose from the bloodstream and stores it as fat. All of it. No matter WHAT you ate!

    But if you eliminate the starch and sugar groups and processed foods from your diet, eating protein and especially natural animal-derived fats and green vegetables in quantity, you never get that blood-sugar and insulin spike and your body will totally convert in a couple of weeks to burning FAT--YOUR FAT, that is, and you will go down to your ideal weight and maintain it long term. It is now thought that this is the way early mankind actually ate; it is the pre-agricultural biological norm. There is TONS written in books and online about this.

    BTW, there is absolutely no biological basis to the idea that a diet of "whole grains" or veganism is beneficial--many people can't tolerate the grain, I'm one of 'em, and veganism leaves one lacking the many essential nutrients the body can not synthesize from plants. We also lack the cecum a horse or cow has to digest cellulose, the main ingredient in plants, which because OUR cecum is now our appendix is indigestible by humans. We have functionally the same gut as a cat or dog, and our brains achieved their full size when we were almost exclusively carnivores during the ice age. They have since shrunk (this is documented!), of which you have no doubt at all after spending a weekend day in NYC.

    "Juicing," "fasting," strange regimens like coffee enemas, etc. really have no legitimate science behind them in favor, and quite a lot that says they either have no benefit or actively stress the body. Basically, they come from a very old 19th century idea that the lower intestine is "dirty" and needs to be "cleansed." Well, if you fancy washing all your beneficial gut flora down the can, party on! Think horse on Doxycycline eating green alfalfa . . . I do know people who swear by it.
    Kanoe Godby
    www.dyrkgodby.com
    See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDE Driver View Post
    Thank you, that is great information.

    A thing I read lately is the reason so many people appear to now be intolerant of wheat is that it is so different than the wheat our forefathers consumed. Can anyone comment on that?
    Absolutely true. The go-to source on that is the book Wheat Belly.

    This is shocking to people at first, but there is NO biological reason for the human animal to consume any grain or any sugar at ALL. These are empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever that cannot be better sourced from meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables. And indeed we have only been eating them for about 10,000 years. That's barely a blink on the scale of evolutionary time.

    One other thing most people don't realize is that just like those Purina focus-group rooms full of hungry cats, modern processed foods like snack chips are very carefully and knowingly ENGINEERED to be as addictive as they are. There's even an industry term for this--the "bliss zone." These are NOT combinations of ingredients that exist in Nature--they are the food equivalent of crack.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    I hear this word thrown around constantly when people discuss diets, skin products, workout routines, juice cleanses, etc. Is there any scientific support for "detoxing."

    What exactly are we "detoxing" from when we eat "clean" food, cut carbs, etc.?
    I short, no. Unless one is cutting out alcohol, pesticides, and items that do damage to the body. Advertising for "detoxing" skin care products (and other gimmicks) is similar, in my opinion, to advertising shampoos and conditioners that can split the atom, "nourish" the dead item that is your hair strand, etc. Physicists seem to need to consult hair care companies in order to understand the atom better. That said, there are people with food intolerance to carbohydrates, lactose, and other things, and for *them* a purifying diet would eliminate the things that their body adversely reacts to. Any exercise helps people sweat, drink more water, hydrate and urinate more (expelling unneeded items in the urine). Colon "cleansing" diets tend to be high in fiber, thus producing more "formed" feces, which are more easily expelled and in a more timely manner. This is healthier for the colon.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    What you're describing in your first para isn't a "cleanse" (unless the New Ageys have started calling it that because it's trendy), it's a boring old standard elimination diet. Which is completely legit, but...not a "cleanse". Nothing is being cleansed.
    Well, sure, from that perspective. The nutritionist actually gives lots more information and suggestions for good foods v. bad, and provides suggested diets, nutritional supplements, increase water consumption, exercise, etc. -- but for the nature of this discussion, the bare bones is to start with elimination of bad stuff, and things that may be difficult to digest - gluten, dairy, meat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol. Call it whatever you want.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDE Driver View Post
    Thank you, that is great information.

    A thing I read lately is the reason so many people appear to now be intolerant of wheat is that it is so different than the wheat our forefathers consumed. Can anyone comment on that?
    Yes, not only does modern wheat contain more gluten than ancient wheats, but wheat and it's broken down pieces can be used in ingredients in many convenience foods for a variety of reasons - flavor, texture, etc.

    So it's not bad enough that the basic wheat based foods we consume have a higher gluten content (bread, flour, pie crusts, etc.) but we are also likely to consume gluten in bizarre ways - as ingredients in foods that you would not expect to contain wheat.

    I imagine that we are consuming an amazingly higher proportion of gluten in our diets than even 25 years ago; certainly compared to 50 years ago. It's no wonder that more people are finding themselves intolerant.



  17. #17
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    Lady E. I agree with some, but not all of your post. I agree that current snack foods are engineered to be addictive with the right balance of fat and salt. That's business for you, and there's an excellent book out right now called "Salt Sugar Fat" that I recommend. I disagree that there is no biological reason for humans to eat grains or carbs. We are quite different from our Paleolithic ancestors (the Paleolithic era is 750,000-15,000 years ago). We evolved with agriculture over ten thousand years. You say "only" ten thousand years! That's about 435 generations! That's a lot of evolution! We today aren't much like our Paleo ancestors who lived 15,000 years ago. That said, humans radiated from a focal point in what is today Africa to the globe over. Inuits today would likely not be happy eating a Mongolian or South Indian or French diet. That said, my friend Patty's father came to America from a nomadic tribe in Mongolia and he survived in Colorado juuuust fine. Chinese may disagree that there is no reason to eat carbs. I think a person's biology, which is a product of genetics and environment, dictates what they feel best eating. And as Americans, we have to be careful when we make sweeping statements about what "humans" should and should not eat.
    Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


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    Quote Originally Posted by J-Lu View Post
    Lady E. I agree with some, but not all of your post. I agree that current snack foods are engineered to be addictive with the right balance of fat and salt. That's business for you, and there's an excellent book out right now called "Salt Sugar Fat" that I recommend. I disagree that there is no biological reason for humans to eat grains or carbs. We are quite different from our Paleolithic ancestors (the Paleolithic era is 750,000-15,000 years ago). We evolved with agriculture over ten thousand years. You say "only" ten thousand years! That's about 435 generations! That's a lot of evolution! We today aren't much like our Paleo ancestors who lived 15,000 years ago. That said, humans radiated from a focal point in what is today Africa to the globe over. Inuits today would likely not be happy eating a Mongolian or South Indian or French diet. That said, my friend Patty's father came to America from a nomadic tribe in Mongolia and he survived in Colorado juuuust fine. Chinese may disagree that there is no reason to eat carbs. I think a person's biology, which is a product of genetics and environment, dictates what they feel best eating. And as Americans, we have to be careful when we make sweeping statements about what "humans" should and should not eat.
    I agree that those who follow Wheat Belly tend to underestimate evolutionary adaptation - heck, one of the Darwin finch species (medium ground finch) evolved a smaller beak within an observable span of 20 yrs in response to competition from a new arrival. Evolutionary change doesn't need to take millions of years; speciation sure, but not adaptation within a species.

    However, I agree that there is no need to eat grain. It is an abundant source of energy, but it is no more necessary to the human diet than cow's milk.

    And sticking gluten meal in everything is sort of scary. Ever noticed how many pet foods have that added?


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  19. #19
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    I did not read the whole thread but will say that when I cut out gluten cold turkey my body definitely went through something serious. Detox? I suppose you could call it that but man I was sick for the better part of two weeks and for part of that I mean sick with flu like symptoms (no fever) but that aches, massive fatigue, lightheaded, weak and lethargic, shaky awful, just awful.

    And now, if I accidentally ingest gluten - again with the flu like symptoms and irritable bowel until it clears itself....



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    Quote Originally Posted by sketcher View Post
    And now, if I accidentally ingest gluten - again with the flu like symptoms and irritable bowel until it clears itself....
    That's totally normal though. Your body makes digestive enzymes on a use it or lose it basis - if a vegetarian eats meat after a long period of not having any they feel sick too, until the body starts making the correct enzymes again.

    I have heard of the cold turkey thing happening. Not sure what's going on there. Heard it happen more with cutting out sugars, but also with gluten.
    But when I put myself on the Atkins induction phase for 2 weeks (no sugar except for what's in plain yogurt or cheese...or lettuce, I suppose) for funsies to see what'd happen, I experienced nothing except mild constipation.

    My gluten-free friend swears her acne cleared up after she cut out gluten (she's now cutting out nightshades and various other things). I smile and nod but...uhhh, she had mild papular/pustular acne then, and she has mild papular/pustular acne now


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