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It's one of the hottest fads - but can detox live up to the claims made for it? Can you lose a stone in ten days, get rid of cellulite, feel great and have skin that positively glows?

The theory behind detox is that our bodies are under constant attack - from cigarette smoke, pollution, poor diet, food additives, alcohol and caffeine. These toxins build up in our system and ultimately cause health problems - everything from weight gain and cellulite through to headaches and lowered immunity. When you detox, you remove these toxins from the body, allowing you to lose weight and feel healthier.

There are various ways to detox. Some are simple, such as enjoying a sauna or massage, or body brushing, while others are more extreme, such as colonic irrigation, bowel enemas and fasting. However, in the longer term, making changes to your diet is a part of most plans. The foods you can and can't eat vary, but in general, fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, herbal teas and copious quantities of water are allowed. Processed foods, meat, fish, dairy, eggs, caffeine, alcohol, salt, and sugar are usually banned.

Experts are dubious about the benefits. They point out that our bodies can deal with waste just fine without the aid of a special programme - indeed, that's exactly what our liver, lungs, kidneys and skin are designed to do. The reported benefits - weight loss, better skin tone, less headaches - can be put down to being on a calorie restricted diet that eliminates junk food and provides plenty of water.

The conclusion? There's no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise - if you're eating well most of the time, there's simply no need to periodically immerse yourself in an extreme purging process.




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