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On Your Table Blog

May 15, 2018

Thinking about a detox?

The pros and cons

Thinking about a detox?

By Elizabeth Meyer

“Swimsuit season is around the corner – I’ll never be a swimsuit model with this body!”

“I need a diet re-set!”

“My wedding is in 6 weeks and I still have a few pounds that won’t come off!”

“I’ve been stressed and binging on junk food!!”

“You should try a DETOX!!! You’ll feel great!! I just finished one!!”

Celebrities are doing it so its fine, right? It’s a quick way to get results and feel better. What could go wrong?

But are they safe? Do they work? Should you try one?

Detox diets can vary from fasting to a strict diet of fruits and vegetables or juicing to lemonade mixed with cayenne pepper and maple syrup to the super extreme coffee enema… espresso anyone?

Let’s go over the pros and cons of a detox diet


  • Not successful long term (because it’s not realistic to follow this long term, not enough calories/lack of nutrients)
  • They can be hard to work into your family lifestyle, let alone your normal daily routine
  • Dehydration, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, uncomfortable gas, decreased energy
  • There is little evidence that toxins are eliminated from your body
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Long term detoxes could lead to muscle breakdown
  • Loss of focus
  • Not effective for long term weight loss
  • Weakened immune system
  • Loss of energy
  • Inadequate protein intake


  • You might incorporate more fruits and veggies in your diet (and even find out you like them)
  • May jump start weight loss
  • Could help identify food sensitivities

Detoxes can be dangerous. But some people say they feel so much better after starting one. Are they feeling better from the detox diet, or feeling better because they’ve eliminated a lot of the foods that aren’t necessarily involved in a healthy diet (fried foods, unhealthy fast food choices, giant portions, candy, cookies, etc.)? Feeling better and more energized might be coming from incorporating better daily choices; more foods we’re supposed to be eating on a regular basis. The detox may have just detoxed unhealthy choices that had become a habit. Sometimes it takes us feeling better to realize we weren’t feeling great in the first place.

The choice to detox is certainly a personal one. As someone who would struggle to follow any diet other than, “All things in moderation” it certainly isn’t for me. Our kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin are working all day every day to get those toxins out, to DETOX us – that’s their job and I’m counting on them. Chips and salsa are a staple in my diet. I don’t want to even think about giving that up.

I encourage people to eat the foods that make us feel good, energetic, happy and healthy. More fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, low fat dairy and whole grains are proven to be the base of a healthy diet. Watching our portions and moderation are a safe way to be healthy, while still working in a treat or two.

Elizabeth Meyer, registered dietician

Editor's note: We are happy to welcome a new featured blogger to OYT. Elizabeth Meyer is a dietician working for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota as a Wellness Education Specialist. She is from Wahpeton and lives in Fargo with her daughter, Harper, who is 11. "We like to stay busy with all sorts of activities -- mostly Harper's -- gymnastics, swimming, the lake  Valley Fair, when we can get there. We're pretty laid back and like to socialize and have fun," Elizabeth says.

Elizabeth's blog will be featured once a month and will address food trends and how they impact health. We hope you enjoy her contributions to On Your Table.