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Detox diets – do they work?

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Sometimes our clothes feels a little tighter, or we feel a bit sluggish. The lure of an article or new book suggesting a detox diet that will leave us pounds lighter with a boosted immune system, glowing skin and boundless energy, can seem very appealing.

There’s a huge range of detox diets out there, but they generally come with some fairly impressive claims and can involve eliminating food groups such as dairy and wheat and purchasing a range of pricey supplements. They sound like a great concept and it would be fabulous if they delivered on all they promised, but most are a marketing myth without any lasting benefits, and often exaggerate claims which simply are not based on robust science.

Some may even have negative effects. Dropping whole food groups can lead to deficiencies – in the UK, dairy provides most of our requirement for calcium and iodine – essential for bone health and thyroid function respectively, and low-fat dairy is proven to lower blood pressure too, so why exclude it unless you need to?

Engaging in a detox regime is rarely sustainable and often the result is a feeling of failure and simply takes the joy out of eating. While some may encourage good habits, like eating more fruit and veg and reducing alcohol, a much more sustainable approach is to enjoy a healthy, balanced and varied diet and an active lifestyle. So perhaps pass on the wheatgrass enriched green juice and focus on real foods to nourish both body and mind.

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