This article was co-authored by Lisa Bryant, ND. Dr. Lisa Bryant is Licensed Naturopathic Physician and natural medicine expert based in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and completed her residency in Naturopathic Family Medicine there in 2014. This article has been viewed 2,974,726 times.
Skip juice cleanses or liquid diets. A popular cleansing regimen for losing weight involves drinking only juice or another type of liquid for a few days to a week. This is dangerous because you could end up without essential nutrients. These extreme cleanses are also counterproductive because most people just gain back any weight they lost when they go back to eating normal food again. Doctors don't recommend any sort of diet like this, and say following a healthy diet and exercise routine is much better for losing weight.[15]
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Various modalities of body cleansing are currently employed, ranging from physical treatments (e.g. colon cleansing), to dietary restrictions (i.e. avoiding foods) or dietary supplements. Some variants involve the use of herbs and supplements that purportedly speed or increase the effectiveness of the process of cleansing. Several naturopathic and homeopathic preparations are also promoted for cleansing; such products are often marketed as targeting specific organs, such as fiber for the colon or juices for the kidneys.


Body cleansing and detoxification have been referred to as an elaborate hoax used by con artists to cure nonexistent illnesses. Most doctors contend that the 'toxins' in question do not even exist.[16][17] In response, alternative medicine proponents frequently cite heavy metals or pesticides as the source of toxification, however no evidence exists that detoxification approaches have a measurable effect on these or any other chemical levels. Medical experts state that body cleansing is unnecessary as the human body is naturally capable of maintaining itself, with several organs dedicated to cleansing the blood and gut.[18]
Professor Alan Boobis OBE, Toxicologist, Division of Medicine, Imperial College London states that "The body’s own detoxification systems are remarkably sophisticated and versatile. They have to be, as the natural environment that we evolved in is hostile. It is remarkable that people are prepared to risk seriously disrupting these systems with unproven ‘detox’ diets, which could well do more harm than good."[11]
You’ve probably come across all kinds of cleansing and detox programs online. There is a whole industry based around selling these plans and supplies to people trying to live healthier. Unfortunately, doctors largely agree that most of these plans have no real health benefits. They might even be harmful. It's best to skip them and follow a healthier lifestyle instead.
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