Why a Cleanse Diet Won't Help You Lose Weight

Why a Cleanse Diet Won't Help You Lose Weight

The claims by cleanse diets are quite different than the reality. Here's why you should think twice about cleanse diets.

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The world we live in isn't exactly good for us. Just walking outside in the sunlight too long can cause skin cancer. There are toxins in the foods we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

There's no reason to panic about all the harmful substances in our world. Our bodies are pretty darn good at eliminating toxins from the body.

One great example of natural detoxification is breathing. Yes, your lungs are detoxing your body by expelling carbon dioxide, the gas we produce when we break down food and drink for energy.

Wouldn't it be great to speed up this process? The cleanse diet or detox diet claims to do this while helping you lose weight. Keep reading to find out why their claims aren't true.

What Are the Claims About Cleanse Diets? 

True detoxification is the cleansing of the blood. Your body does this naturally in several parts of your body. Your liver is the biggest actor in the process. It takes the main load when it comes to metabolites.

This means your liver eliminates or metabolizes fats, medical chemicals, alcohol, and other things from your bloodstream. This is how alcoholics destroy their liver.

The logic of a cleanse diet goes like this: If I stop putting most anything in my body and only put water or juice into my body, my liver will get rid of *all* toxins and bad fats in my body.

Cleanse diet defenders apply this claim to every part of the body that eliminates toxins. What are the purported benefits of detox?

  1. Rests the organs
  2. Stimulates the liver to "drive toxins from the body
  3. Promotes the elimination of toxins through the liver, intestines, kidneys, and skin
  4. Improves blood circulation
  5. Refuels the body with healthy nutrients
  6. Eliminates bad fats

Detox diets claim to do these incredible things through several methods. Juice fasting is one of the more popular forms of detox diets. Fasting or just restricting your diet to a particular food group is also popular.

Some sell colon cleanses that "clean out" your colon with enemas, laxatives, or colon hydrotherapy (you really don't want to know…). Often these diets are a combination package of some sort. Take a vitamin, juice every day, and avoid certain foods.

Sometimes these diets are marketed as weight loss programs. Some go as far as to claim disease correction.

The good news is that there is a tectonic shift in the entire dieting industry away from "dieting" in general, with a new focus on "wellness" instead. That's why Weight Watchers changed their name and image to "WW," and why wellness apps based on behavioral modification like Noom are all the rage with Millennials.

Anyway, let's get back to why you should think twice before trying to lose weight with a cleanse.

What Actually Happens to Your Body on a Cleanse Diet?

While yes, it's good to lessen the number of toxins in your system (your liver can only regenerate so fast from alcohol intoxication), eliminating all foods except juice or tea won't do much to the toxins already in your system. In fact, too much cleanse dieting could be harmful to your system.

You store water in your muscles. Glycogen helps it stay there and also provides energy to your muscles and organs. When you quit eating entirely, your body uses up the glycogen and your muscles become dehydrated.

You lose weight when you become dehydrated. So, yes, you do lose weight when you do a detox or cleanse. You'll quickly gain that weight back when you start eating again.

Water weight loss is not the same as fat weight loss!

When You Lose Nutrients, You Become Weaker

Your body also uses up good fats, expels fiber, and uses up all your nutrients. If you do go on a juice cleanse, avoid exercise. You will quickly become fatigued and unable to function in life due to lack of calories and nutrients.

The longer you fast, the more your body begins to go into starvation mode. Instead of eliminating fat, it begins to break down muscle. You're weakening your body when you fast for too long or lose weight too fast.

Cleanse Diets: You Lose Fiber

By not eating the actual fruit and just drinking its juice, you lose out on all that fiber. Your gut relies on fiber to keep your bowels healthy and to keep waste moving through.

By going on a cleanse, you're doubling the impact on your gut. Not only will a lack of fiber slow things down, but the dehydration from a lack of glycogen will eventually cause constipation. Fast for long enough and your gut might shut down entirely (you'd have to do this for quite a while for that to happen).

So, a cleanse doesn't actually remove toxins from your blood and actually hampers your body's natural response to them!

Cleanse Diet Alternative?

Getting your health on track and losing fat off your body is a great goal. While a juice cleanse may not help you get there, other methods exist that don't harm your body.

The thing is, something you only do for seven days isn't going to permanently change your health or your habits. Seeing your weight drop significantly does feel good and you're more likely to continue on a healthy diet if you see results within the first thirty days.

Legitimate and successful diet programs are less about quick fixes and more about long-term change. These tend to be "food resets" rather than complete food elimination programs.

Healthy weight loss is about limiting calories in, increasing calories out, and maintaining healthy eating habits throughout. A cleanse won't get you there.

Instead of buying into cleanse hype for weight loss, try a proven weight loss program. Do a full reboot of your diet.

If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...

Most of the time, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is particularly true in the dieting world.

Even the most effective dieting plans require a lifestyle change. They just make those changes easier than if you attempted them on your own.

Choose a diet plan and consider the big picture. You'll want to incorporate diet with exercise and possibly a few other lifestyle changes.

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How To Get The Most Out Of Studying Abroad

Tourist traps are traps for a reason

Mo Havey
Mo Havey
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Recently, I went on a short, university lead, study away trip to Austria. I went with a close friend of mine, and if it weren't for him joining me on this trip, I believe I wouldn't have had as much fun as I did.

Although our professors found us some great tours and museums to explore and listen to, it sucks sticking out as much as you do when you're in a plainly obvious tourist group.

Some of my fondest memories from this trip are from the times where we could do what we wanted--with telling our supervisors where we were headed off course. Here are some tips on getting the most out of a short-term study away trip.

1. Break Away From Your Group

It felt like the majority of our group was scared to break away from our professors leading the group, and seldom joined us on our nighttime excursions.

Yes, you're in a country that you've never been to before and you don't speak the language, but if all you do is stick with your gigantic tour groups and head back to the hotel and go to bed at 10 pm, you're not going to experience the culture--you're only going to see and watch instead of feeling and doing.

It's the 21st century, you probably have a smart phone with a maps app, and you probably have your professor's contact in case you do get lost or in trouble.

If there is something you want to do, speak up and say it, someone will almost always want to join. You have to break away from your group and do activities or else all you're going to do is take pictures and say you saw the Belvedere Palace.

2. Eat Out of Your Comfort Zone

Yes, the food is different than what you're used to. Try it. The cuisine is a big part of any culture, and if all you eat is the equivalent to a chicken patty the entire time you're there, you're missing out.

Some of the best food I've ever had came from butchering a name on the menu, not knowing what I ordered. You might never get the chance to eat it again, so go for it. If you hate it, then that's all apart of the experience.

3. Find Your Typical Activities Abroad

Something my friend and I wanted to do off the bat was to find an Austrian hookah lounge. We knew it'd be an easy way to immerse ourselves in with the locals without putting us in an uncomfortable position. It was something we were familiar with, but oh so different.

If you frequent sports bars, find one abroad; if you go to the farmer's market on the weekend, find the local one; if you're a crafty person, find a craft store and buy craft supplies you wouldn't be able to find back home.

For me, I stopped feeling uncomfortable and alienated once I stumbled across a gay pride festival; I finally started to feel not as a tourist, but as a visitor. Being in a familiar situation will ease you into the culture without giving too much of a culture shock.

Mo Havey
Mo Havey

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5 Ways to Fight Fall Allergies Naturally

Sneezing in October? Here are some easy natural ways to fight allergies the natural way with no pills or medicines!

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Spring is typically considered the season for allergies. However, fall, due to the high amount of vegetation and increase in humidity from rain, brings with it its own set of allergens, such as pollen, ragweed, dust mites, and outdoor mold spores. If you find yourself constantly sneezing, coughing and having a stuffy nose this time of year, try some natural remedies instead of heading to the pharmacy to pick up antihistamines.

Here are 5 of the most useful natural ways to fight allergies:

1. Minimizing exposure

Ever sleep with the window open and wake up with a sore throat? It might sound obvious, but avoiding exposure to triggers is the best way to avoid allergic reactions. Keep your windows closed to stop pollen and mold spores from coming inside.

Wash your clothes, shower and wash your hair if you've spent a lot of time outdoors where you could have picked up pollen. Finally, air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters will remove any allergens such as pollen, mold, and dust that have made it into your house.

*Tip: If you do buy the top-rated HEPA filters, they'll stop most of the allergens but might slow down your A/C flow in the Summer!

2. Anti-inflammatory diet

Allergies are inflammatory reactions to which certain people are more predisposed to than others. Eating a diet rich in foods that are anti-inflammatory can counteract this tendency. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and flax, have been shown to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks in people with allergies. Other anti-inflammatory foods include green tea, curcumin, dark chocolate, and most fruit and vegetables.

3. Probiotics

Allergies can be a strong sign that your immune system is out of balance. A good way to fix that is to eat fermented foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.

Probiotics have been shown to have a number of health benefits including the ability to reduce the impact of seasonal allergies. Rich in friendly bacteria, these foods will help diversify your gut flora, which in turn will help balance your immune system and reduce the risk of allergic reactions.

4. Exercise

It might not sound fun to exercise if you have allergies, but moderate to intense exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory effects, reducing the risk of allergies and asthma attacks. Plus, regular exercise provides a host of other physical and mental health benefits including Vitamin D exposure.

If exercising outdoors increases exposure to allergens such as pollen and mold spores, it might be better to work out at home or in a gym until symptoms are reduced. *There's a surprising amount of pollen in areas you might not expect it, like in the city or even at the beach!

5. Local Honey

Immunotherapy is the process of exposing someone to a small amount of allergen, with the purpose of reducing their sensitivity to it and preventing future allergic reactions.

Eating large amounts of local raw honey, which contains diverse types of pollen, has been shown to help desensitize people with hay fever. It is crucial that the honey you eat was produced in the area where you live, and that it is raw. Pasteurized supermarket honey will not work, and forget that cheap stuff that's been boiled or imported from China!

Fighting Allergies Without Pills

If you like to spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall biking, walking, or apple-picking, allergies to pollen and mold spores can ruin your fun. Minimizing exposure to these allergens when indoors can help. Also, simple life changes such as exercising more, eating a diet that is high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, and consuming probiotics, can reduce your chances of having allergic reactions.

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