Detox Diets

May 18, 2009 9:31:55 AM PDT
They've been a popular diet plan among Hollywood celebrities for years. Now a growing number of people are trying cleansing and detox diets to lose weight fast. But are they safe?Eric Mikolai says he's full of energy. He lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. So how did he do it? He went on the Master Cleanse. It's the same detox diet Beyonce used to lose weight for her role in Dream Girls.

Eric Mikolai said, "I just had gotten in a rut with eating, with poor eating habits and I felt that this was a really good way to get started over again to get a fresh start."

That fresh start meant for 14 days, Eric only drank a mixture of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. At night, he drank a laxative tea ... Followed by a salt water flush.

The Master Cleanse is one of the most extreme detox diets. Another moderately extreme and popular program is the Blue Print Diet ... It has three levels but all include a 10-day all liquid diet consisting of different juice tonics and cashew-nut milk. But is the pain worth the gain... Or loss in this case.

Registered Dietitian Emily Rubin says you don't need a special diet to get rid of toxins. "Our bodies don't need help flushing toxins because we have organs that do that- our colon, our kidneys, our liver- all flush toxins out of our bodies naturally," said Rubin.

As for weight loss, extreme diets like the one Eric did ... Averages less than 1000 calories per day so it's no surprise people lose weight. Rubin says they may also feel awful.

"You could get dizzy, you could get a HA, fatigue, tired, irritable, all those harmful effects," said Rubin.

And whatever weight was lost ... She says will most likely return. But the real danger of detoxing: Cardiologist Dr. Peter Kowey says laxatives and diuretics to flush extra water can disrupt your body's potassium level ... And cause heart problems.

Abnormalities of electrolytes that these regimens can cause can certainly lead to very serious and potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities," said Dr. Kowey.

But there are milder detox diets. Oprah's a fan of the Quantum Wellness plan. It's a 21-day vegan diet that doesn't cut calories but cuts out sugar, alcohol, caffeine and gluten.

Rubin says for most people cutting gluten isn't necessary ... But overall the plan is good ... It boosts your veggie, fruit and fiber intake ... But can be low on protein and calcium.

Eric is happy with his results ... But says for now he'll stay fit the old fashioned way.

The company who makes the Blue Print Cleanse says they agree the body is self cleansing, but since we eat more processed foods these days, their product allows you to only take in what's quote 'fresh and real.' they also only recommend the plan after already eating healthy and talking to your doctor. And they stress their product does not use diuretics or laxatives.

An advocate for the Master Cleanse ... Which does include a laxative says ... People have been taking laxatives for hundreds of years.

He also stresses the plan helps people eat healthier after finishing the program.

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