Are Detox Diets Safe for People with Diabetes?

Detoxification, or detox, diets are typically short-term diets that promise to rid the body of environmental toxins. Most detox plans begin with a period of fasting followed by a strict menu of raw vegetables, fruit, juices and/or water. Many plans involve taking specific herbs or other supplements and may require a colon cleanse, otherwise known as an enema.

Detox diets are generally founded on healthy eating principles, but there is scant scientific evidence they eliminate toxins from the body. Still, giving the body a toxin house-cleaning is an appealing one, and there are many anecdotal stories about the positive effects of detoxing.

Before giving detox a try, first be aware of possible detox problems – some related to managing diabetes, and others to general health concerns.


Before You Detox: Be Aware

As you might imagine, some promoters of detox and detox products have profits first in their mind. Their promises of relief from various illnesses such as diabetes may be scientifically unfounded. They also might fail to warn people about the possible uncomfortable side effects of detoxing.

If you are interested in detox dieting, be wise, do some investigating, talk to your doctor, and consider the following:

  • People with diabetes need to be extremely cautious about detox diets since they typically involve increased carbohydrate intake (fruit, juices) and often eliminate protein-rich foods.
  • Those taking medication to control diabetes will need to be a wiz at monitoring and regulating blood sugar to navigate successfully through a detox diet. It is recommended you consult your physician first. He or she will likely suggest you nix the detox plan.
  • Herbal supplements sometimes interfere with the action of medications (e.g., contraceptives, warfarin), and some herbs are sold without being tested for safety.
  • Since detox diets tend to limit protein consumption and usually require fasting, fatigue may become problematic and vitamin or mineral deficiencies can occur. If you are on medications, it is also important to anticipate – by consulting your physician – how the diet might change medication potency or effectiveness.
  • A colon cleanse, even a “gentle” one, can trigger nausea, bloating, cramping and vomiting. Dehydration is also a possibility – and a big concern for those with diabetes.
  • People may feel better after a detox diet because they have, for a few days or weeks, stopped eating processed foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Reducing or eliminating processed foods is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices people can make.
  • Consider that you may be better off detoxifying, in the long run, by reducing your intake of processed foods, gradually consuming more organic produce, becoming a savvy safe-seafood shopper, and eliminating toxic cleaning and laundry products from your home.

Make an informed detox decision by reading up on detox diets from reputable sources and consult your physician. If you choose to follow a detox plan, let it be to kick start a lifetime of long-term, healthy choices.


Sources: Mayo Clinic, Diabetes
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