Registered Dietitians are the nutrition experts, and we are working hard to both tell and show the public this. It is always a thrill to see a fellow RD on the news, because I know that makes us one step closer to informing the public that we are the key source for nutrition information. As nutrition professionals who practice evidenced-based nutrition counseling, it is important for us to remain ethical in all we do; that is especially important when it comes to making money on what we tell people who are looking to lose weight and improve their health (and are often willing to do anything to change).
Last week there was a controversial interview on the Today Show and if you saw it, you probably didn’t even realize the uproar that would come shortly after on Dietetic ListServs around the country. The interview was regarding Detox Diets provided by a Registered Dietitian out of Chicago. To the everyday person, this probably just seemed like a normal nutrition trend, but to Registered Dietitians across the country, it was a rather sad and disappointing interview. Why, you may ask? As professionals working hard to debunk fad diets, this RD has sadly jumped on the fad diet bandwagon all in the name of money.
The premise behind detox diets are a follows: we live in a society filled with toxins and these toxins are the reason why people are overweight and lack energy (our lack of sleep, poor food choices, and sedentary lifestyle). It is suggested that to get rid of these toxins, you must eliminate a significant number of foods that supposedly irritate our bodies [gluten (wheat, rye, barley, most oats), milk, eggs, non-organic fruits and vegetables, and meat that is not free-range and organic]. In addition, you must take a special powder that will “leech out” the toxins from your liver and other organs sold (by the manufacturer of the diet for a pretty penny, of course). This powder has a laxative effect, causing many to feel lighter (when really, if you were just regular, you would always feel this “lighter” feeling).
Clearly stated by Mayo Clinic, “There is no evidence, however, that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Most ingested toxins are efficiently and effectively removed by the kidneys and liver and excreted in urine and stool.” Until research can prove that these diets are actually beneficial, there is no point to put yourself through this terrible, expensive experience (believe me…I’ve done one before).
For a list of diets reviewed by the American Dietetic Association for validity and nutritional pros and cons, visit the ADA website.