Detox Diets: How to Approach with Our Clients

It’s new year resolution time, a time to clean the slate for a lot of people.  It’s a time to with re-energized clients ready to cleanse and detox their bodies. The Detox Diet popularity has surpassed trend status into a recurring conversation for us, as dietitians, at the ring of the new year.

There’s no formal definition of the detox diet, it depends on the creator and source.  Generally, it’s a way of ridding toxins consumed from junk or processed foods. Many of the detox diets restrict certain foods and last a few days.  Some of these diets claim to be “quick fixes” rather than promotion of healthy habits or moderation.  People are persuaded to buy into these gimmicks wasting time and money. it’s probably clear to us dietitians, these are not long time solutions and likely going to result in calorie or nutrient deficits.

From a research perspective, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of detox diets. Some small studies have shown these diets can help detoxify the liver and eliminate organic pollutants from the body. This is an area that needs to be researched further with larger samples and stronger methodology.

Here are some fresh and savvy approaches to addressing detox diets? Use the conversation as a spring board to educate our clients about the bodies own natural detox capabilities.  The kidneys, liver, and large intestine are generally quite effective at filtering and eliminating most ingested toxins. As a start, promote consistent adequate hydration for optimal function of our body’s cellular functions as a whole. This is also important for removing waste through urination, perspiration and bowel movements.  Secondly, talk about importance of protein.  Consuming adequate protein is essential to maintaining optimum levels of glutathione, the body’s major detoxification enzyme. This enzyme is naturally produced in the body.  It relies on sulfur amino acids intake.  Cruciferous vegetables are examples of sulfur rich foods,  which leads to the next area.  Find out your client’s favorite cruciferous vegetables (think green vegetables, leeks, garlic, onions) and berries and create a goal to increase the serving up to nine per day.

Hopefully, this will give your clients some good knowledge and kick start the right conversation.

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