Bethany Thayer | Henry Ford Health System
For many, the new year means it’s time to “cleanse” and “detox.”
But what does that mean?
Some plans involve fasting or living on liquids, while others add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. The most extreme of the lot can require taking herbs and supplements while cleansing the colon (with enemas).
Despite the popularity of these plans, there’s very little scientific evidence to support the need to give your organs a digestive vacation.
In fact, detoxing this way may rob your organs of vital nutrients. So, before you ditch your fork, consider these 5 detox myths:
- Myth No. 1: You will lose weight. Sure, a detox might help you shed a few pounds because you are consuming so few calories, but once you resume your normal diet, the weight will return.
- Myth No. 2: You’ll rid your body of harmful toxins. Our livers, kidneys and colons are remarkably effective at eliminating toxins, no matter what we eat, drink or breathe. Ironically, most detox diets restrict the nutrients your organs need to do their job
- Myth No. 3: Any symptoms you are experiencing means the detox is working. Detoxers typically experience headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and bad breath. The creators of detox diets will say those symptoms are a sign the toxins are on their way out. More accurately, they’re what happens when you don’t eat and drink enough calories. Specifically, ketosis (when our bodies use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates) can cause bad breath, and your headache could be from caffeine withdrawal.
- Myth No. 4: You’ll feel better/have more energy. Since detox diets typically nix sugar- and fat-laden, processed foods, it makes sense that some people feel better during a “cleanse.” Trouble is, a few days of fasting ups the ante for nutritional deficiencies, which could lead to dizziness and fatigue. A better approach: limit high-calorie, low-nutrition foods for life — not just during a 7-day detox.
- Myth No. 5: You’ll reverse a chronic condition. While most people can safely handle a short-term fast, detox diets can be harmful for people with certain medical conditions. In people with diabetes, for example, they can lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
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That’s not to say that cabbage soup — and soup in general — isn’t something to include as part of your healthy eating pattern in 2022. It fills you up with low-calorie broth and lots of vegetables, which means you’re getting fiber and lots of other vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Just be sure to include the other food groups to round out your meal.
Eat “clean” by making half of your plate fruits and vegetables, one-quarter whole grains and the last quarter lean protein. Top the meal off with a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk or calcium-fortified soy milk.
This simple recipe for a tasty Vegetarian Cabbage Soup will get you through cold winter days. Make a batch and then save some in the freezer so you’ll have a quick, healthy lunch or dinner later, too.
Vegetarian Cabbage Soup
Serves: 16 (1½ cups servings) / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 4 hours
1½ cups carrots, chopped
1½ cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 cans, 14½ ounce each, diced tomatoes, unsalted
4 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cup cut green beans, frozen
46-ounce container low-sodium tomato juice
1½ cups green pepper, chopped
3 cups celery, chopped
16 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
Add all ingredients to a large slow-cooker.
Cover and cook on medium heat for 2 to 4 hours or until vegetables are desired texture.
Remove bay leaves prior to serving.
From Henry Ford LiveWell.
Nutritional information per serving.
56 calories (less than 1% from fat), 0 grams fat (0 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 12 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 160 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 43 mg calcium, 3 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 vegetable.
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