Monday, July 19, 2010

Detox - Hoax or Truth

Hi guys, firstly my sincere apologies for not having a post last week. I just tendered my resignation with Allianz recently and I have been really busy. What am I going to do after I resign? I will be working as a free lance corporate trainer and I also intend to put more focus on expanding Fitness Malaysia, which has seen tremendous growth over the past 6 months. Anyway, at the moment, I am trying to focus on my job in Allianz (handing over) as well as sorting out my corporate training and expanding Fitness Malaysia. So yeah, at the moment my hands are really full trying to juggle everything. That’s just a quick update to all of you on what’s going on my life. Initially I intended to make a post about my resignation, but as you can see, that’s about all I have to say about that.

This week I wanted to cover the topic of Detox and whether it really is as beneficial as people claim it to be. There are many types of detox services available in the market today. The one I am going to cover in this post is the one where you are supposed to consume a vegetable / fruit shake which is supposed to flush your system of toxins. As you know, Malaysians are becoming a lot more health conscious these days and I see more and more detox companies opening up everywhere offering you detox services. The usual claim is that detox helps you to:
· Remove Toxins from your body
· Helps you lose weight
· Keeps you free from illness

So does it really work and do we really need it or is just another marketing scam. Let’s look at it topic by topic.

Removing Toxins from your body
Usually, when you go for a detox session, you are given this “shake” which is a mixture of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Due to the high fiber content of these fruits and vegetabls, most people end up getting a bit of diorhea the next day. Of course this is supposed to be good thing, since its “flushing” your system of all these harmful toxins. Is this true?

Our bodies are designed to remove toxins by itself without any assistance. From our kidney to the liver, these organs primary function is to process harmful material and excrete them from the body. Technically speaking, you don’t need to detox yourself since your body is already doing this all the time. Its like trying to sit in an oxygen tank for 30 minutes a day for 5 days with hopes of detoxing your respitory tract so it functions better – after all we are exposed to carbon monoxide and other contaminents daily. Again, our respitory tract is designed to handle normal levels of contaminents, so you don’t have to sit in that oxygen tank to detoxify it.

I am not saying that doing this is bad for you or harmful, but I personally don’t see the value of it in terms of removing toxins, since the body already has this system in place.

Helps you lose weight
Does detoxing help you lose weight? Usually when you go for a detox, you are asked to replace one of your meals with this vegetable / fruit shake. This of course translates to weight loss as there is a noticeable calorie deficit when you replace your normal meal to one that is purely fruits and vegetables. Honestly, this is a great strategy to lose weight as long as you can stomach it. The question then is, for how long? Most people I know do this for a week and then get sick of it and revert to bad habits again. But if you can maintain this for a long period, then yes, go for it.

Some recommend that you only drink the shake for 2 whole days. Meaning all your meals are replaced 100% by just these shakes. You are supposed to drink a shake every 2 or 3 hours to ensure your body receives enough nutrients throughout the day. Not very convenient, but the big question is, does this help you to lose weight?

For me, doing a detox for 2 days is a great way to reboot your digestive system. My wife was having trouble shedding the last few kilos no matter how much she exercised and how much she cut back on, she just couldn’t shed it. So she tried a detox for 2 days where all she did was drink the juices. We did it over the weekend and not a working day. She couldn’t stick to the juices 100% all the way without eating, but when she felt really hungry, she just had a slice of bread or something very light. But as far as possible, she tried to refrain from eating.

The results? After the 2 days of detoxing, once she went back to her normal diet, the kilos just melted off. She lost 1 kilo within the first 3 days of returning to her normal diet, another 1 kilo dropped off 7 days later. As you know, if you were to do the same exercise again and again, eventually your body would adapt and you wouldn’t see results anymore and you would have to shock your body by doing different exercises. Similarly, our body adapts to our eating habits and the best way to shock it is to go through a short detox session. This is especially helpful when you have come down to that last 2 or 3 stubborn kilos that just won’t disappear. A detox helps to shake things up and gets your body moving again.

Keeps you free from illness
Now the believe here is that since the detox cleanses your system, less toxins means you are healthier, which also translates to you not falling sick as often. Reality check amigos. Disease is caused by viruses and bacteria. Granted that the fruits and vegetables in the detox shake are high in vitamins and minerals, but if you already have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you will be benefitting from this. So you don’t have to detox yourself this way. If your diet is poor in fruits and vegetables, then making a shake like this every other day (everyday would be better) will be beneficial to replenish your supplies.

So what’s the final verdict on detox? To me personally, I don’t think its bad for you but a lot of the benefits that they advertise, is not exactly right. I would recommend just typing in “detox recipes” in Google Search and you will get a whole host of recipes which you can do right at home for a fraction of the price. It does help you lose weight (when you do it properly), but I am afraid the other benefits are just not true. So what are your thoughts on detox? As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.


KevL said...

So it is true when people say you would hit a 'plateau' when it comes to nutrition eg. stopped growing, stopped losing fat; just like exercise.

In regards to weight loss, it should be noted that weight loss can come in several forms: losing water weight, losing bodyfat weight or losing muscle weight. Most detox products tend to shed off water weight in a few kgs over a span of 3-4days, and people would regain that weight in a matter of days as well. I doubt that most of the detox shakes have any protein (it only makes sense because protein is acidic?) in it, and that the recommended diet during the detox period would be from fruit sources, mostly.

Hence, this would also lead to muscle weight loss, though the amount of mass lost wouldn't be huge, in the case of your wife I presume; I went through a period where I had only 2-3 meals a day, little sleep and only 3-4 exercise sessions over a span of 4 months. It took 2 weeks to notice that my muscles have lost their 'hardness' and 2 months or more to notice that I have shrunk significantly.

Rajan said...

KevL: I have the same problem when it comes to weight loss... end up losing muscle mass as well... thats why i like zig zagging.

Alan said...

I recently visited your blog. It is a very interesting one. Keep it up.

Rajan said...

Alan: Thanks dude.

anfield devotee said...

Detox aka hangover = time fer bak kut teh!

Rajan said...

AD: I thought best cure for hangover is another beer. kekekeke

BTW, beer usually gives the same diorhea effect of detox... so can be considered a form of detox also lah. :-)

Kasey Brown Fitness said...
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Kasey Brown Fitness said...
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Rajan said...

Kasey: i wanted to post this a long time ago. Glad i finally did.