NOLUYANDA James*(25) feels under pressure to lose weight as
this has been the hot topic at work lately. A colleague told her that the first
thing she needed to do before going on a diet was to detox. Not understanding
this, she consulted Daddy Matthews, a dietician from Polokwane in Limpopo.
WHAT IS DETOXING?
Losing weight should start with a good detox or cleanse.
Detoxing can help your body to eliminate waste products and toxins, restore
your health and boost your metabolism. According to Daddy, who works for the
Department of Health and is also the owner of a company called DNC and
Associate, it’s important to know what detoxing is before you even attempt to
do it. He explains, “Detoxing, which is
mainly carried out by the liver, is a process of ridding the body of toxic or harmful substances. It improves your
health, energy levels, resistance to disease, mental state and digestion. It's
also believed to aid weight loss.” The benefits you'll get from a detox diet or
cleanse depend on how restrictive it is. If you choose to do a very restrictive
diet or cleanse, it should last no longer than three days. This type of detox
is not recommended. If you are just trying to add more lean protein, fruit and
veggies to your diet, and to reduce alcohol and fizzy drink intake, you can aim
to maintain those changes for as long as you want to.
IS DETOXING IMPORTANT?
What most people don’t know is that toxins can build up in
your body for years. Daddy says most foods and supplements people consume these
days have toxic ingredients that they are not even aware of. “To the best of my knowledge, you are not
forced to detox if you maintain a generally healthy lifestyle. Furthermore,
there is no clinical investigation on a detox diet that has been conducted so
although the general belief is that it’s helpful, not detoxing has also not
been proven to be problematic,” Daddy
explains. He says the reason for this is that the liver eliminates harmful
substances at all times, therefore detoxing automatically happens.
RISK OF DETOXING
Daddy explains that most detox diets do not meet daily
protein and energy requirements. “Other health risks of strict detox diets
relate to severe energy restriction and nutritional inadequacy. Extreme fasting
can lead to protein and vitamin deficiencies and other potentially fatal
problems,” he says. He also mentions that detox dieters are also at risk of
overdosing on supplements and laxatives.
“Consumers should keep in mind that the human body has highly
sophisticated mechanisms for eliminating toxics. The liver, kidneys, skin and
lungs all play a role in the excretion of unwanted substances, and without
chemical intervention,” he explains.
A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE IS BEST
A balanced diet is the best way to keep your body in good
form and naturally detoxifying itself without having to resort to diets that
will only lead to starvation. A balanced diet includes all five food groups –
whole grains, fruit, vegetables, protein and diary. People need to eat the
right quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy
life. You have to look for food that
contains important nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fat, water,
vitamins and minerals. For example, when we consume enough fresh fruits and
vegetables (at least five servings per day), we’re filled with nutrients that
help the body function properly. A fibre-rich diet also helps us to have
regular bowel movements, which is one way our bodies rid themselves of excess
NATURAL WAYS TO DETOX YOUR BODY
If you eat more sugar, you ask your body for more insulin,
straining your pancreas and wearing yourself out. This kind of habit can cause
you to pack on excess weight and become chronically fatigued or diabetic.
START YOUR DAY WITH WATER
Drink a glass of water with juice from half a lemon in the
morning. Lemon helps to re-hydrate the system and promotes digestion. This will
help the flow of waste out our bodies.
Regular exercise encourages circulation in the blood and
lymph system. Doing so will also enhance digestion, reduce tension, lubricate
joints and strengthen your body. People who exercise regularly have far fewer
toxins in their bodies.
You should eat whole plant foods because processed foods
lack the nutrients your body needs. Dark green vegetables, for instance, are
full of micronutrients and are very low in calories. You can eat a lot of them
so that your body can detox naturally.