Australian dietitians warn over ‘unproven detox diets’

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th January 2012

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) has urged young women in Australia to ‘ditch the detox’ and instead pledge to eat a balanced diet, after new research found that many women are resorting to unproven detox diets to try to shift unwanted kilos.

A Newspoll survey of 200 women aged 18-24, commissioned by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), found 60 per cent have tried to lose weight in the past year. Of those, one in four have used a ‘fad diet’, with lemon detox and liver cleansing diets two of the most popular.

In the survey, almost half (47 per cent) of the women who had attempted to lose weight in the past year said they would like to lose more weight.

The DAA is launching its annual Australia’s Healthy Weight Week campaign (22 to 29 January 2012), which this year appeals to 18-25 year old women to commit to looking and feeling their best.

DAA Spokesperson Melanie McGrice said, “We’re urging young women to forget magic powders, awful-tasting drinks and starvation plans, and to be wary of any diet that promises quick or dramatic results.”

According to Ms McGrice, detox diets are touted as a way to remove toxins from the body. They usually include a period of fasting and a strict diet. However, many cut out certain foods, some promote using herbs and supplements, and most last seven to 10 days.

Ms McGrice said there’s little evidence detox diets actually remove toxins. She said side effects of detox diets can include dehydration, fatigue, bad breath, constipation, dizziness and nausea.

“These diets are unrealistic and unsustainable. Some women will end up blaming themselves for not being able to stick to the ‘diet’ – but the truth is it’s simply not an option to eat nothing but raw foods or sip a lemon drink for any length of time,” Ms McGrice said.

“The best ‘detox’ is drinking plenty of water, and eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, lean meat, chicken or fish, lower-fat dairy foods and healthy fats.”