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A closer look at cleansing diets

Some diets eliminate “unhealthy” foods that weigh down the system, whether it’s preservatives or all meats. But which ones really work and which ones are just a very loud marketing ploy? Even more importantly, which diets will do long-term damage to your health and waistline? We look at the nutritional basis of these diet trends.

Paleolithic diet

The Paleo diet or the ‘caveman diet’ mimics the types of food all human beings in the planet ate before they learned to plant or domesticate animals (a period in our history called the Agricultural Revolution). These foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood that are high in beneficial nutrients such as soluble fiber and antioxidant vitamins, as opposed to refined and processed foods that frequently cause what Paleo diet enthusiasts ominously call ‘diseases of civilization’ (cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity). The Paleo diet encourages its adherents to replace dairy and grain products with fresh fruit and vegetables, which they claim are more nutritious than grain and dairy products. Hollywood celebs such as Uma Thurman, Eva LaRue and Megan Fox are reportedly fans of the Paleo diet.

The good thing about the Paleo diet is that it eliminates preservatives and chemicals which the body is unable to metabolize. However it is dangerous to eliminate entire food groups (carbohydrates or dairy products).

DASH diet

The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, has been described as a long-term approach to healthy eating by preventing high blood pressure (hypertension). The DASH diet encourages people to reduce the sodium in their diets and consume more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grain, according to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Red meats, sweets and fats may be taken, but in small amounts. Aside from lowering blood pressure, the DASH diet may also offer protection against osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

This is a great diet because it can prevent cardiovascular diseases, but even fruits can have lots of sugars and calories. You could end up gaining weight, so do manage the overall calorie count.

Master Cleanse

This is a special juice fast that detoxifies your body and lets it heal naturally. If limited to only two days it does succeed in detoxifying the body and allowing the organs to rest. However, ‘cleansing’ should be limited to two days and multivitamins should be taken while fasting. But it’s disadvantageous if done for a long time. The absence of the act of chewing may signal the brain that the mouth is not needed, and may in turn slow down metabolism. Long-term fasting may also have a negative effect on mental concentration, and depleted nutrients may result in compromised health. Urinating often could likewise tax the kidneys.

Photo from sofeminine.co.uk

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