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The good and bad of detox diets

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Detox diets promise to rid your body of toxins, excess calories and even help you shed a little weight.

Some swear by them but others are not convinced.

For 30 days, Wordna Warren Pritchett and Trish Peva turned their diets upside down by eliminating all processed foods, along with most animal products and fats.

Peva said, “No refined sugar, no refined flours.”

Pritchett said, “No oils, no dairy.”

They say it was all part of a detox diet.

Pritchett said, “I wanted to make sure that in addition to eating healthier, I was getting that bad stuff out of my system.”

The pair stumbled upon the “Healthy Eating Challenge” by Ebeth Johnson at Whole Foods Market.

Ebeth Johnson, Whole Foods healthy eating specialist, said, “I want people to understand that detox is something that helps our body all the time but we can help our body along by choosing foods that help facilitate that.”

Johnson encourages participants to start by eliminating refined sugars and flours, dairy, oils and strictly limit their meat intake to about three ounces a week.

She said, “Clearing out the system, giving the body a chance to reset, recalibrate, kind of come back to center.”

Pritchett and Peva say they’re both feeling lighter and more energized.

However, nutrition experts warn that other types of detox diets, especially those that are strictly liquid, can leave you feeling the opposite.

Joy Dubost, registered dietician, said, “There’s no evidence to indicate that it benefits your body in any way and frankly the risks outweigh any benefits.”

Dubost says highly restrictive detox diets could lead to low blood sugar and that can cause headaches, lethargy and trouble concentrating.

She said, “You may even have heart palpitations because you’re affecting the electrolyte balance in your body. Some folks feel just not too happy and irritable because they’re not eating.”

Dubost says the liver and kidneys help detox the body of toxins naturally and there’s not physiological need to do it on your own through dramatic cleansing or liquid diets.

Proponents of the detox diet say for people with poor nutrition who drink too much caffeine and don’t get enough sleep, the detox diet can end up making you feel much better.