Women’s magazines swear by them: detox cures. Whether it’s losing weight, regulating your appetite, restoring your digestive health or putting your body or mind to rest, they are all emerging as a must. But under their natural appearance, are these formulas always synonymous with well-being and free of danger?
But what exactly are we talking about? By dint of using this word wrongly and through, it is no longer clear whether the term detox is synonymous with the elimination of elements that pollute the body (chemicals, pesticides, environmental pollutants, etc.) or it defends the promise of “cleansing” the body of food residues linked to a diet that is often too abundant, poorly balanced and too little varied.
The detox concept is certainly not new! Our ancestors had already used it long before us by regularly practicing fasting, purging and drinking plant decoctions to take care of their general state of health. But today, marketing and the press have been there and that’s what makes all the difference… for the portfolio, in particular.
A detox cure for what?
By definition, a detox cure should not be long (2 to 3 days maximum), it should not put the body in danger (no dangerous caloric restriction or orthorexia) and must above all be practiced in a person in good health!
Its goal is to lighten the digestive functions which mobilize a lot of energy to give a boost to the body and restore a better internal balance, in order to reconnect with well-being. It should therefore above all encourage those who practice it to adopt better food hygiene in the long run!
Detox cures to avoid
Among the cures currently very popular, the riskiest are undoubtedly the totally unbalanced cures such as solid detox or liquid detox, which offer a targeted diet for a week or more.
The solid detox, inspired by crudivorisme (eating everything raw) suggests cleaning up by stimulating the self-purifying functions of the body thanks to nutrients, raw enzymes, alive and not denatured by cooking.
It offers a diet low in protein and mainly composed of raw fruits and vegetables, young shoots, some legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. low in fat and enhanced with sugar in the form of maple syrup or agave syrup. A priori pleasant and safe since varied, it should however not be practiced for more than a few days, due to the lack of protein.
The liquid detox, which comes straight from the United States where it has its followers (Gwyneth Paltrow in mind) is based on cleansing, that is to say cleansing with fruit and vegetable juices to keep the body running at full speed and eliminate toxins. This cure conducted once a week or once a month cannot do any harm, but as it is almost like fasting (absence of proteins, lipids, etc.), it can quickly put the body in danger. more than 2 or 3 days only, especially if you are not in excellent health.
Treatments to advise
Detox cures based on micronutrition, aimed at eliminating toxins that prevent the body from functioning normally and generate disorders (fatigue, stress, digestion, depression, etc.), are based on a healthy diet and the possible intake of natural supplements , micronutrients or plants. They aim to cleanse and rebalance the body. They should ideally be conducted on the advice of a health care professional.
Detox microcures are based on common sense and good lifestyle guidelines. They seek to compensate for the effects linked to small dietary excesses and lack of physical exercise, by ensuring that the body is sufficiently hydrated and by regularly draining the emunctories (liver, kidneys, lungs, intestine, skin) by means of appropriate plants, essential oils or physical activity.
Replace the detox cure with fasting
Fasting is undeniably very fashionable and there are countless formulas that combine total or partial fasting with walking or hiking for a week. Its followers claim to come out of it lighter, regenerated and full of physical and mental energy. But what do the scientists think?
We know that after 24 hours, total fasting (exclusive water consumption) causes a significant loss of vitamins and is enough to deplete glycogen reserves. In the days that follow, the protein reserves are dwindling and to preserve them, the body draws its energy from the lipid reserves.
These substitution mechanisms lead to the production of ketone bodies which increase the level of acidity in the blood. It is the latter which is at the origin of the characteristic symptoms such as: headaches, cramps, pains, general weakening, etc. but also of the therapeutic effects observed.
Doctors admit, however, that they do not understand the effect of fasting on certain conditions: diabetes, rheumatism, hypertension, etc. Extensive studies are also underway to study the mechanisms linking food deprivation and these diseases.
It would seem that the stress linked to fasting can indeed relaunch certain self-regulation mechanisms which have therapeutic effects (stimulation of the organs of elimination, mobilization of hormones and anti-inflammatory effect, etc.). On the other hand, we also know that fasting is not without negative effects on the brain when it is prolonged.