Cure those Christmas excesses: is detox the answer?

New year’s resolutions are always hard to keep, aren’t they? Detox diets are one of the many ways people try to lose weight, after a busy Christmas ‘eating’ season. There are many different detox diets available, each one promising to make you look and feel younger, better, or fitter. These diets can involve a period of fasting for 7-10 days and the avoidance of one or more of the food groups, such as dairy, wheat, or alcohol. Most detox diets are usually very strict and difficult to stick with.

Although detox diets are popular, they are not scientifically proven to benefit you in the long term. A ‘quick fix’ detox diet may sound appealing, but unfortunately, there is no magic pill, potion, or diet which can help this natural process along. Any instant health benefits you feel are probably down to you drinking more fluids, having less caffeine, or just eating healthier snacks.

If you are trying to lose the post-holiday bulge, consider keeping a food diary for one week. Be honest and write down everything you eat over the seven days. Then you may be able to identify the areas where you could make a difference. Try to make small changes to your diet that you will be able to keep up, for instance, avoid that biscuit with your cup of tea; they all add up and before you know it, you have eaten half the packet.

Exercise actually benefits you in all the ways that a detox promises to do. Being active can increase your energy levels and improve your mood, as well as helping you to lose weight and reduce your blood pressure. So, why not make it your new year’s resolution to get outside and join in an activity that you enjoy? It may be easier to add 30 minutes of exercise each day into your schedule than to change your whole diet dramatically over a short space of time.

If you would like to find out more about achieving a healthy balanced diet without taking on the drastic detox, have a look at www.indi.ie for more detailed information on diet and lifestyle.

By Alicia Gordon, student dietitian. For more information on diet and nutrition, please contact the Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin-Mid Leinster at (044 ) 9353220 or email [email protected]

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