For some people, the urge to "spring clean" extends to their bodies. They embark on a juice cleanse-a diet composed of fruit and vegetable juice-to jump-start weight loss or to purify their systems. Will a detox diet help you and your family?
Awareness. The term "detox" can be used to describe the elimination of rich, sugary, fatty, empty calorie and/or highly processed foods. By replacing these with whole fruits and vegetables plus whole grains, your family is better off.
Weight loss. We expect quick results. Detox diets can provide rapid weight loss because the regimen is so low in calories.
Extreme. Detox diets tend to be extreme and eliminate food groups that provide important nutrients like protein and calories.
Safety questions. It depends on how extreme the diet is, how long one stays on it, and the health status of the individual. Before going on a detox diet with fewer than 1,200 calories, consult a medical professional.
Typical low-calorie detox diets are not safe for kids. Naturally, expectant mothers also should avoid them.
Rather than drastic detox, consider a switch to cleaner eating.
"Clean eating is a long-term lifestyle of choosing whole foods in their most natural state from all food groups," says Michelle Dudash, RD, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families. "It also means choosing foods from as close to home as possible and eating with the seasons."
Keep the switch simple and safe with these tips:
1. Get ruthless. "Identify snacks made of refined grains and sugars and either toss them, take them to the office, or donate unopened packages," Dudash says.
2. Keep new favorites on hand. Tempt your family with fresh fruit, and stock nuts and raw veggies with hummus for munching.
3. Keep junk out. "Save the `unclean' foods for special occasions, if you must serve them at all."
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.