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When you're busy it's all too easy to put your health on hold. A few too many drinks and takeaways and before you know it you're feeling pretty average. So we reach for a detox kit; a fresh start in a box or is it?
There are dozens of detox diets on the market, many claim to increase kidney and liver function to help flush any toxins out of the bloodstream. But do they actually work?
We got together a group of six healthy people in their twenties. We put three of them on a commercially available seven-day liquid detox diet. The other three acted as the control group and continued to eat their normal diet. At the beginning and end of the experiment we weighed everyone in the group and gave them blood tests to check kidney and liver function, cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels.
Weight loss One member of the detox group dropped out on day four as she was experiencing dizziness, headaches and nausea. In this time she lost almost 3kgs. The two other members of the detox group lasted the week and lost 2.5kg and 4kg each. Our expert, Associate Professor Katherine Samaras of the Garvan Institute, believes the weight loss will be put straight back on. Plus the diet may have also altered the detoxers' metabolisms making it more difficult for them to lose weight in the future.
Blood tests The blood tests showed decreased liver function in all members of the detox group. Their livers were shocked by the strict diet and weren't functioning very well. The blood tests also showed an increase in triglycerides (the bad blood fats that predict our risk to heart disease) and a decrease in the protective cholesterol.
Within our group of six people the liquid detox diet did not help the body eliminate toxins. In fact, the diet did them more harm than good! The body is fantastically designed to eliminate by-products without needing any assistance at all.
If you have overindulged, Professor Samaras recommends a light healthy diet for one or two days to let your body recover.