Why should you detox? Your body functions best when it periodically cleanses (detoxes) itself of accumulated toxins and free radicals that lead to inflammation, body aches, impairment and disease, and contribute to the aging process.
However, for some people, detox is synonymous with deprivation, hunger, and weird recipes that seem worse than the toxins themselves–but it doesn’t have to be that way! With the right program, the benefits of detox easily outweigh the cons. Below you’ll find our favorite six science-supported reasons for completing a detox–and natural one, at that. When you’re done, check out our 5 tips to stick to your detox program.
1. A detox resets your eating habits for the better.
Everybody experiences periods of unhealthy or emotional eating, but when they last for weeks or spiral into a lifestyle, it can take a planned, coordinated attack to return to healthy eating. When you’re mentally and physically exhausted, it’s just easier to follow a step-by-step playbook that nonetheless allows you the flexibility to adjust to your needs.
Researchers have described five stages of change that lead to healthy eating: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance (Glanz et al. 1994). People in the action and maintenance stages eat less fatty calories, more fruits and veggies, and more fiber. If you are considering a detox, you’re probably in one of the first three stages. Actually committing to a detox program helps you move into preparation and action by giving you the tools and support you need to jump into healthy eating, which can ultimately propel you into the maintenance stage, which should be your goal.
With defined start and end dates and well-structured shopping lists and meal planners, a quality detox program works with you to make it simple to reset your system. Research supports that specific plans, which they term implementation intentions, do “make those with unhealthy habits eat healthier” (Verplanken & Faes 1999).
2. Detoxing pumps up your health with plant power.
Research shows that consuming processed foods is associated with bigger BMIs, larger waist sizes, worse cholesterol levels, higher levels of inflammation markers, and greater risk of metabolic syndrome (Tavares et al. 2012; Lipsky et al. 2014). In fact, by looking at developing countries in “nutrition transition” from crops to processed foods, researchers learned that just a 10% increase in a household’s processed food consumption correlates with a 4% increase in BMI (Asfaw 2009)! Conversely, higher intake of fruits and veggies slashes your risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and a whole host of other nasty illnesses (Wang et al. 2011; Liu 2013).
One research team phrased it like this (Wang et al. 2011): “[The] health benefits of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods are attributed to the synergy or interactions of bioactive compounds and other nutrients in whole foods. Therefore, consumers should obtain their nutrients, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, and phytochemicals from a balanced diet with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant foods for optimal nutrition, health, and well-being, not from dietary supplements.”
On the S Cleanse, you’ll consume fresh and delicious plant-based creations that sample from the two of three main plant categories–fruits, vegetables and legumes–which according to this scientific paper, “possess different bioactive compounds with various antioxidant capacities” that together produce “synergistic antioxidant interactions” to amp up your cardiovascular health (Liu 2013). Unlike other detox programs, it doesn’t rely on proprietary supplements that science just doesn’t support. Your dishes come straight from farm to fork with minimal processing in between, ensuring you get all the unfiltered, raw nutrients, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, and phytochemicals that plants pack.
Study after study has concluded that calorie restriction fights obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer risk–even when only implemented over short periods (Dolinsky & Dyck 2011)! In fact, one scientific article called it “the most effective nutritional intervention for slowing aging and preventing chronic disease” (Omodei et al. 2011). However, extreme calorie restriction leads to malnutrition and adverse clinical effects, which is why deprivation-focused detox programs should be avoided (Fontana & Klein 2007). An expertly-designed detox program like the S Cleanse focuses on eating the right things in the right amounts rather than on starving yourself: you hit the sweet spot of calories and nutrients for enjoying the many benefits of calorie restriction…without crossing into the danger zone.
The best detoxes not only account for the body, they consider the mind and provide the appropriate support. Research reveals that individuals with higher social support lose more weight and maintain their weight loss for longer–because they are able to stick to healthier habits (Wing & Jeffery, 1999). One reason the S Cleanse is so powerful is that in addition to its want-to-eat cleansing recipes, it offers motivational audio modules by an expert, support forums for conversing with fellow participants, and one-on-one coaching with a wellness pro–all of which maximize your social support and increase your chances for long-term success.
5. Natural eating is easier and healthier.
A natural detox not only features wholesome, natural foods–no unpronounceable mystery ingredients here–but also natural eating habits. A natural detox program brings balance: no deprivation, no compensatory binging, and no strange recipes that you never want to see again (e.g. maple syrup and cayenne pepper isn’t a very appetizing mix for most). Studies show that people with irregular eating habits have higher rates of obesity and other health problems due to their irregular eating habits (Lowden et al. 2010). Therefore, a more natural approach makes a properly designed detox safer and more sustainable than fad programs. The S Cleanse allows users to enjoy three delicious meals plus snacks daily, so you never feel hungry for days on end (which leads to bad eating!).
You don’t just have to reset your eating habits for a few days or weeks. The tools, techniques, and recipes that you learn in a quality detox program can and often have far-reaching impacts that long outlive the program itself. Research demonstrates that short-term interactive programs–such as the S Cleanse–are effective at positively impacting eating habits, and that many participants continue to live better past the end of such programs (Irvine et al. 2004).
Even if you don’t believe a “detox” per se is necessary, there is nothing wrong with committing to healthy eating for a set amount of time. It is indisputable that processed, additive-rich foods are detrimental to one’s health, and a detox can provide the structure and guidance you need to kick-start healthier eating habits. The S Cleanse takes it a step further with its free option to have a health coach review your food journal, so you get custom non-judgmental feedback on how to improve your dietary choices.
- Asfaw, A. (2011). Does consumption of processed foods explain disparities in the body weight of individuals? The case of Guatemala. Health Economics, 20(2), 184-195. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hec.1579
- Dolinsky, V. W., & Dyck, J. R. (2011). Calorie restriction and resveratrol in cardiovascular health and disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular Basis of Disease, 1812(11), 1477-1489. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2011.06.010
- Fontana, L., & Klein, S. (2007). Aging, adiposity, and calorie restriction. Jama, 297(9), 986-994. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.297.9.986
- Glanz, K., Patterson, R. E., Kristal, A. R., DiClemente, C. C., Heimendinger, J., Linnan, L., & McLerran, D. F. (1994). Stages of change in adopting healthy diets: fat, fiber, and correlates of nutrient intake. Health Education & Behavior, 21(4), 499-519. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/109019819402100412
- Irvine, A. B., Ary, D. V., Grove, D. A., & Gilfillan‐Morton, L. (2004). The effectiveness of an interactive multimedia program to influence eating habits. Health Education Research, 19(3), 290-305. DOI: http://dx.doi.org10.1093/her/cyg027
- Lipsky, L., Nansel, T., & Quick, V. (2014). Abstract P181: Processed food intake is adversely associated with multiple indicators of cardiometabolic health in US adults: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2005-2008). Circulation, 129(S1), AP181-AP181.
- Liu, R. H. (2013). Health-promoting components of fruits and vegetables in the diet. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 4(3), 384S-392S. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/an.112.003517
- Lowden, A., Moreno, C., Holmbäck, U., Lennernäs, M., & Tucker, P. (2010). Eating and shift work—effects on habits, metabolism, and performance. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 36(2), 150-162.
- Omodei, D., & Fontana, L. (2011). Calorie restriction and prevention of age-associated chronic disease. FEBS Letters, 585(11), 1537-1542. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.febslet.2011.03.015
- Tavares, L. F., Fonseca, S. C., Garcia Rosa, M. L., & Yokoo, E. M. (2012). Relationship between ultra-processed foods and metabolic syndrome in adolescents from a Brazilian Family Doctor Program. Public Health Nutrition, 15(01), 82-87. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980011001571
- Verplanken, B., & Faes, S. (1999). Good intentions, bad habits, and effects of forming implementation intentions on healthy eating. European Journal of Social Psychology, 29(5‐6), 591-604. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199908/09)29:5/6<591::AID-EJSP948>3.0.CO;2-H
- Wang, S., Melnyk, J. P., Tsao, R., & Marcone, M. F. (2011). How natural dietary antioxidants in fruits, vegetables and legumes promote vascular health. Food Research International, 44(1), 14-22. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2010.09.028
- Wing, R. R., & Jeffery, R. W. (1999). Benefits of recruiting participants with friends and increasing social support for weight loss and maintenance. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 67(1), 132. DOI: http://dx.doi.org10.1037/0022-006X.67.1.132