Are you thinking of trying a cleanse program? They are trendy right now. But, are cleanse diets healthy options? What do they really do? We give you all the info on a cleanse program.
Cleansing diets are wildly popular and bring in loads of money to the companies who sell them.
You’ll find these on the shelf of almost every grocery and supplement store. Their labels will have stuff like, “Lose 10 pounds in just 1 week” and ” Cleanse your system naturally.” You will also find cleansing diets, and all sorts of info about them, all over the Internet.
The question is: Do cleansing diets really work for weight loss?
Do they truly cleanse the system?
Yes and no, but there’s a big catch and a lot of info you need to know before you run out and purchase the latest cleanse product or decide to make your own. People tend to want to start these cleanse diets to get a kickstart on weight loss or to detoxify the system. The reality may not be what you think.
What Is A Cleanse Program?
A cleansing program is a program set up to supposedly detoxify the system and help you lose weight. There are many types of cleansing diets and programs online and in stores. Cleansing diet instructions usually tell you to either drink a certain juice blend, take capsules, drink lemon water concoctions or eat a particular way for a period of time. The following is a list of some of the most popular types.
The Master Cleanse
This is a pretty well known cleanse and many people have tried it. It involves drinking 6 to 12 glasses of a mix of lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. You are also supposed to take a daily laxative with this diet.
What it claims to do is to remove all of the toxins from your body along with any built-up waste in your colon. It also boasts the shedding of pounds very quickly. You are supposed to stick to this plan for a full 10 days.
A colon cleanse is done by either taking a supplement or by irrigation of the colon. The supplements may come in pill form, teas or even rectal suppositories. These supplements cause the colon to expel its contents. A colon hygienist, or a colon hydrotherapist, usually performs the irrigation. It’s done using a low-pressure pump, or a gravity-based reservoir, that sends many gallons of water through a small tube that’s inserted into the rectum.
The claim of this cleanse is that there are toxins and broke down residues of undigested foods that are built up in the colon. The cleanse will work to remove them and promote weight loss. If you use the irrigation method, it only takes up to an hour. As for the supplement route, it depends on how fast your body reacts to laxatives. It is expected to last for three to seven days depending on the product.
The Juice Cleanse
The juice cleanse is another detox diet where you can only have fruit and vegetable juices daily. There’s no solid food. Water is allowed. In fact, it is promoted with this diet. Caffeine isn’t allowed.
The juice cleanse claims to rid the body of toxins, promote weight loss and replenish the system with vitamins and minerals through the intake of fresh juices. It is advised to last anywhere from over the weekend to a full 30 days.
The Blueprint Cleanse
This is a pre-packaged juice cleanse. You get six bottles of juices made from fruits, veggies, and various spices. You’re supposed to drink only the juices and nothing else while on this cleanse.
This specific cleanse doesn’t advertise weight loss as much as it does detox. Of course, with the restriction of calories while on this cleanse, weight loss is a given. The recommendation for this cleanse is to stay on it anywhere from three days to two weeks.
Isagenix Cleanse For Life
Isagenix is a multi-level marketing company that sells many types of supplements. The Cleanse For Life product is meant to be used as part of their larger cleansing systems and meal replacement products.
When used with their meal replacement and full cleansing system, Isagenix states this product will help you drop weight, increase your energy and cure many ailments.
There Might Be Weight Loss, But That’s Not All
Now that you know that there are various types of cleanses, let’s talk about whether or not they really work. I’ve heard it time and time again from friends, “I’m going on a cleanse diet because I need to lose this weight” and I always wonder what the outcome will be. I can honestly tell you that judging by their posts on social media, most of them give up within a couple of days.
Some of them lose a few pounds but are posting hangry (a mix of angry and hungry) updates. Some are just too tired to post at all. After much observation and research on these cleansing diets, I’ve realized quite a few things. One of those things is that a cleansing diet may give you more than you bargained for.
Your body needs a certain amount of calories to maintain your current weight. If your caloric intake is more than what you can burn off through exercise and normal bodily function, there will be an increase in weight. If you consume fewer calories than your maintenance level, then that’s where weight loss comes in.
But, do cleanses really cause you to lose weight?
Depending on the amount of time you are on it, yes, it’s definitely possible.
The reason is because most of the cleansing diets are very low in calories. I’m talking 800 calories and lower for a lot of them. The average person needs about 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight. Of course, adjustments are made for whether you are male or female, bodybuilder, athlete, inactive, active and so on.
Another angle on this supposed weight loss is that water loss is a given while on these types of cleanses. That’s because a lot of water is locked up in your muscles with glycogen. When you’re restricting calories, you are using up those glycogen stores and losing the water that goes along with it. The water will come right back when you return to a normal diet.
This Could Result In Loss Of Energy And Decreased Brain Function
Most cleanses boast that they will give you more energy. I have to disagree. Say you are the average person who requires that 2,000 calories per day to maintain. That’s not just for weight maintenance. Those calories are needed for energy and brain function, among other processes in the body. Your brain alone uses 20% of our daily caloric intake.
That’s a huge chunk!
Too much of a restriction can produce very bad results.
A Harvard Health publication states that women should not consume less than 1,200 calories per day for weight loss and men no less than 1,500. Going below these numbers will cause more than just a lack of energy.
Limiting protein intake, as most juice cleanses do, also accounts for the lack of brain function and loss of energy.
The reason is because the amino acids in protein are what makes up the brain’s neurotransmitters to keep it working properly. Amino acids such as tyrosine trigger the brain to manufacture the chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which keep you alert and energized. That’s why protein is so important.
It Could Lead To A Weakened Immune System
Your immune system starts in your gut. Cleanses can cause a mass case of diarrhea. You guessed it! That’s a bad thing. Diarrhea not only causes dehydration in the body as the intestines pull water from other sources, but it also pulls out good gut bacteria along with important vitamins and minerals.
Restricting calories dramatically can also cause a weakened immune system. By eating under 1,200 calories per day, you are depriving your body of much-needed nutrients. These nutrients are needed to produce hormones like leptin. Leptin is a key hormone in immunity.
A Slower Metabolism Could Be A Result
Speaking of leptin, when your levels are low, your body will conserve energy to protect the brain, heart, and liver. This means that your metabolic rate will be slower. This is also known as conservation or starvation mode. It’s a fight or flight reflex in the body to conserve energy when you aren’t eating enough calories to sustain.
How Do You Cleanse And Remove All Of The Built-Up Toxins?
Have you ever read a statement that said something like “There are over 20 pounds of toxins built up in your colon?” That’s a lie. If toxins were built up in your body in a way it can’t excrete them, you’d be dead or in serious need of medical attention. The body does a great job of cleansing and ridding itself of toxins through the use of the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and colon.
Each organ has a specific function and works efficiently to remove toxins from the body.
You can definitely make the jobs of your cleansing organs a lot easier by eliminating overly toxic substances all together such as cigarettes and alcohol. Cigarettes contain numerous chemicals. This overloads your liver and can cause it to eventually fail. The regular consumption of alcohol can cause cirrhosis of the liver. It’s best to cut back. These two substances are not food and are not needed. As a result, they can cause extreme damage to the body.
This Is How To Lose Weight The Right Way And Keep It Off
Many people want weight loss to happen overnight. That’s why they tend to fall for the whole cleansing diet thing. Tricks can make the results seem so much faster and easier than losing weight the healthy way.
The reason cleanses don’t work for weight loss in the long-term is because they don’t teach you how to eat. Cleansing diets are a quick fix. They aren’t sustainable for many reasons.
Getting to a healthy body weight involves a few lifestyle changes. I never like to say the words “go on a diet.” It seems too short term when, in fact, we need to eat healthy for the long term.
You Need Sleep
Sleep is very important in weight loss. Why? Getting the proper amount of sleep kind of resets the hormones. It also is the body’s time to properly recover from exercise. A lot goes on while we sleep. We need at least six to eight hours of sleep.
Make sure you get the right amount of nutrients. Eat fruits, veggies, whole grains, organic dairy, lean meats and other healthy and minimally processed foods.
Never cut out an entire macronutrient from your diet. That includes carbs, proteins or fats. This can be detrimental to your health. Why? Your body needs all three to function properly.
Cut Calories, But Not By Much
The best way for weight loss to occur and to teach yourself how to eat healthy is through basic calorie restriction while eating clean. After you’ve met your healthy weight goal, it’s safe to increase the calories to your maintenance level and you’ll have trained yourself to know what foods are good and what foods are not.
Exercise is a great way to reach your goal. Along with a clean diet, exercise will assist in fat loss and building a lean healthy body. Do it often and reap the benefits. I always tell my clients to never go more than three days without exercise and never miss a Monday. Make sure that you are challenging yourself and your body will respond in a positive way.
Stress is a killer, literally.
Bad stress can cause all kinds of chemical reactions in your body. The less you stress, the healthier you’ll be.
Stress will elevate the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Increased cortisol can lead to the accumulation of body fat, especially in the midsection. Decrease your stress by taking a walk. You could also do some beginner yoga. As well, you could de-stress by doing some meditation, taking hot baths and making sure to get the right amount of sleep.
Weight loss can be hard. It takes a lot of willpower. But, once you start to get the hang of eating healthy, it will become second nature. Don’t fall for all the latest cleanses and crash diets. Instead, teach yourself to eat the right way. It’s not complicated, but it can quickly turn that way with a lot of diets. Keep it as simple as you can and that will increase your chances of success.
By Heather Neff, CPT