Do Detox Diets Work?

detox dietLiving in Los Angeles, it seems like everyone is on a detox diet.

Detox diets come in many forms, but usually involve some concoction of fruit and vegetable juices – sometimes with some added herbs or spices. According to detox enthusiasts and marketers alike, the diet cleanses your body of toxins and chemicals, boosts energy and often results in weight loss.

But do they really work?

First things first, your body already does a great job of filtering most toxins through your liver, kidneys and colon. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s little evidence that detox diets actually detoxify the body. Instead, the benefits of the diet may have more to do with eliminating highly processed foods or added sugar from the menu.

When it comes to weight loss, detox diets are nothing more than a quick fix. For her role in Dreamgirls, Beyonce famously lost 20 pounds using the Lemonade Detox Diet of maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. However, she quickly regained the weight and subsequently warned people to avoid the diet.

Here’s why detox diets are so bad for lasting weight loss.

Detox diets severely restrict calories. Because detox dieters consume fewer calories than they burn, weight is lost – but some of it is hard-earned muscle (especially since detox diets rarely include protein). As with any starvation diet, the body switches into survival mode by slowing down the metabolism. Detox diets are unsustainable, and eventually the diet will end. When regular calorie consumption finally resumes, a slowed metabolism will ensure quick weight gain. Unfortunately, almost all of the weight gained will be fat. You’ll have to rebuild all that lost muscle mass at the gym.

Detox diets lack the fundamentals necessary for sustainable and lasting weight loss. In fact, according to WebMD:

The risks outweigh any benefits, making traditional detox diets both ineffective and potentially dangerous. Detox diets are based on unrealistic fears and dieters’ lack of understanding of how the body works… Potential side effects include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and nausea. Prolonged fasting can lead to more serious health problems.

Instead of wasting time, energy, effort and money on a diet program that doesn’t work, opt for a wiser approach.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Davey,

    Have you heard of The SoCal Cleanse? I recently purchased it, but I don’t want to do anything too wonky if it will throw off my natural body rhythms and make it harder to maintain my weight later in life. I liked it because it requires 5 vegan/gluten free meals each day along with it’s recommended supplements and teas. Anyway, hi and stuff, happy Friday

  2. ” Instead, the benefits of the diet may have more to do with eliminating highly processed foods or added sugar.” – I thought this was the primary reason for doing a detox diet. I’d love to know more on that aspect. Does it work to “flush the McDonalds out” in prep for a healthier eating lifestyle moving forward?

  3. Well, there is something that will work, just drink 3-4l plain cold water each day. Your body knows best, what to do with it, since it is involved in nearly any process within your body. And if it’s cold, it even burns some calories… 🙂 As far as I remember up to 100kcal per 1l.

  4. My wife did the Beyonce version described above before we were married. She was miserable for 2 weeks. Didn’t really help her either. It is nice to get away from process foods but you can do that by cooking for yourself and avoiding fast food. Good post I enjoyed the read.

  5. The natural lemonade diet is not for every person. It was created first and foremost as a cleansing regimen. Weight loss is a bonus for many; however, it should not be the only reason to do the lemon diet.

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