Smoothies and detox diets are all the rage, but they're just a mirage. Not only do they not lose weight but they can be a health hazard if the diet is followed uncontrollably.
In the middle of Christmas time, there are many who are already thinking about how to " detoxify " from so much excess between family meals and dinners, without forgetting excess alcohol of course. Although in its day we already warned about these excesses, and we try to give some advice so as not to end up succumbing to them, it is more than likely that many of you have not been able to resist so much temptation.
However, "detoxing" after the holiday excesses is not an option. Not at Christmas, not at Easter or at any similar time. I am talking about the famous “detox diets”, and specifically about the green smoothies based on fruits and vegetables that have championed this type of diet for years after the festive excesses; detox preparations, a danger that not only does not make us lose weight (it is all an illusion that does not last in time), but what loses weight faster is our portfolio due to its outrageous prices, and can entail a series of health risks that we should take into account.
Detox shakes make you lose weight, but it's a short-lived hoax
In the same way that the famous intermittent fasting (and its multiple subtypes) have been shown to help lose weight and improve metabolism in general, it is true that detox shakes cause relatively rapid weight loss. However, in the case of the aforementioned fast, it is a very controlled form of eating that is alternated with a healthy diet over time. In fact, intermittent fasting without relying on a healthy diet is not only useless, but it would lead to an almost immediate gain in lost weight as days go by. Fasting one or two days a week and then gorging on processed foods is pointless.
This is precisely what happens with detox shakes.
Let's put ourselves in a situation: Christmas is over, we have gained a few extra unscheduled pounds, and we would like to return to our previous weight as quickly as possible. And, suddenly, someone appears (friend / acquaintance / Internet ad) who advises us to try detox shakes, a mixture of vegetables with the occasional exotic ingredient that makes it more striking, with exorbitant prices of course.
Obviously, if we spend one or several days consuming only vegetable smoothies without any other food, we lose weight. But we do not lose the weight we are looking for (fat), but we lose a lot of liquid and urinate more than normal (we are ingesting a lot of liquid, and many of the typical vegetables in these shakes have a diuretic effect), and we also lose mass muscle, since detox shakes do not contain the adequate minimum level of protein that the human body needs in its day to day.
To this must be added the supposed potential of these detox shakes as "detoxifiers”, coming to boast of potential power in the detoxifying function of the liver, the organ that together with the kidneys does have functions of processing and eliminating toxins. The human body is wise, and it does not require detox shakes to function better.
What you get with detox shakes is a terribly hypocaloric diet (that's why you lose weight), but not balanced at all. While it is true that the fruits and vegetables in these shakes have a multitude of nutrients, they also leave many others out of the equation, leading to a lack of nutrients such as group B vitamins, which are found especially in legumes, whole grains, meat, dairy, nuts and eggs; Vitamin B12 stands out above all, which needs to be supplemented even in a varied vegan diet because it is only found in meat products and seafood, and in much less quantity in certain cereals.
Finally, what happens is that weight loss is an ephemeral deception: urinating more neither detoxifies nor makes you lose fatter and, after a diet so low in calories, it is very common to end up suffering episodes of excess food intake after finishing the "detox diet", in most cases based on pastries and sweets, high calorie density and highly processed foods that will only help to regain lost weight almost immediately.
The dangers of detox diets
As if that were not enough to know that detox shakes are expensive and useless both in the short and long term, some recent reports also point to some dangers triggered by the increase in the consumption of this type of vegetable shakes in recent years.
The most recent report comes from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), published in September 2016. This report examined up to 18 potential risks derived from the use of food that takes place in Europe, including which highlights one in particular that points to detox shakes or "green smoothies" as the EFSA calls them: excess oxalic acid. This substance, in excess, has been shown to be responsible for the production of stones or "stones" both at the level of the kidneys and in the gallbladder of the liver; Likewise, its excess also delays the correct absorption of calcium by the human body. Therefore, an excess of oxalic acid increases the risk of kidney and gallstones and the risk of bone demineralization.
In fact, according to another EFSA report from July 2016, just 250 ml of a detox shake (the equivalent of a typical glass of water) already exceeds the recommended limits for oxalic acid. So, imagine what it means to spend the day with these shakes.
On the other hand, it also highlights the fact that detox shakes are usually consumed in the form of raw vegetables, something that greatly increases this oxalic acid (cooking vegetables can reduce this acid from 30% to almost 90%). That in turn implies possible risks of microbial contamination from the consumption of these vegetables if they have not been cleaned properly, since we no longer have the protection of the cooking temperature.
Conclusion: Avoid detox diets
In conclusion, detox diets do make you lose weight, a weight that we will probably regain and even increase in a short time, and they also associate a series of health risks that no one had warned us about.
Ideally, if we have not known how to prevent Christmas weight gain, it is to return to a balanced and healthy diet; Even without going on a hypocaloric diet, our body will gradually adapt to daily life again and gradually the weight gained will decrease (always combining physical activity, of course).
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