I know you’ve seen the meme’s…I mean, the “quarantine-19” weight gain is a real thing. Bored? We eat. Stressed out? We eat…and drink…we move our bodies less, we gain weight. Sigh. It’s been hard, for shizzy.
So now what? How do we get back on track, make healthier decisions and lose this 2020 fluff? I’m sure you’ve heard of juice cleanses, sugar cleanses, and detox diets. And if you’ve ever tried to get back on track after a little too much mac and cheese, beat the bloat after a weekend of bingeing, or break a weight-loss plateau, someone has probably suggested doing a cleanse or detox to get things going again.
Cleansing and detoxing get a ton of hype — do a Google search for “detox” or “cleanse” and you’ll get millions of results.
Turns out you can pretty much cleanse or detox almost every aspect of your life, not just your body!
You could use them end toxic relationships, block toxic trolls on social media, or do a “digital detox” to break your screen habit. A noble idea, that last one, but good luck prying my smartphone out of my Pinterest-addicted hands😜.
Anyway, when it comes to cleanses and detoxes, the amount of info out there is overwhelming.
But doing a cleanse or detox diet is more than just unfriending or unplugging your iPad. It can affect your health and nutrition, so it’s important to dig deeper to figure out the truth behind the hype.
There are key differences between a cleanse and a detox diet, but people tend to use the two terms interchangeably, which makes things even more confusing.
So what’s the difference between a cleanse and a detox?
Read on to find out…
When people talk about body cleanses or detox diets, they talk about the dangers of “toxins” a lot, but usually in a very non-specific way: “Toxins are all around us! Your body is filled with toxins that need to be flushed out!”
But what exactly are these “toxins”?
Toxins are potentially harmful substances we come into contact with every day — pesticides on your produce, pollutants in the air, unpronounceable ingredients in processed food, or heavy metals like mercury and arsenic in the soil, to name just a few.
You’ve probably also heard that foods like gluten, dairy, and refined sugar are “toxic” — but unless you have an allergy or intolerance, you don’t have to swear off bread forever.
While anything can be toxic if you consume too much of it, the occasional handful of cookies won’t turn you into a biohazard.
But in our modern world, many of us are constantly bombarded by toxins in the air, in food, in our cleaning products, everywhere — and those toxins can add up.
These programs don’t just eliminate junk from your diet — they also focus on fueling your body with nutrient-rich foods that support your natural detoxification processes.
“Fluids, fiber, and phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables can go a long way in terms of supporting your wellness and your body’s natural systems,” Faye says.
By stripping your diet down to the essentials, you’re giving your liver and kidneys a chance to do their job more efficiently.
While you’ll probably shed a few pounds in the process, the real goal of the cleanses is to reshape the way you think about nutrition.
The 3-Day Refresh is a 3-day cleanse that could be a good way to jumpstart a healthy eating plan or help your body recover from a not-so-virtuous weekend.
Ultimate Reset is a longer, more intensive program that can help transform your diet in the long run.
(Not sure which cleanse to do? Take this quiz to see which cleanse is right for you.)
And while you will have to make some food sacrifices, believe it or not, you won’t have to give up flavor or variety.
To make it easy, we created several Beachbody Cleanse meal plans for you, complete with shopping lists!
Detox diets (or detox cleanses) also eliminate unhealthy grub from your diet, but they often require a super-restrictive diet consisting of a small number of foods that claim to have “detoxifying properties.”
We can get behind eating healthy foods that help your body detoxify itself, but some of the detox diets out there sound like straight-up torture — do you really want to drink lemonade laced with cayenne pepper for 10 days straight or eat cabbage soup at every meal?
The thing is, those foods won’t actually flush your system.
“‘Detox diet’ is kind of a misnomer, because food is not going to detox you,” Faye says. In other words, it’s still your liver and kidneys doing the cleaning — not the food itself.
And if a diet is too restrictive, your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to carry out its natural processes.
One way of looking at the difference between a cleanse and a detox is that detox diets usually focus on “out with the old” in the short term.
But cleanse programs also address the “in with the new” aspect.
Good cleanses can help you form new eating habits that support your body and help you stay healthy (and non-toxic!) for the long haul.
Bottom line, DON’T just accept the latest buzzy trends at face value — the devil is in the details: Do your homework, find out what the hype is all about, and make sure it’s serving your goals of living a healthier life.
(Pro Tip: It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before you make any significant dietary changes, especially if you’re on any medications or have an ongoing medical condition.)