Detox Diets – More Harm than Good?

By Shannon Glenn
Certified Nurse Practitioner, Mission Weight Management

A detox, or detoxification, diet is done for a number of reasons: to lose weight, rid the body of harmful wastes or help with chronic inflammation. These detox diets vary by what manner they “cleanse” the body. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of evidence-based research that support their effectiveness. In fact, detox diets can actually cause more harm than good.

With a detox diet, people can lose weight by fasting, cutting out certain types of food and drinking large quantities of water, or taking laxatives. This can be effective to help with losing weight quickly, but is not a sustainable long-term strategy, as most of the weight lost is quickly regained. Also, there is risk for dehydration, low blood sugar, abdominal cramping and other adverse effects.

Detox diets can also be risky in certain patient populations such as individuals with diabetes, heart disease or other chronic conditions, and women who are pregnant or nursing. It’s also important to note that the liver and kidneys are filtering systems within the body, so they do their own waste detoxification, and do it quite efficiently.

Instead of a detox diet, you are more likely to lost weight with the following strategies:

These are some of the best things you can do for your body!


Shannon Glenn, MSN-FNP, NP-C, is a certified Nurse Practitioner with Mission Weight Management.

To learn more and register for a free weight-loss information session, visit missionweight.org [1] or call (828) 213-4100.
References: Harvard Women’s Health Watch. (2008). The Dubious Practice of Detox [2]. WebMD. (2016). The Truth About Detox Diets [3].