Why that Dietary Cleanse May be Making You Fat…and Miserable


To starve...or eat....that is the question.
To starve…or eat….that is the question.

Here’s a snippet of a conversation I overhead at lunch the other day…

Girl 1: Yeah, I figure why not.

Girl 2: I’ve wanted to do a cleanse for a while now, but I don’t think I can make it!

Girl 1: Let’s do it together! It worked great last time.  It’s just like a total reset for your body, plus you lose a bunch of weight!

Girl 2: LOL okay!

Yeah. I was eavesdropping.  However, I did show a little restraint.  I really wanted to lean over and lend my opinion, but I had the feeling they wouldn’t have appreciated the unsolicited advice.  I also didn’t want to look like the creepy guy at the table behind them that’s been listening to their entire conversation, so I thought best to just quietly judge them until I had the opportunity to vent to all of you people. 

It’s almost spring time, which means (if you read nonsense publications and blogs) it’s time to “Reset Your Body!”.  And how else do you reset your body?  With one of 523 different dietary cleanses of course!

First off, what the hell does “reset your body” even mean?  Reset it to what?  Is there a more vague and unmeasurable goal out there?  Here, drink my $99.99 super detox master dietary cleanse smoothies for 10 days and BOOM, you’ve reset your body!  Oh, well they’re telling me I reset my body…and I did spend a hundred bucks….so yeah, I definitely reset my body – I’m so healthy now! 

Cleanses are nothing new, but like bears coming out of hibernation, they tend to pop back up around this time of the year.  Each year there seems to be a dozen new dietary cleanses hitting the market; let’s take a look at some cleanses, both old and new, shall we?

  • Soup and smoothie cleanse – Soups and smoothies must not include dairy, salt, or grains.  Simply fruits, vegetables, and water.  Everything must be blended into a liquid, so you give up solid foods for 10-14 days.  Why?  Why is fresh, wholesome, and unprocessed food in solid or semi-solid state, bad?  Because it just is! Alright!?
  • Master cleanse – An oldie but….no, it’s just old.  On this dietary cleanse you are allotted a daily ration of water, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.  This dietary cleanse promises serious weight loss and a cleansing of organs.  Hmm..is anyone really surprised a 150 calorie/day diet causes weight loss?  And about the organ cleansing…..where’s the proof?
  • Raw food cleanse – Sure, many consider this a lifestyle (and a health one at that) but for the person accustomed to eating McDonald’s twice a week, are you really that surprised when you’ve dropped 10 pounds in two weeks after having gone on a 500 calorie/day diet?  Great, you’ve lost a ton of water weight and probably some muscle…now get on Facebook and tell us all how healthy you are!
  • The Organic Avenue Love Deep cleanse – This 14 day dietary cleanse consists of downing several bottles of their processed smoothies and juices each day.  Promising “plenty of superfood veggie juices to drench your system and help you feel your best!”, this cleanse isn’t for just anyone.  You’ve got to be serious about cleansing…and have a nice bank account to match.  Fourteen days on this cleanse will run you a whopping $1008…before shipping and handling of course. 

I could go on and on, but why bother. 

Why People Cleanse

Is someone you know considering a dietary cleanse?  Maybe you’ve even been toying with the idea?  Well, first off, you should know why people cleanse in the first place.  Proponents of cleanses often tell you their cleanse will help eliminate “toxins” from your body.  These proponents go on to tell us how these toxins, which they mysteriously fail to specifically identify in most cases, are impacting all facets of our health.  After they’ve spent a great deal of time and energy scaring the consumer, they then start pushing their method for eliminating these toxins.  Some unfortunate person at home gets all wrapped up in these scare tactics and becomes all to happy to go on the cleanse that’s going to save their lives.

Then of course, there are others who are going on a dietary cleanse for the weight loss benefits.  The thought of dropping 10 or more pounds in a week or two is simply too irresistible to pass up.  They’ll go on some super low calorie “cleanse”, drop the weight, and feel really healthy and good about themselves for sticking it out.  Again, is it really a surprise you’re losing weight when you’ve living on a concentration camp-esque diet?  Soon enough, when you get back to real life, that weight lost will come on back….and it’s not always going to come back the way you want it to, as I’ll get into in a bit.

Why People Shouldn’t Cleanse

Let’s get back to those toxins we were talking about above.  There is overwhelming evidence that these supposed “toxins” aren’t even existing in your body in the first place[1][2].  Yes, I realize it’s shocking to think a company would outright lie to you so you’d buy their product……..wait is that really shocking?  These “toxins” are either fabricated from the get go, or there is simply no evidence that their cleanse does anything at all to remove the specific toxin in question.  As if lying to you wasn’t bad enough, some of these cleanses can be downright damaging to you[3]; proceed with caution if you do decide to get on a dietary cleanse. 

Additionally, you should be very skeptical when a company has their own doctor and/or study promoting the benefits of their product.  The best sources of information are PEER REVIEWED studies.  What this means is, a LOT of doctors, scientists, and other people in the know can weigh in and offer their criticism or opinion on a particular study.  Remember, it isn’t hard for a company with a bit of money to find a doctor to say what they want and construct a study to deliver a desired outcome.  Don’t be so naive and believe everything you read.   

I want to talk about the “fantastic” weight loss benefits for a second.  No doubt, not eating food will cause you to lose weight.  I’m not debating that.  What I do want you to be aware of though, is the type of weight lost.  Most of the time, the weight lost is simply water weight, which will be gained back in no time at all.  Worse yet, the weight lost comes in the form of muscle.  Losing muscle is bad, very, very bad.  Not only will this loss of muscle contribute to an increase in body fat percentage in the short-term, it will also slow your metabolism to a snail’s pace over the long-term.  Your body will burn less total calories per day, you’ll retain more fat, and your overall body composition will change.  Did somebody say soft and pudgy?  Leave these fast weight loss cleanses to the celebrities who need to drop weight quickly for a movie…they aren’t for real people with real-life goals. 

You guys are informed.  You’re empowered.  You see beyond the US Weekly crap that so many others get buried in.  You want to change your body and health?  You can do it without a dietary cleanse, and here’s how…

Getting Healthy…The Healthy Way

So, with all that in mind, I’ve got just the thing for you.  For only $29.99 I will send you two week’s worth of my very own Real Food Cleanse.  This cleanse is unlike any other, not only will you totally reset your body but you’ll lose a ton of…..

Okay, that was just a test to see if you were paying attention.  Good job.

The only thing you'll need for a cleanse is probably already in your refridgerator.
The only thing you’ll need for a cleanse is probably already in your refrigerator.

We’re going to do things the healthy way this time.  Ask yourself, how are you going to get healthy, get your weight in order, and keep making good progress in the gym?  In case you don’t already know, here’s how; first and foremost, you’re staying away from any faddy cleanse program.  Second, you’re going to simply eat good, wholesome, and nutritious foods.  Plenty of protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.  You’re going to skip the Jamba Juice smoothie with 80 grams of sugar.  Yes, just because everything is white, clean, and they have grass growing indoors doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  You’re going to start making the right choices… you know what they are.  You’re going to drink plenty of water.  You’re going to workout regularly.  You’re also going to make sure you get plenty of fiber.  And for the love of God, you’re going to stop skipping breakfast.  You don’t need some crazy cleanse or over-priced juice to get yourself healthy.  All you need are fresh, wholesome, and nutritious foods.  No starving, no emptying your bank accounts, no gimmicks.  Just good, clean, fresh, food.  Period.

One technique I personally use, and you may find enjoyable, is something called intermittent fasting.  Unlike cleanse type fasts, these fasts are only 18 hours in length, and are only once or twice a week.  It’s simply a way to reduce my total caloric intake…not because I want to lose weight, but because I believe, based on the peer-reviewed studies I’ve read, that it’s a healthier way of living.  Check out what I’ve written in the past on intermittent fasting and how it can improve your health

If that’s not your thing, but you still want more specific advice on how to live a happy, healthy, and fit life, I suggest you look into Blue Zones.  Blue Zones are regions on Earth where the inhabitants live unusually long and healthy lives.  Their diets and lifestyles often share many similarities, despite the great geographic variations amongst these populations.  I’ve examined the concept of Blue Zones in the past and have laid out how we can start living more like these insanely healthy and happy people.

Overall, living a healthy, fit, and “toxin” free life, is just about making good choices.  If you don’t know much about dietary choices, check out the diet section of this blog; we have TONS of information for you.  Anything from how to get organic vegetables cheaper than their non-organic counterparts to how to make a healthy version of traditionally unhealthy foods, like nachos

The ability to change your mind, body, and health is already within you.  Simply find the way to tap into this powerful resource and you’ll instantly discover the “key” to healthy living.

 

[1]:http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/detox_overview.html

[2]:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4576574.stm

[3]:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22297655

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