Juice cleanses can ruin your body's natural ability to detox, expert says
dietand juice cleanses have existed for centuries despite a lack of scientific evidence.
- A liver
healthdoctor said cleanses can actually make it harder for your body to detox because they contain too much sugar.
- The liver naturally processes food and drink to detox the body.
So, on the latest episode of Dr. Jen Gunter's podcast Body Stuff, the gynecologist and science-debunking aficionado spoke with gut and liver health expert Dr. Kaveh Hoda about the centuries-old origins of the detox, and how doing one can create counterintuitive results.
According to Hoda, juices and teas designed for cleanses can contain ingredients that mess with your body's ability to detox itself and lead to side effects like stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
More sugar than you need and few nutrients
Detox juices typically contain pulverized fruits, vegetables, and water.
Though the ingredients are healthy, sustaining a well-balanced diet with only produce is impossible, Insider previously reported.
"Sounds like most of what they're taking is water and of little nutritional value. And it sounds like probably more sugar than you need, probably not the kind of thing that we would recommend," Hoda, a gastroenterologist who trained in liver transplantation, said.
He added that one popular detox drink made with cayenne pepper, maple syrup, lemon juice, and water "can actually irritate the GI tract," because of its high acidity.
The human body has a built-in detox machine
Detoxes in the form of wellness shots, juices, and teas offer nothing your body can't do on its own, Hoda said.
That's because your liver's entire job is to process food and drinks you consume and remove materials your body can't use or finds harmful, like alcohol.
According to Gunter, the liver has more than 500 functions, many of them to cleanse our insides, which makes the trend of detoxing obsolete.
Once the liver figures out what substances are floating through your body, it filters them and sends unwanted material to your kidneys and intestines. Then you pee and poop out those toxins.
"So it's filtering things, changing things to make it suitable for your body and then finding a place to put it," Hoda told Gunter.
Detoxing is only needed in extreme situations, like for alcohol poisoning
There are some cases where a detox is necessary, according to Hoda.
But those cases, like alcohol poisoning or consuming toxic materials like lead or arsenic, require a medical detox.
To do that, doctors could perform dialysis, or medically flushing the liver, or give a patient medicine that breaks down the toxic metals, according to Hoda.
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