Purging your body of the toxin sfrom alcohol, secondhand smoke, and fast food doesn’t have to mean fasting for days or spending money on pricey pills and potions that’ll have you spending hours on the throne. In fact, detox options like
fasting and enemas are relatively dangerous and offer few real benefits.
“Your body is truly a beautiful machine,” says David Grotto, R.D., whose self-help guide, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, hits stores next year. “It doesn’t wait for you to detox. It’s already doing it for you—it’s a vital part of survival.”
Grotto offers a look at some of the most common claims made by detox products—then provides safer, cheaper alternatives that actually work.
Claim “It cleans chemicals and toxins from your breath and lungs.”
You’ll get the same effect by drinking a lot of water and eating more fiber,
which helps block the absorption of toxic chemicals. Beyond that, just let
your body do its thing. “You have a liver, you have kidneys,” Grotto says. “Simply exhaling air releases toxins from your body, as does perspiration.”
Claim “It removes dangerous toxins from your colon.” Ever have somebody tell
you your colon is like a pipe that fills up with gunk over the years and needs an occasional shot of Drano? Complete bunk, says Grotto. “Your body is constantly moving stuff. Those claims are not at all supported by science.” His advice
instead? Eat plenty of fruit and whole grains (once again, fiber).
Claim “It cleans and strengthens your liver.”
Instead of striving for a stronger liver, try laying off the tequila shots, Grotto says. As long as cirrhosis hasn’t set in yet, you can help your liver regenerate with some healthy doses of “stinky vegetables,” such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage,
and Brussels sprouts. For additional protection, you can supplement
those foods (not substitute them) with any widely available whey protein product.
Claim “You won’t feel hungry.”
Taking pills to decrease your appetite can lead to malnutrition. A better way to cut down on snacking urges and meal sizes throughout the day is to start with breakfast— any breakfast. “Most breakfast foods are good, but one food that
is clearly the champion of making you feel full is oats,” he says. “After
that, just balance your calories to keep from packing on the pounds.”