Preparing lemonade
NatashaPhoto/iStock/Getty Images

Detox diets are marketed as ways to eliminate toxins that build up in the body and as quick weight-loss plans. The diets normally are organized around some fasting or all-liquid phase, followed by a strictly limited choice of foods. You may eat fresh fruits, vegetables, broths or teas on a weekend detox. Some detox plans recommend digestive system cleansing, special herbs, herbal teas or recipes for fiery lemonades, protein drinks and raw juice combinations.

Master Cleanse “Lemonade” Diet

The Master Cleanse Diet has been around since the 1940s and surges in popularity each time a celebrity uses it to drop a few pounds for a movie role. The diet isn’t a weight loss plan. It is meant to detoxify the system with a few days of subsisting on a drink made of spring water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. A side effect of the no-fiber food plan may be constipation, so a laxative tea is recommended while following the diet. Over a weekend, the diet may cause you to lose weight; however, because the weight loss is mostly water, the scale will inch back you when you resume eating. No scientific evidence exists that the Master Cleanse Diet flushes away toxins or improves health, according to Dr. Roger Clemens of the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy.

Fruit Flush Diet

The Fruit Flush Diet is designed to remove toxins and boost liver function and energy levels. A clinical nutritionist created the diet, limiting intake to protein drinks, fruit and raw vegetable salads. A modest amount of lean animal protein is permitted. The diet does allow healthy fats from avocado and olive oil, which should be fine for most healthy people to follow for the limited duration of one weekend. All the food is nutritious and could jump-start some good eating habits. The large amount of fruit, however, may mean this diet isn’t a good choice if you have hypoglycemia or diabetes. Once again, much of the weight loss is likely to be water.

Science vs. Anecdote

The human body is designed to remove toxins without direct intervention. People do begin to feel lighter and many claim to have more energy on a detox diet, but the Mayo Clinic notes there is little scientific evidence that a detox eliminates toxins. However, a weekend of light food intake, consisting mostly of healthy raw vegetables and fruits, is a nutritional plus for people who have been eating fast food, junk food and unbalanced diets. A gentle, nutritionally-balanced weekend detox may be good for you but don’t regard it as a serious weight loss plan or a substitute for year-round healthy eating.

Side Effects

Detox diets, even for the limited span of a weekend, can lead to nausea, dizziness, fatigue and dehydration. You should always consult with your health care provider before attempting a detox. The effort could actually exacerbate an underlying medical condition and lead to worse health, not better. The smart choice might be a moderate weekend diet change, then a permanent shift to a healthy diet that encourages the body to eliminate toxins as it was designed to do.