Skip the Detox-tea and Try Fasting for Detoxification

October 11, 2017

Detoxification is a dietary life hack that has managed to hang around longer than your average fad. However, the idea sold to the American public is that there are toxins in our everyday foods. There are toxins we absorb from eating foods which have pesticides or overly processed. However, they do not need to be cleansed by doing a juice or tea cleanse.


If you are genuinely interested in detoxifying your body, you don’t need any products to help you cleanse your insides. All you need is the self-control to fast.

Science Of Fasting

Fasting has been long associated with spirituality but there is a growing core of information coming from the scientific community in support of the practice of fasting.


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the results of several studies about fasting. They found that these studies had many similar findings:


  • Insulin action – Fasting improved insulin production in both animal and human trials.


  • Cardiovascular health – Fasting reduced blood pressure and heart rate, helping patients with hypertension.


  • Oxidation – Oxygen, while necessary, is damaging and breaks down our bodies at a cellular level. Fasting trials showed lower oxidative stress to proteins, lipids, and DNA.


Fasting is still a relatively new area of study for scientists, so the study calls for more research in certain areas. One of the areas which were specifically identified for more research was the curious Type 2 diabetes gender difference between men’s and women’s reaction to glucose tolerance while fasting.


Men showed no increase in glucose tolerance, but had higher insulin sensitivity, allowing them to process insulin better. Some trial participants were even able to drastically reduce their insulin injections.


As for women, they increased in glucose tolerance but not insulin sensitivity. This was not a desirable effect, as that meant they could intake more glucose without noticeable effect on their insulin levels. For women without Type 2 diabetes, this isn’t an undesirable effect but for female patients looking to reduce insulin injections, fasting in this study did not have the desired outcome.        


In a way, this makes sense. It is obvious that men and women are different, so it makes sense that there are divergent food solutions for the different genders.

How Detoxification Teas And Juices Work

Every time a company markets a detoxification product, you are given the impression that your body is just swimming in toxic materials. This can be effective marketing:using fear to prompt action while adding just enough of the truth into the marketing for it to ring true.


A good part of the “success” of these products is the fact that they make users restrict their calorie-intake. Some of the benefits of calorie-reduction that detox cleanses piggyback onto are:


  • Lessening bloating – Many people have undiagnosed food allergies and even those who don’t are likely indulging in a carbohydrate rich diet. This can cause stomach and intestinal bloating/distress. When doing these tea or juice cleanses, carbs and dairy-based foods are usually on the list of foods not to eat. So while participants feel better after a detox, the good effects are ascribed to the tea or juice and not the calorie-reduction.


  • Energy improvement – Overeating, particularly a carb-heavy diet, can make you feel exhausted. Current studies identify carbohydrates as the largest part of the American diet. By using a detox product, the overeating of carbs is curbed and the user will feel more energetic. However, this can be achieved by just cutting down on carbohydrate intake.


  • Overall appearance – Weight-loss is achieved by burning more energy than we eat. The calorie-reduction demanded when using a detox product helps users reach short-term weight-loss. It also has the side-effect of making the user drink more water and wholesome fluids, rather than soda, sugary juices, and alcoholic beverages. This helps the skin look healthier. However, it is not due to the product but instead to the increase of water intake.

Try Fasting For Detoxification

By now you can hopefully see that the magic of detoxification isn’t hidden behind a paywall, demanding that you purchase a particular product to cleanse your body. Instead, fasting is clearly the true key to success behind the success of these products.


There are a couple ways you can safely try fasting for yourself.


Alternate-day fasting – This method of fasting calls for a 24-hour fast from all food, though you need to be sure to drink plenty of water. Then for the next 24-hours, you can eat as you normally do. It is not recommended that you exercise on the days you fast as you can burn too many calories to sustain a fast safely. Also, it is better to not go over 24-hours as it can create hard to control cravings.


Intermittent fasting – When intermittent fasting, you will have a selected time period where you do not eat (but be sure to drink water!) and a time slot where you can eat as you normally do. A popular time split is the 16/8 plan. For 16 hours you fast from food and for 8 hours you allow yourself to eat as normal.


So if you find yourself struggling with some of the things detox products claim they can fix, try fasting for detoxification and skip the expense.


Kevin Jones is a health and fitness blogger and regular contributor to a number of fitness websites. He writes for NordicTrack. During his free time, he likes to be very active and spend time with his wife and two children shredding the slopes of Park City, Utah or chasing down the Salt Lake City Korean food trucks. Connect with him online; LinkedInTwitter


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