Do Detox Diets work and do you need to do one?



The word ‘detox’ seems to cause such a stir in the media and online world.

You have one side making radical claims about their detox curing all sorts of ills and then you have the other side saying that the concept of detox is a load of rubbish and you shouldn’t waste your time and money.


I prefer to use the word ‘cleanse’ for my detox programs because I think it more accurately describes what we are trying to achieve. What we want to do with a detox is give your body a rest from processing anything that places a load on the major organs of elimination (the liver, the kidneys, the gut and the skin) and at the same time use supplements that assist these organs with their function.

As a naturopath, I always find myself frowning when people say that detox doesn’t work.

I just don’t understand this. Its like saying breathing doesn’t work. I think that when people say detox doesn’t work its because they have a skewed concept of what detox is. It feels like everyone these days is looking for a quick fix and an instant cure. Detox is not a miracle cure to all of your health issues.

Detox is a holiday for your body.

You know what it feels like when you’re due for a holiday; you’re exhausted, you might be snappy, emotional, moody, your body aches, you don’t want to get out of bed YOU JUST NEED A BREAK!

This is how I imagine the poor body when it needs a detox. Its screaming at you “come on! Stop putting so much pressure on me! I’m so sick of processing your caffeine, your alcohol, your processed foods, your cosmetics. Man I need a break!”

Four weeks of fresh, nutritious food, minimising exposure to toxins, nourishing the body and assisting elimination with naturopathic herbs and supplements is a pretty decent break for your tired body.

Some people argue that your body is already designed to detox itself. That’s why you’re born with a liver, kidneys, lymphatic system, intestines etc. Yep, that’s true. But I think we all expect more from these organs than they originally signed up for and helping them out with an annual or bi-annual rejuvenation can only help them to perform better.


At the end of my cleanse programs people usually report that they are sleeping better, they wake up in the morning feeling alert, their energy is consistent throughout the day, their skin is improved (I was once told that I was ‘glowing’ when I was midway through a detox), they are not feeling bloated, their bowels are working well and they just generally feel more vibrant.

I try to get my clients to continue using the principles and recipes they have learnt during detox for the rest of their lives. And a lot of them do. Detox is like a restart button, it gets you back into good habits and it reminds you how the body is meant to feel.

So, do you need to detox?

You may not NEED to. But i’m sure your body will thank you for it!