Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Celebrity Cleanse

Detox and cleanses are all the rage these days.  In our constant craving for the quick fix, many turn to a cleanse or detox for that instant gratification to shed some quick pounds or remove those "harmful toxins" from our body.  I was not surprised to hear that yet another celebrity was promoting their latest detox/cleanse plan.  This time it was Demi Moore via The Huffington Post who was defending her new regime The Clean Program.  I guess her and her husband were on the Master Cleanse for some time but then switched to the Clean Program.  Naturally this article caught my attention and I felt it needed further explanation.

So what's the theory behind cleanses?  Basically they are selling you the idea that our bodies build up toxins from an unhealthy lifestyle.  You start a cleanse by fasting and/or taking a laxative to help you "eliminate" waste.  Depending on the program, you slowly add some food back but continue to restrict most foods while on the program.  The theory is by taking a 21 or 14 day cleanse, we are helping clean out our systems and promoting better health.   This article and this blog post will offer you some good background on detox/cleanses as well as highlight some of the potential dangers.

So after reading the article previously mentioned, I headed over to The Clean Program to see what it this detox/cleanse was all about.  According to the site:
The Clean Program is a 21 day detox program that is specifically designed for the person on the move. Unlike traditional cleanses, you need not stay at home while you detox on the Clean Program. This cleanse is designed for those who want to live their life and still get Clean
The program (which costs $350!) consists of two detox shakes and supplements taken twice a day plus one regular meal (they suggest lunch)  from their "elimination" diet plus more supplements.  I was pleased that they provided some scientific research to support their program.  When I read their articles though I was not surprised they they were simply analysis of other research and not randomized, double-blind placebo controlled studies.  Neither article really showed their program as effective but instead were general articles about the role of detoxes related to chronic diseases.  The Clean Program is just another in a series of very slick marketed products to try to help you be healthy.  That $350 could probably be better spent on a couple months worth of fresh fruits and vegetables.

So what is the bottom line?  A cleanse is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.  You might lose weight from a detox but that will likely be water weight and possibly a loss of muscle mass and more importantly as soon as you are off your detox/cleanse you'll probably just gain all that weight back.  Want to hear the easiest way to keep your system clean?  A diet rich in fiber.  How about eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, less meat, exercise and drink plenty of water?  But what of these pesky toxins in our body?  Well we have organs (the liver and kidneys) in our bodies whose function is to remove toxins from our body. 

With all due respect to Ms. Moore and all future celebrities and sales people trying to promote a detox,  don't believe the hype.  There is no quick fix to good health.  Focus on a healthy lifestyle and live a life of balance, variety and moderation.