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Demystifying the detox diet

In the months between New Year’s and bathing-suit season, you hear a lot about detox diets and how to kick-start weight loss after a few too many indulgences. But the foods you’re often asked to eat on those diets are the ones you should actually be incorporating into your meals every day, rather than just for a few weeks or months to shed excess weight. spoke with Diane Henderiks, RD, aka “The Dietitian in the Kitchen,” personal chef, cookbook author and television personality, about making the shift from short-term goals, like fitting into your skinny jeans, to overall healthy lifestyle changes.

Woman drinking water with lemon

Don’t be duped by quick-fix detox plans

Henderiks stresses that there is no scientific proof that detox diets work the way people think they do – that they will be your golden ticket to looking beautiful in the buff, without really trying. Detox diets are positioned as just another diet rather than a means to a healthier lifestyle, Henderiks says. They come across as a quick fix, and a large percentage of the population are doing it for weight loss, rather than a healthy lifestyle, she explains. But the long-term healthy lifestyle should really be the emphasis.

Eat to detox every day

Henderiks notes that a lot of detox diets are very high in fiber, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied, and helps regulate your digestive system. So rather than only focusing on these good-for-you fiber-rich foods while you’re trying to lose weight or detox from a weekend of diet debauchery, why not incorporate them into your diet for good?

Everyday healthy eating tips:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Incorporate lots of legumes (for example, beans, peas, lentils) into your diet.
  • Limit dairy, red meat, salt, sugar and processed foods.
  • Eat more nuts and seeds.
  • Try tofu and tempeh for protein once a week.
  • Increase berry intake for an antioxidant boost.
  • Eat more oats and whole grains.
  • Drink water (trade sugary soda for water with a squeeze of lemon or lime).

By eating this way, you’ll end up with more energy because you’re eating better. “You won’t be bogging your body down as much,” says Henderiks. By removing the junk in your diet you’ll not only be boosting overall health, but enhancing your immune system, she adds.

Up next: How to healthfully make over your diet >>

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