Myths About Cleansing and Detox


Over the course of May, we plan to give you a more thorough look at how to eliminate toxins and develop better health, beginning with this week’s blog post on the myths and facts about cleansing. Here are some of the most common myths we hear about cleansing, debunked by our naturopathic doctors:

Myth #1: Your body cleanses all on its own, no help necessary.

In a perfect world, this would be true – but we don’t live in a perfect world. Our digestive tracts aren’t designed to handle “foods” like bleached white flour, “processed cheese product”, artificial flavours and preservatives. Our lungs can’t easily filter out airborne chemicals like road tar, lawn pesticides and car exhaust fumes. We throw toxins at our bodies all day and they do an amazing job of coping, but in a modern environment they need a helping hand.

Myth #2: During a cleanse, you should expect to feel exhausted, sick, and angry.

You might also hear the related myth, cleansing is bad for you.

False! While it’s true that some cleanses will leave you feeling tired or grumpy at first – especially if you’re used to relying on coffee or sugar to keep your mood and energy levels high – the long-term benefits of cleansing include greater energy, more mental clarity, consistently better moods and fewer headaches. On the other hand, some types of cleanses and detox diets are genuinely bad for you, which is why it’s always best to do a cleanse under a naturopathic doctor’s supervision.

Myth #3: You’ll be running to the bathroom all the time while you cleanse.

This is absolutely not the case! If you’ve had this experience before or heard about it from someone who has, we’d love to know what kind of cleanse you or they were on – because it wasn’t a healthy one.

Myth #4: Cleansing is a quick fix for weight loss.

False. Some people do lose weight on a cleanse, but it should never happen suddenly. Cleansing is absolutely not a “quick fix” to any sort of symptoms or body issues.

We discourage our clients from cleansing primarily to lose weight, because weight loss during detoxification is unpredictable. Pulling toxins out of your body may result in weight loss, or it might not. The types of cleanses that guarantee weight loss usually do so by sharply reducing caloric intake, which results in people losing water weight and muscle, not fat. That’s not the kind of cleanse we promote or provide for our patients.

Myth #5: You have to stop eating everything and go on a fast/juice cleanse/lemonade diet to cleanse properly.

Not so. There are dozens of different ways to approach cleansing and many of them are more effective than fasting. While fasts and juice cleanses are well known, they’re very difficult on both will-power and your body. We prefer to guide clients toward a gradual cleanse that incorporates most of your regular diet, editing out only foods that challenge the body’s detoxification organs and adding botanical medicines and other natural supplements that support the liver and colon.

The flip side of this myth, of course, is …

Myth #6: All you have to do is take this over the counter, one-size-fits-all supplement and you’re set. Cleansing is easy!

Whoa, partner. If you’re going to cleanse properly, it’s never that simple. One-size-fits-all supplements are a bad idea as a general rule, and cleansing really needs to be customized to fit your goals and your current health needs. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a naturopathic doctor before you cleanse—you’ll avoid most of the pitfalls and get a cleansing protocol that’s tailored to fit your body and your lifestyle.

If you’re interested in learning more or doing a cleanse, visit our Metabolic Detoxification page, or contact us at or by telephone to schedule an appointment. And stay tuned for more information on different approaches to cleansing in the next few blog posts!



Posted: 2013 May 9