Detoxes are Bullshit

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I’m not the first person to say this, and I certainly won’t be the last.  It’s important you listen and realize that this is the truth. 

Detox diets and teas are bullshit.

As a personal trainer I see all the posts:  the “30 Day Detox Diets” and the “SlimTea Detox Tea! Pee Your Way to a Six Pack!”  I’m normally very good at ignoring lies like these, but the fact that people are still buying these obviously fraudulent products pisses me off. They don't work.

These diets and cleanses claim to cure everything from stinky farts to acne, all under the guise of flushing bad toxins from your body and replacing them with healthy juice nutrients. 

Many of these detox diets require strict adherence to arbitrary nutritional guidelines. They require you to eliminate certain foods, and severely drop your calories.  The most important factor to consider when crafting a diet is sustainability.  Will you be able to sustain this diet for more than 30 days? Does it meet all your satiety, nutrition and mental needs? If not it's definitely not going to work.  

Detox diets are essentially crash diets.  That is why many people lose weight in the first 2 weeks.  When you are only eating or drinking 800 calories a day you will lose weight, but you will crash after a short period of time and boomerang back.

Losing weight in the short term and embibing more nutrients is a good thing.  However, neither has anything to do with "cleansing" your body.

Despite these two shallow, short term benefits there  is one glaring fact that the creators of these diets and juices has willfully ignored.  The act of eating works against your bodies ability to cleanse itself.


Your body has the ability to “cleanse” itself naturally.  It does it every day.
 

On a cellular level our body utilizes a process called autophagy.  Autophagy means “to eat oneself” and that’s exactly what your body is doing.  It dismembers dead and damaged cell parts and re-purposes them as fuel for healthy, vital cellular function. Autophagy is your body's way of recycling old cellular machinery that it no longer has the energy to sustain.  
 

How can I trigger and optimize this process?

 

Your body will only cleanse itself under stress.  Muscular stress (vigorous exercise) or metabolic stress (NOT eating). Exercising and fasting are the two most effective ways to naturally cleanse your body.  

Whenever you are sweating at the gym you are unknowingly cleansing your body, whether or not you use the hashtag #fittea.

The other way to naturally cleanse your body is to fast.  The funniest part about this whole “juice cleanse” nonsense is that eating prevents your body from cleansing itself.  

Fasting is effective because of two hormones- glucagon and insulin.  They are largely opposite hormones, you know insulin as "the stress hormone".  It spikes whenever you  are under mental stress or metabolic stress. Whenever you eat your insulin goes up.

Glucagon is the hormone which causes autophagy.  Whenever insulin goes up, glucagon goes down and vice versa.  Whenever you don't eat you are allowing our glucagon levels to rise and put your body into an autophagic state. 

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Fasting has MANY benefits beyond autophagy.  It increases muscle building hormone production, improves cognitive function and lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

You don’t have to forego food for an entire day or week like some hermetic yogi.  You can either cut your calories for a few days, or just skip breakfast.

As a disclaimer I will point out that I am a regular faster.  I limit my time spent eating from 1:00 in the afternoon to 9:00 at night.  I have an 8 hour “feeding window” meaning I am in a fasted state for 16 hours out of a 24 hour day. I have seen incredible benefits from fasting, not only in my physique but in my relationship with hunger.

Now that sounds daunting and like I am some super human not eating machine, but it’s not.  Let me tell you a secret about how easy fasting is.  Basically all I do is skip breakfast.  Skipping breakfast is beneficial on a hormonal level, it turns out it is most certainly NOT the most important part of the day.

Both your testosterone and human growth hormone levels are highest in the morning.  These levels continue to rise until you eat.  As soon as you eat they slump down to their normal production level.  This has many benefits as they are the "muscle building" hormones in both males and females. 

Skipping breakfast is an easy way to try this for yourself.  The average human sleeps 8 hours per night- that equates to an 8 hour fast.  By not eating until noon you are putting your body in a 12 hour fast.  That is more than enough time to trigger autophagy and a positive hormonal response. The best part of this is that you don't need to do it every day.  Studies show you can reap all the benefits of fasting in as little  as 5 days per month.

You can still have black coffee and/or tea during your morning fast.

Sometimes to trigger a positive response you need to take a unique and opposite path than what you've tried in the past.  The idea that detox diets, juice cleanses and slim teas are a positive, effective way of building a healthier body could not be further from the truth.  The people selling you these fads are not trying to help you, they are trying to help their bank account.  They are willfully ignorant of human biology.  Only through tapping into your body's natural processes can you build a healthier body.

The only way to truly detox your body is to develop healthier habits like drinking water, exercising with purpose and occasionally skipping breakfast.  It's really not that hard.

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