Why You Shouldn't Start Your New Year With a Cleanse

January 3rd 2017

Leigh Cuen

There are many reasons not to kick off 2017 with a juice cleanse or detox diet. Here are just two to start with: your kidney and your liver. The body is naturally equipped to detoxify itself. And as long as you aren’t eating or drinking copious amounts of anything harmful, these systems function best when fueled with healthy foods and left alone to do their jobs.

"Your body has highly sophisticated mechanisms for eliminating the toxins you eat, breathe, absorb, and produce every day," the Seattle Times explain. "Your liver takes the lead, but your kidneys, digestive system, skin, lungs and lymphatic system all play supporting roles."

“There’s no solid science backing any of these cleansing or detox approaches for weight loss or health,” Dr. Joy Dubost, a dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Time magazine in 2015. “You’ll drop some water weight on these cleanses because you won’t be consuming very many calories, but that weight will come back when you start eating again.”

In 2016, one British woman was actually hospitalized after drinking too much water and “herbal remedies” as part of her New Year’s resolution cleanse. This prompted the British Dietetic Association to issue a health warning against detox diets and cleanses. “The whole idea of detox is nonsense,” the BDA statement said. “The body has numerous organs, such as the skin, gut, liver and kidney, that continually 'detoxify' the body from head to toe.”

So as you consider healthy resolutions, you may want to skip the cleanse.

“Juicing does not detox the body,” Dr. Nina Byrnes, Medical Director at Dublin’s Generation Health Medical Clinic, wrote in her New Year’s column for The Irish Independent. “The fact is that our liver and kidneys detox the system on a daily basis. A juice boost will not improve this in any way.” Byrnes warned that juice cleanses in particular slow the body’s metabolism and actually make it harder to lose weight in the long run.

Small, consistent changes are much healthier and easier to keep up than dramatic detox programs. Drink water, exercise, and eat healthy foods at regular intervals. That's the only health resolution anybody needs.