2007. december 17., hétfő

Detox diet [method]

A detox diet is a dietary regimen involving a change in consumption habits in an attempt to "detoxify" the body by removal of "toxins" or other contaminants. Proponents claim it improves health, energy, resistance to disease, mental state, digestion, as well as aiding in weight loss. Scientists, dietitians, and doctors, however, regard 'detox diets' as less effective than drinking a glass of water, and view 'detox diets' as generally harmless but a waste of money.

"Detox" diets usually suggest that fruits and vegetables compose a majority of one's food intake. Limiting this to unprocessed (and sometimes also non-GM) foods is often advocated. Limiting or eliminating alcohol is also a major factor, and drinking more water is similarly recommended.

Detox diets

An incomplete list of methods to modify the diet for the purpose of detoxification includes:

  • Eliminating foods that are hard on metabolism, such as caffeine, alcohol, processed food (incl. any bread), pre-made or canned food, salt, sugar, wheat, red meat, pork, fried and deep fried food, yellow cheese, cream, butter and margarine, shortening, etc., while focusing on pure foods such as raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains (excl. white rice), legumes, raw nuts and seeds, fish, vegetable oils, herbs and herbal teas, water, etc.
  • Raw foodism
  • Fasting, including water fasting and juice fasting.
  • Increased consumption of fish such as salmon
  • Food combining.
  • Calorie restriction.
  • Herbal detox.
  • Master Cleanse also known as the lemonade diet, terms coined to refer to the fasting paradigm penned by Stanley Burroughs
  • Natural hygiene holds that the true cause of disease is toxemia, or poisoning, in the blood. Natural Hygiene claims that these toxins are a normal product of metabolism or living.

Some proponents of detox diets would emphasize it as a lifestyle, rather than a diet. It has made some appearances in the media, such as in Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary film Super-Size Me. Literary references include "Ultimate Lifetime Diet" by Gary Null advocating veganism as a (lifestyle) method of detoxification.


Professor Alan Boobis OBE, Toxicologist, Division of Medicine, Imperial College London states that "The body’s own detoxification systems are remarkably sophisticated and versatile. They have to be, as the natural environment that we evolved in is hostile. It is remarkable that people are prepared to risk seriously disrupting these systems with unproven ‘detox’ diets, which could well do more harm than good."

There is also criticism that detox diets in general are unhealthy due to the possibility of a greater amount of natural toxic chemicals in fruits and vegetables than in animal products. It is argued by advocates of this perspective that the liver has evolved to do its job without assistance from such diets. However, this argument does not take into account the main focus of most detox diets, which is the sheer excess of difficult to metabolize foods that is consumed in the present day. Thus, this argument does not consider the resulting larger quantity of toxic metabolic by-products that the liver and other body systems must process.

The potentially high mercury content in some fish is cited to argue against increased fish consumption. If one is considering eating more fish, it is therefore important to choose fish that have low mercury levels.

Sudden changes in diet have been linked to fainting and other medical issues. It is therefore of utmost importance to gradually introduce the dietary changes, especially if they are extreme compared to the present diet. Fasting should never be undertaken without a proper understanding of its proceedures, and long-term changes to the diet should always include a balance of the nutrients needed for the sustenance of the human body - carbohydrates, protein, unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals and water. The same is adviseable for any diet, cleansing or otherwise, in order to maintain optimal health.

Highly restrictive detox diets such as Water fasting or the Master Cleanse are not the safest form of weight loss. These diets, if done improperly or for too long, may result in nutrient deficiencies. Of particular concern is lack of protein, which may result in wasting of muscle tissue due to insufficient amino acids for repair. With less lean muscle tissue, the body's metabolic needs decrease, which hampers weight loss efforts unless calories are lessened further in the diet.

While many people have provided testimonials to their health improvements in following a "detox" diet lifestyle, some of these people may have started the detox diet after coming off an unhealthy diet high in sugar and processed food that may lack nutrients. Any improvements cited from such people would only prove the effectiveness of a detox diet over an average diet, and not that it is the ideal diet that doesn't carry its own unique health risks. It is therefore necessary to investigate whether or not the diets advocated provide sufficient nutritional value for optimal physical functioning.

Some of the changes recommended in certain "detox" lifestyles are ones that agree with mainstream medical advice, such as consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Separating the beneficial effects of such changes from the rest of the recommendations made in a "detoxifying" diet is difficult. Determining whether supposed results of a "detox" diet come from "purfying" the body of "toxins" or simply due to improving one's intake of fruits and vegetables is not possible.

Mediterranean diet [method]

The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional model inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of some of the countries of the Mediterranean Basin articularly Greece and Southern Italy.

Common to the traditional diets of these regions are a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, bread, wheat and other cereals, olive oil, fish, and red wine. The diet is often cited as beneficial for being low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber.

Although it was first publicized in 1945 by the American doctor Ancel Keys stationed in Salerno, Italy, the Mediterranean diet failed to gain widespread recognition until the 1990s. It is based on what from the point of view of mainstream nutrition is considered a paradox: that although the people living in Mediterranean countries tend to consume relatively high amounts of fat, they have far lower rates of cardiovascular disease than in countries like the United States, where similar levels of fat consumption are found.

One of the main explanations is thought to be the large amount of olive oil used in the Mediterranean diet. Unlike the high amount of animal fats typical to the American diet, olive oil lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. It is also known to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Research indicates olive oil prevents peptic ulcers and is effective in treatment of peptic ulcer disease, and may be a factor in preventing cancer. In addition, the consumption of red wine is considered a possible factor, as it contains flavonoids with powerful antioxidant properties.

Dietary factors may be only part of the reason for the health benefits enjoyed by these cultures. Genetics, lifestyle (notably heavy physical labor), and environment may also be involved.

Concerns remain whether the diet provides adequate amounts of all nutrients, particularly calcium and iron. Nonetheless, green vegetables, a good source of calcium and iron, are used in the Mediterranean diet as well as goat cheese, a good source of calcium.

South Beach diet #2 [method]

Phase II

After two weeks, Phase II begins. Whole grain foods, fruits and dairy products are gradually returned to the diet, although in smaller amounts than were likely eaten before beginning the diet, and with a continued emphasis on foods with a low glycemic index. Sweet potatoes are also permissible. Red wine is also allowed in the beginning of the diet.

Phase III

After the desired weight is obtained, the diet calls to move into Phase III, a maintenance phase. In Phase III the diet expands to include three servings of whole grains and three servings of fruit a day.

The diet distinguishes between good and bad carbohydrates, and good and bad fats.

  • "Good carbs" are high in fiber or high in good fats, and have a low glycemic index, that is, they are digested and absorbed slowly. Other preferred carbohydrates are those with more nutritional value than the alternatives. For instance, brown rice is allowed in moderation, but white rice is discouraged. When eating any carbohydrates, Dr. Agatston recommends also eating fiber or fat to slow digestion of the carbohydrates.
  • "Good fats" are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated and trans fats are bad fats.

The diet emphasizes (1) a permanent change in one's way of eating, (2) a variety of foods, and (3) ease and flexibility. Eating whole grains and large amounts of vegetables is encouraged, along with adequate amounts of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, including o,ega-3 fatty acids, such as are contained in fish. It discourages the eating of overly refined processed foods (particularly refined flours and sugars), high-fat meats, and saturated fats in general.

The diet does not require counting calories or limiting servings; Agatston suggests dieters eat until they are satisfied. Dieters are told to eat 6 meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with small snacks between each meal. This is different from The Zone diet in that The Zone recommends (1) a proper ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, (2) "good" carbohydrates, proteins, and fats over "bad" ones, and (3) eating portion sizes that are right for your body

South Beach diet #1 [method]

The South Beach diet is a diet plan started by Miami, Florida area cardiologist Arthur Agatston which emphasizes the consumption of "good carbs" and "good fats". Dr. Agatston developed this diet for his cardiac patients based upon his study of scientific dieting research. The diet first appeared in a book of the same name published by Rodale Press. The official website of the diet can be found at South Beach Diet Online.

Dr. Agatston believes that excess consumption of so-called "bad carbohydrates", such as the rapidly-absorbed carbohydrates found in foods with a high glycemic index, creates an insulin resistance syndrome—an impairment of the hormone insulin's ability to properly process fat or sugar. In addition, he believes along with many physicians that excess consumption of "bad fats", such as saturated fat and trans fat, contributes to an increase in cardiovascular disease. To prevent these two conditions, Agatston's diet minimizes consumption of bad fats and bad carbs and encourages increased consumption of good fats and good carbs.

The diet has three phases. In all phases of the diet, Dr. Agatston recommends minimizing consumption of bad fats.

Phase I

The diet begins with Phase I, which lasts two weeks. Dieters attempt to eliminate insulin resistance by avoiding high or moderately high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as dairy, sugar, candy, bread, potatoes, fruit, cereals, and grains. During this phase, Dr. Agatston claims the body will lose its insulin resistance, and begin to use excess body fat, causing many dieters to lose between 8 and 13 pounds. For the first two weeks, dieters eat normal-size helpings of meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, cheese, and nuts. This phase includes three meals a day, plus snacks, encouraging the dieter to eat until their hunger is satisfied. No alcohol is allowed (though red wine will be introduced later in small amounts). The dieter loses weight, changes body chemistry, and ends cravings for sugars and starches.

Phase I: Authorized foods

  • Beef: Lean cuts, such as sirloin (including ground), tenderloin, top round
  • Poultry (skinless): Cornish hen, turkey bacon (two slices per day), turkey and chicken breast
  • Seafood: All types of fish and shellfish (Shrimp,clams,oysters)
  • Pork: Broiled ham, Canadian Bacon, Tenderloin
  • Veal: Chop, cutlet, leg; top round
  • Lunchmeat: Fat-free or low-fat only
  • Cheese (fat-free or low fat): American, cheddar, cottage cheese (1–2% or fat-free), cream cheese substitute (dairy free), feta, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, ricotta, string
  • Nuts: Almonds (15), peanut butter (1 tsp), peanuts (20 small), pecan halves (15), pistachios (30)
  • Dairy: Milk (lowfat or nonfat), Yogurt (lowfat or nonfat PLAIN), unsweetened or sucralose sweetened soy milk.
  • Eggs: The use of eggs is not restricted unless otherwise noted by your physician. Use egg whites and egg substitute as desired
  • Tofu: Use soft, low-fat or lite varieties
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beans (black, butter, chickpeas, green, Italian, kidney, lentils, lima, pigeon, soy, split peas, wax), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce (all varieties), mushrooms (all varieties), snow peas, spinach, sprouts (alfalfa), turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini
  • Fats: Canola oil, olive oil
  • Spices and seasonings: All spices that contain no added sugar, broth, extracts (almond, vanilla, or others), horseradish sauce, I can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray, pepper (black, cayenne, red, white)
  • Sweet treats (limit to 75 calories per day): Candies (hard, sugar-free), chocolate powder (no-sugar-added), cocoa powder (baking type), sugar-free fudgsicles, sugar-free gelatin, sugar-free gum, sugar-free popsicles, sugar substitute.

Phase I: No-No foods

  • Beef: Brisket, Liver, other fatty cuts
  • Poultry: Chicken wings and legs, duck, goose, poultry products (processed)
  • Pork: honey-baked ham
  • Veal: breast
  • Cheese: Brie, edam, non-reduced fat
  • Vegetables: beets, carrots, corn, potatoes (white),Potatoes, sweet
  • Yams
  • Fruit: Avoid all fruits and fruit juices in Phase 1 including: Apples, apricots, berries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, peaches, pears
  • Starches and Carbs: avoid all starchy foods in Phase 1 including: bread (all types), cereal, matzo, oatmeal, rice (all types), pasta (all types), pastry and baked goods (all types)
  • Dairy: Avoid all dairy in Phase 1, including: yogurt (cup-style and frozen), ice cream, milk (low-fat, fat-free, whole), milk (soy)
  • Alcohol of any kind, including beer and wine

Zone-diet [method]

'The Zone'

The diet centers on a "40:30:30" ratio of calories obtained daily from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, respectively. The exact formula is always under debate, but studies over the past several years (including a non-scientific study by the PBS documentary show Scientific American Frontiers) have shown that it can produce weight loss at reasonable rates. The Scientific American Frontiers study compared the effectiveness of several popular 'diet' regimes including the Zone; somewhat to the surprise of the show's staff, the participants on the Zone experienced the greatest fat loss while simultaneously gaining muscle mass. Participants also reported the Zone as the easiest regime to adjust to, i.e. having the fewest adverse affects such as fatigue or hunger. Most people who report fatigue find that the fatigue diminishes by day 2 or 3.

"The Zone" is Sears' term for proper hormone balance. When insulin levels are neither too high nor too low, and glucagon levels are not too high, then specific anti-inflammatory chemicals (types of eicosanoids) are released, which have similar effects to aspirin, but without downsides such as gastric bleeding. Sears claims that a 30:40 ratio of protein to carbohydrates triggers this effect, and this is called 'The Zone.' Sears claims that these natural anti-inflammatories are heart and health friendly.

Additionally, the human body in caloric balance is more efficient and does not have to store excess calories as fat. The human body cannot store fat and burn fat at the same time, and Sears believes it takes time (significant time if insulin levels were high because of unbalanced eating) to switch from the former to the latter. Using stored fat for energy causes weight loss.

Another key feature of the Zone diet, introduced in his later books, is an intake of the proper ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids. Dr. Sears is believed to have popularized the taking of pharmaceutical grade Omega 3 fish oils.