Today’s contribution is from Good Measure Meals’ Kathryn Shubert RDN, LD You’re ready for a fresh start and the thought of a cleanse or detox may have entered your mind as a great way to jump start your FitTrip goals. But, is it the best way to win? It is even safe? Fact #1: The weight will come off, but…Although there is no one definition of a “detox diet”, they primarily ask you to eat raw, blended, or juiced fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are a fantastic source of fiber, micronutrients and cancer-preventing antioxidants, but they do not have all the essential nutrients that you need to get the most out of your FitTrip journey. Since fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients, but low in calories you are likely to be eating a low or very low calorie diet if your entire diet is only fruit and veggies. If you eat fewer calories than your resting/basal metabolic rate (which you learned from your hydrostatic weigh-in), you will inevitably lose weight (because you are taking in fewer calories than you are expending). Although this may sound good, you will not exclusively lose body fat; your body will also start breaking down muscle for fuel. Since FitTrip rewards you for losing body fat and gaining muscle mass, the last thing you wantto do is break down muscle to fuel your body. And last, over time, as you lose muscle mass, your metabolic rate will decrease. This just means it will be harder and harder to keep off any weight you lose. Fact #2: The body has built in detox systems.Toxins come from two places: as byproduct of our own metabolism and from our environment. We are constantly exposed to them. Regardless of their source, air pollution to alcohol, medicine to microbes, our body is armed and ready to get rid of harmful toxins. Our liver and kidneys have mechanisms in place to filter the good from the bad and excrete them regularly in the form of urine, feces, and sweat. They are detoxing our body 24/7, and in a far more effective way than any “detox diet” can do. Fact #3: You can support your body’s detox systems.Here is what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends for naturally supporting our own detoxification systems.
- Stay hydrated.
- Eat 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Consume enough fiber (28-30 grams) each day from vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
- Eat cruciferous vegetables, berries, artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks, turmeric and milk thistle, and drink green tea. These foods support detoxification pathways.
- Consume adequate protein, which is critical to maintaining optimum levels of glutathione, the body’s master detoxification enzyme. You have your protein needs from the nutrition workshop and Guidebook– use them!
- Eat naturally fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut — or take a high-quality probiotic — to help the body manage toxins from microbes that live in the gut.
- Maintain bowel regularity.