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Why Detox Instead of Diet?

With the New Year comes new resolutions.  For many, that involves getting healthy and very often that translates into going on a diet.  But, what if I told you that going on a diet could potentially release stored toxins into your system that could make you feel bad, get sick and potentially even prevent you from losing weight?

That’s what happened to Christopher, a 32 year-old successful salesman who had put on 35 pounds since college.  Friendly and gregarious, he enjoyed celebrating his successes with friends by dining on gourmet meals and craft beer.  What fun!  But because he focused so much on his work, he became more sedentary and went to the gym infrequently.  And the pounds started piling on.

A friend at work lost weight by doing the Master Cleanse fast, and Christopher was inspired so followed suit.  To follow the Master Cleanse regimen (also known as the Lemonade Diet), he started the morning with a salt-water flush, drank 6 to 10 glasses of a concoction of maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne, and water throughout the day and had nothing else.  The pounds started to melt off…yay!   But after about a week, he developed an itchy rash that soon spread over his entire body… 🙁  After trying on over-the-counter creams after another, he went to his doctor who checked him out and gave him a prescription for topical steroid cream and an oral anti-histamine.  When those didn’t work, he was given even stronger prescriptions, but nothing helped and the rash continued.  He was utterly miserable and after a few weeks, he wound up in my office still itching like crazy.

As I listened to his full story, I realized that as he had lost the weight he had likely liberated stored toxins from his dissolving reserves of fat (yes, that’s where a lot of environmental toxins end up for long-term storage in our bodies).  A blood test revealed the likely culprit – he had severely elevated levels of pesticides in his body- which were likely released during his rapid weight loss, going into his bloodstream and ended up causing a reaction – for him, it was a rash, for others I have seen worse.  With little protein, calories, or nutrients consumed while on this diet, his body was overwhelmed and unable to handle his toxic load.  And unfortunately, his doctor was treating the symptoms and not the root cause, so he hadn’t received any help to get rid of the circulating toxins and thus get rid of that itchy rash.   By assisting his body to fully eliminate these toxins, he eventually got relief.

Cleaning up the body’s toxic load may not only prevent and relieve symptoms, it may also be a secret for weight loss.  Recent studies indicate that some of these toxic chemicals may be what scientists are now calling obesogens – chemicals that the body cannot effectively handle and that potentially affect the hormonal and other bodily systems.  These chemicals cause the body to hold on to weight to dilute the toxic effects, and as long as these toxins are in our bodies, the tendency is to gain weight.  And the “toxins” may not even be harmful chemicals, it may be a food that you happen to be sensitive to.  This may be one reason why it can be so hard to lose weight or feel better even though you’re seemingly doing all of the right things.

My advice:

  • Before going on any drastic or rapid weight-loss program consider doing a detox first. At the very least, support your liver and kidney function.
  • If you are not able to lose weight despite modifying your food intake and physical activity, consider evaluation for food sensitivities.

For one-on-one guidance to get you to your health goals, including identifying food sensitivities and detoxification support, schedule a consultation with me.