Detox Diets


de·tox - noun [dee-toks]


treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous or toxic substances.

di·et - noun [dahy-it]

a particular selection of food, designed or prescribed to improve a person's physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease:


A Detox Diet (also referred to as a cleansing diet or a Detoxification Diet) is a short-term diet that is designed to remove toxins and poisons from the body and is considered a holistic approach to improving health. Detox Diets usually consist of eating pure and natural foods that help with the overall function of major organs such as the brain, kidneys, liver and lymph system.

The main purpose of a typical Detox Diet is to allow our bodies to focus on self-healing and can increase energy levels, improve digestive health, improve the immune system, reduce headaches, eliminate bloating, help ward off colds, improve concentration and in some extreme cases they have been known to prevent disease [1]

Detox Diets are considered to be controversial by some because they usually have quite severe restrictions and should only be commenced after consulting a doctor and/or a nutritionist. Please read on to to determine if a Detox Diet is right for you and if we will help you find detox diet plans that work, ways to start the 'lemon detox diet' and what foods work best.

There are many Detox Diet Plans on the internet but you should always consult a physician before you start. People with certain health conditions such as diabetes, anemia or kidney or liver disease should avoid this diet or only perform the diet under supervision from your health care provider. A Detox Diet is also considered unsafe for women who are pregnant or nursing. Please visit this website for performing this diet safely. 

Let's get started with the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Detox Diets:

What is a Detox Diet?

Detox Diets, although controversial, are known to help the body by eliminating or reducing the amount of toxins that are consumed. [2] They are fairly common and popular in eastern cultures as a way to maintain optimal health and follow some religious practices. The general idea is that most food is contaminated by many ingredients that are considered unnecessary additives such as flavor, food coloring and preservatives. Many nutritionists, doctors, dietitians and scientists consider detox diets to be harmless.*

* A healthcare professional should ALWAYS be consulted before starting

A Detox Diet involves limiting ones food intake to simple items such as water or juice and eliminating items such as fats, carbohydrates, alcohol or unnatural products. Some consider this to be a form of fasting and believe that the body will burn accumulated fats. The fat will then release toxins into the blood and will be eliminated through the skin, urine, feces and even breath.

Proponents claim benefits such as an improvement in overall health, energy levels and brain function. The argument is that because stool and urine are the body's primary method to get rid of toxins, regular bowel movements and voiding are essential to removing these poisons. A typical, healthy Detox Diet consists of getting plenty of fluid from water and fresh juices and plenty of fiber from fresh vegetables and fruits.

Most experts agree that limiting a Detox Diet to 1-7 days is unlikely to cause harm, however prolonged fasting can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. [3] Most healthcare professionals insist that a regular, balanced diet and regular exercise is the best way to promote healthy living.

A Detox Diet should NEVER be used as a replacement for modern medicine when battling any sort of disease. It should also be closely monitored and never used too frequently.

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Foods to Include in your Detox Diet Plan:

  • Organic Fruit - Your detox diet should consist of a lot of fruits. They can be fresh, frozen, dried or canned in natural fruit juice. Common fruits used include lemons, pineapple, apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, nectarines, grapefruit, pears, raisins, mango, kiwi, melons, star fruit, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black currants etc.
  • Organic Vegetables - Fresh, frozen and canned in water (without added salt) are great. Common vegetables used are cabbage, corn, carrots, potatoes, cucumber, tomatoes, salads, broccoli, cauliflower,onions, turnip, peppers, sprouts, mushrooms, leeks etc.
  • Organic Juice - The Lemonade Diet is the most common detox diet. You may want to consider making homemade or freshly squeezed fruit juices or smoothies made from fresh fruit. Make sure that if you use store bought juice they should be labeled as 'sugar free', 'unsweetened', 'pure'.
  • Beans and Lentils - Eat any fresh or dried beans or even beans canned in water. Beans that can be included are red kidney, red lentils, green lentils, brown lentils, haricot, black eye, pinto etc.
  • Water - A minimum of 2 liters or half a gallon of water per day should be consumed
  • Tofu and Quorn
  • Unsalted Nuts and Seeds - Most Nuts and seeds are considered to be fantastic items and can be consumed safely but they should be labelled as 'unsalted'.
  • Oats - A lot of people like to sprinkle oats on their fresh fruit or use the oats to make porridge.
  • Garlic, Ginger, and Fresh Herbs - Gentian root, Yucca root, Psyllium seed, Licorice root etc.
  • Rice cakes, Rice Crackers, Rye Crackers and Oatcakes
  • Fresh Fish
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Honey
  • Herbal or Fruit Teas

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Foods to Avoid with your Detox Diet Plan:

  • Red Meat such as beef
  • Chicken or Turkey
  • Other Meat Products such as sausages, hotdogs or burgers.
  • Any Bread Product - croissants, bread, cereal, cakes, biscuits, cookies, pies, pastry, quiche etc.
  • Milk or Cream
  • Butter or Margarine
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate or Sweets
  • Junk Food such as Potato Chips or Salted Snacks
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Illegal or non-prescription drugs
  • Certain supplements
  • Processed food - T.V. Dinners, mayonnaise, store bought salad dressing or takeout food
  • Salt
  • Pop or Soda

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What are the Benefits of a Detox Diet?

Many people who have experienced success and reported many benefits from a Detox Diet. Many will experience tiredness and fatigue for the first day or two because the the body is undergoing change. After about three days, overall heath and fitness can notice an improvement. It is at this point that the body has started to detoxify and typically a person will feel more healthy.

People also notice that the taste of food becomes more enhanced and even ones sense of smell may notice improvement. This is due to the fact that less food is consumed and the taste buds are given a rest.

It has been reported that people who fast or follow a Detox Diet plan have cured illnesses, although this is extremely rare and there may also be any number of contributing factors.

Some people also notice weight loss while following this diet.

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What are the Risks of a Detox Diet?

A Detox Diet can be VERY risky if done incorrectly. The reason why there are many risks involved is because a person is not getting all of the nutrients needed to function properly. Many people complain of extreme fatigue or lack of energy which can result in nausea or dizziness. That is why it should never last for more than 7 days.

Because the body is deprived of nutrients, a person may notice that they feel cold or even completely unwell.

If followed under ill advice, used too frequently or if abused it can lead to eating disorders, malnutrition, continual bouts of illness, depression and even death.

Some experts feel that this is a radical form of dieting. If a healthy, well-balanced, structured meal plan is followed then there isn't a need to detoxify in the first place.

A healthy Detox Diet should never last more than a few days. Most proponents of this type of body detoxification insist that diets lasting longer than 7 days can actually cause more harm than good.

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The Lemon Detox Diet | Lemonade Diet

The Lemon Detox Diet or Lemonade Diet is the most common or popular detox diet plans. It has been around for more than 50 years but has become increasingly popular since 2006. [4]

It is also known as the Master Cleanse and was developed as a detoxification or fasting program. It was created by Stanley Burroughs as a way to remove and eliminate toxins from the body.

There are several detox diet plans associated with the Lemon Detox or Lemonade Diet. The most extreme of which includes a plan that consists of fasting that causes weight loss because of little caloric intake. Most experts feel that such a cleanse is dangerous and can cause health problems, especially in those who are pregnant or nursing.

What You Can Eat:

The traditional Lemonade diet consists of no solid foods or supplements. Only the Master Cleanse Elixir will keep you hydrated.

What is the Master Cleanse Elixir?

  • 10 ounces filtered water.

  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

  • 2 tablespoons grade-B organic maple syrup.

  • 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

According to this detox diet plan, dieters are urged to ease their way back into solid food after 4-14 days* with fresh fruit and vegetables or vegetable soup..

*It is highly recommended that you do not exceed a 'Detox Diet' that lasts more than 7 days.

How Does a Lemon Detox Diet Work?

This basic science behind the Lemon Detox Diet is that a person will lose weight because of decreased water intake, calorie deficits and in extreme cases muscle loss. Because people abuse this sort of diet, it isn't actually 'fat' they are losing, it is dense muscle tissue. Generally, an 'extreme' diet such as this should only last for a few days at the most. The more the body is deprived of nutrients the more likely it will utilize essential proteins from itself creating the illusion of weight loss.

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Best Detox Diets | Most Popular Detox Diet Plans

As stated earlier there are many popular types of Detox Diet plans. Most of these eliminate foods that contain potentially harmful substances and help promote the body's natural ability to rid itself of toxins. Most of these plans consist of large amounts of fruits and vegetables, various nuts, beans, organic juices and plenty of water. Typically overall consumption of food is decreased and and range from small, healthy meals to juice and water fasts.

As stated several times in the Detox Diet Blog, always consult a physician before starting one of these diets.

Here is a list of the Best Detox Diet Plans:

  • The Lemonade Diet | Master Cleanse - This is one of the most popular Detox Diet plans and it involves drinking only lemonade, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
  • Elimination Diet - This involves eliminating all non-essential foods and removing unhealthy, processed food. There are many variations to an elimination diet.
  • Fresh Fruit Diet - This diet usually consists of 7 days of consuming only fresh fruit and fruit juices. It is a common form of a Detox Diet as well as a popular weight loss strategy.
  • Juice Fasting - Is another form of fasting where only fresh vegetable and fruit juices are consumed. Popular juices include beet juice and wheatgrass juice.
  • Smoothie Fasting - This involves drinking only freshly blended pure vegetables and fruit smoothies. Green smoothies are fairly popular.
  • Diuretic Diet - This is a diet that uses natural diuretics to help alleviate fluid retention.
  • Commercial Cleanse Programs - Some examples include 'Colon Clenz', the 'Acai Cleanse', and Bowtrol. These are specifically designed programs that involve protein powders, vitamins and specific nutrients.
  • Raw Food Detox Diet - This is a fairly basic diet that involves eating food that is uncooked or hasn't been heated above 118 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Rice Diet - This is another diet that involves eating only rice and drinking water. Brown rice is one of the more common used rices.

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Getting Started on a Detox Cleanse Diet

First and foremost, you should always consult your healthcare provider before starting any sort of elimination or Detox Diet.

Creating a strategy is essential to the success of your diet. You can have a 24 hour cleanse and up to 7 days if you desire. Most people are able to successfully follow their diet while continuing with normal daily activities including exercise. The most important step is to be well prepared with meal plans, the right types of food and to reward yourself for accomplishing goals.

Some people feel that consuming some herbs will help the liver to produce enzymes and antioxidants that are necessary for detoxification.

Because the skin is the largest organ of the body it is important to consider 'dry skin brushing' to remove dead skin and help improve ones detox.

Meditation is another popular strategy when attempting to complete a Detox Diet. Deep breathing (or breathing with your diaphragm) is a way to help you stay focused, calm and motivated.

It is important to note that not everyone will experience the same results. Some people may also feel lightheaded, dizzy or nausea and will choose to stop.

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  1. 1. Healthy Studying at Sonoma State University
  2. 2. NYU Langone Medical Center
  3. 3. Harvard Health Publications
  4. 4. Web MD

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