There’s no doubt, you’ve heard of juice cleanses, sugar cleanses, and detox diets. If you’ve ever tried losing weight, beating the bloat, or getting back on track after a little too much mac and cheese, someone has probably suggested doing a body cleanse or detox to get things going again. Cleansing and detoxing are getting a ton of hype right now — and rightfully so. If you did a Google search for “detox” or “cleanse” you’ll get millions of results. Turns out you can pretty much cleanse or detox almost every aspect of your life.
There are key differences between a cleanse and a detox diet, but people tend to use the two terms interchangeably, which makes things even more confusing. So what’s the difference between a cleanse and a detox?
At the root of the word “cleanse” is clean, and you should think of a cleanse as a way of cleaning your body. Often a cleanse uses supplements or pills to eliminate substances directly and cleanses normally focus on the digestive tract. On the other hand, detox programs strive to support your body’s natural toxin-eliminating processes. Since the body’s main detoxing centers are the liver and the kidneys, good detox programs focus on supporting your liver and kidneys by giving them the nutrients and supplements they need to function optimally.
One way of looking at the difference between a cleanse and a detox is that detox diets usually focus on “out with the old” in the short term. But cleanse programs also address the “in with the new” aspect. Good cleanses can help you form new eating habits that support your body and help you stay healthy (and non-toxic!) for the long haul.
The word “toxin” is also used so freely that it may be difficult to understand what it really is. Basically, toxins are harmful particles that can stay in your body, irritating cells, causing inflammation, and interfering with your body’s normal functions.
Signs of toxicity or a high toxic load (and thus the need for a detox or cleanse) include:
- joint pain
- and constipation
If you’re seriously considering a detox or cleanse, it’s best to talk to a specialist for help creating a healthy plan that will work for your body. Although the internet is a great resource, it’s always better to speak to a professional so that the process only enhances your body doesn’t put you at any risks!