With Chinese New Year and its indulgences coming up, you may be thinking of embarking on a detox programme first. Water fasts, juice cleanses and lemon-water detox diets seem to be all the rage, but nutritionist Sangamithra GV says that they can do your body more harm than good.
Q: What does it mean to detox your system?
Sangamithra: “Detox” has become a buzzword and it typically means using special diets or products that claim to remove toxins from your body. Detoxes are believed to improve health and promote weight loss.
Q: There are many detox diets, fasts and cleansing programmes around. Does my body really need help to detoxify itself?
Sangamithra: Fortunately, our bodies are perfectly capable and equipped to eliminate toxic substances without the help of expensive juice cleanses and supplements. That said, you can certainly enhance the function of your body’s natural detoxification system, of which the liver and kidneys play a pivotal role.
Q: Can a detox programme help me lose weight or restore my health?
Sangamithra: With weight loss as your only goal, a typical detox diet might help you drop a few kilos, but the effect is often short-lived and you’re bound to gain them all back as quickly as you lost them. There is no scientific evidence for a detox diet “restoring” your health. The only type of eating programme that is worthwhile is one that limits processed, high-fat and sugary foods, and replaces them with more whole foods like fruits and vegetables. This clean-eating approach is your body’s best bet to stay in the pink of health.