From juice cleanses to bizarre tonics to pre-packaged meals and snacks, everyone seems to be doing a "detox" these days. But what exactly is a detox? And if everyone else is doing it, do you need to be doing one, too? For answers, we consulted an expert on the matter. Here's what Angela Lemond, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, had to say.
Men's Fitness: What is a detox?
Angela Lemond: The important thing to note is that there is not an accepted definition of detox. It does remain vague. In general, a detox alludes to the elimination of toxins in the body, so any way to do that would be a detox.
I come from a clinical background and unless your organs are malfunctioning, your body does a really good job of detoxifying itself. With that being said, I am a really big advocate of whole-food nutrition. The best way to detoxify your body is to put the right foods inside of it so it can do what it’s supposed to do.
Does drinking water with lemon in the morning detox your body, like most people claim?
Starting your morning with lemon in your water is beneficial for other reasons. It’s refreshing, it’s high in vitamin C, and it helps reduce hunger. It’s also one of those things that can encourage people to drink more water.
What if you overdo it on the weekends with the booze and fatty foods?
What you do to your body most of the time is really what counts. The best thing to do after having an excessive weekend is to get back on track and eat right and exercise. It sounds boring, I know. You want something sexy to detoxify your body, you want to believe you’re doing something excessive to suffer back into normality. But the best way to do that is getting back into a good regimen.
Is there any "detox" you would recommend?
If you want to do a really good cleanse and detox, make it a point to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables the next day. You’ll be blasted with nutrients the natural way. Try to get as many colors on your plate as possible and drink plenty of water as well.
Any last words of advice?
Detoxing regimens can be dangerous. Be very careful. Many claim to be "natural," but that does not always mean safe. Do your homework and go to valid sources. Sometimes the "internet doctor" can deceive you.