Is a Detoxification Diet Right For You?

Detoxification diets may help patients avoid illnesses and live longer, happier lives.

| June 2012

  • Pile-of-Produce
    As a physician, I am fascinated by the complexity, subtlety, and diversity of individual health habits—specifically, the combinations of various substances we imbibe and ingest. The spectrum of these substances includes the components of our diet, supplements, drugs, and pollutants. These all are part of our possible choices and have effects on our life and health, both present and future.
  • The-Detox-Diet-Cover
    Toxic chemicals and pollutants in our air, water, and food have made Dr. Elson M. Haas’s “The Detox Diet” a trusted ally in the quest for good health, and the best defense against the many toxins that threaten it.

  • Pile-of-Produce
  • The-Detox-Diet-Cover

Do you overeat? Are you often tired or fatigued without knowing why? Do you consume caffeine and sugar to get through the day? Do you suffer from sinus headaches or chronic nasal congestion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Dr. Elson M. Haas’s The Detox Diet (Ten Speed Press, 2012) can help you regain vitality and start you on a new path to life-long vibrant good health with his safe, effective detoxification diet and cleansing program. The following excerpt is from Chapter 1, “Why Detox?” 

Detox Diets: Hoax or Healing?

I have used the process of detoxification and the information in this book for more than thirty-five years for my personal well-being as well as for many thousands of patients, with even more people benefiting from the process since the publication of the first edition of this book. Of course, there are many other practitioners who guide and observe people through similar processes of elimination diets, detoxification programs, and juice cleansing and have thousands of positive anecdotes. We still do not have much research that backs up what we see. It is challenging to first study the multi-dimensional programs people typically employ and then compare them with placebos or different diets. This research gold standard (double-blind, placebo-controlled study) is much easier when evaluating one substance, like a new medicine.

Really, we are talking here about a complete lifestyle shift, as with diet, exercise activities, and attitudes. Thus, to skeptics, it’s all a bunch of talk. “Prove to me that it works,” states a scientific researcher. I say, “Let me put you on a program and we’ll see how you feel and look. And we can study your blood chemistry, such as your cholesterol level (especially when it’s high), or monitor your blood pressure. Many aspects of your health will get better, with many side benefits.” I know when people make lifestyle and habit changes they often have improved health results.

Still, it’s difficult to study whole programs for improved health. Here, experience and anecdote might be a better gold standard.

The Detoxification Diet Controversy

The broad topic of detoxification diets is filled with controversy, the main arguments against them being that there’s no scientific proof detox diets work, and that they are not needed at all because the liver and kidney do a fine job clearing the body of its toxins. In addition, the opponents of detoxification claim these diets cannot be maintained for long periods of time without doing major harm, that they are a scam to sell useless products and procedures. For doctors who have been trained to treat disease, the whole approach to the nutritional management of disease—actually the prevention or reversal of disease—is a hard pill to swallow because it suggests that conventional Western medical training is both deficient and incomplete. This is why I veered into natural medicine after my own medical training—because I felt my education to date had taught me almost nothing about health and what was needed to keep the body fit. (I feel this is also a deficiency in public school education. Yet, that has been changing over the past decades.)

The concepts and practices of detoxification are an integral part of natural medicine. Detoxification is done by every cell in the body, and almost every organ system helps in the body’s waste removal. The human body continually detoxifies itself, yet when it is stressed or overloaded, the body may not be able to keep up and then may create a symptom or other form of “communication” about the imbalance.

6/22/2012 1:54:07 PM

there should be a comma after 'prudently/reasonably',

6/22/2012 1:52:53 PM

This doctor's sharings here are in agreement with my experience. The body reveals. The body gives response indicators: "The human body continually detoxifies itself, yet when it is stressed or overloaded, the body may not be able to keep up and then may create a symptom or other form of “communication” about the imbalance. In these cases, the body tries to rebalance itself by flooding the connective tissues with acids, which eventually can cause more inflammation and aging. This is one of the basic ways we stress our bodies." Doc, you 'get it'. Bravo. And btw, alcoholic beverages, in moderation as desired, prudently/reasonably are good for health, for most people.

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