HEALTH DIVA: To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse?

By   |   October 1, 2012   |   Entertainment, Fitness

Our resident Health Diva, Dr. Janna Andrews, gives her take on cleanses.

Cleansing began with the Greeks and the Egyptians. The Greeks felt that certain foods consumed needed to be detoxed from the body.

There are innumerable cleanses. People cleanse for all sorts of reasons; kidney function and digestion; to flush the lymphatic system; to clear parasites; for weight loss. The reasons and types of cleanses are extensive.

But the question remains: do cleanses really help to flush oneΓÇÖs body of toxins and substances to ensure an efficacious body? Most experts agree that the body has the ability to detox and regulate itself. Because medical benefits have not been demonstrated, science doesnΓÇÖt support cleansing.

Alternative medicine practitioners, however, stand by cleanses. During a cleanse, participants typically consumes fresh fruit or vegetable juices, and the duration of the cleanse can last from days to weeks. Most new cleanses will include a nut milk component to introduce a small amount of fat and protein, and most will at least increase consumption of the daily recommended fruits and vegetables. But juicing these vegetables can actually remove nutrients that are critical for the body to function.

Cleanses can be dangerous for diabetics or people with nutritional deficiencies or kidney disease. A lot of cancer patients believe in the benefits of cleansing, but the American Cancer Society does not support cleanses and cites that cleanses can be dangerous for patients on chemotherapy.

Although there is little to no scientific evidence to support cleansing, most participants swear by it. They notice that they have more energy, less cravings or mood swings and most claim weight loss. Potentially, there is a placebo effect to doing a cleanse. I know when I attempted to do a cleanse, my energy level was amazing. I felt like I slept better and was renewed overall. Most cleansers will admit that even though they were able to lose weight for the obvious reason of a calorie restrictive diet, once they resumed eating solid foods the weight came back. Another deterrent for cleansers can be the cost. Cleanses arenΓÇÖt cheap, many can run you $65-$70 per day.

Just some food (or lack thereof!) for thought…

photo credit:  John Kasawa/

Filed Under: Entertainment, Fitness

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