Eating

Ditch the Detox

Detox is a popular buzzword in the world of health and wellness. These diets claim to clear toxins from our body, increase energy, boost immunity, improve digestion and facilitate rapid weight loss. Sounds too good to be true, right? That's because it is. 

 

Healthy adults have amazing inbuilt mechanisms to remove toxins from our bodies each day. Our liver, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, lungs, skin and immune system are constantly working to remove unwanted substances. It's fair to say detox products and regimes are largely a marketing gimmick, seeking profit for a process your body can manage solo. 

 

These diets involve fasting, elimination of entire food groups and reliance on commercially prepared detox products. Due to the restrictive nature of these diets it is difficult to meet nutritional needs when detoxing, which may compromise our immune system and digestive processes over time. There's also no scientific evidence to suggest these regimes will increase energy levels, in fact many people experience lethargy due to inadequate nutrition. Finally, we know any weight lost via these programs will return, and long term engagement in dieting behaviour is the biggest predictors of weight gain. 

 

If you're looking for a way to feel more energised and healthy, skip the detox diet; instead, honour your appetite, choose a variety of food across and within the key food groups, hydrate, cut down on alcohol, participate in activity you enjoy, make time for self-care, and rest as needed. 

 

 

MEGAN     Dietician  Megan Bray   B Exercise & Nutrition Sciences., M Diet St., APD.   Megan one of the Dietitians at the Movement Team and is passionate about challenging the way society approaches dieting. She has clinical interests in weight management, chronic disease, and eating behaviour. Megan also has experience in research and aged care.

MEGAN

 

Dietician

Megan Bray

B Exercise & Nutrition Sciences., M Diet St., APD.

Megan one of the Dietitians at the Movement Team and is passionate about challenging the way society approaches dieting. She has clinical interests in weight management, chronic disease, and eating behaviour. Megan also has experience in research and aged care.

Chewing The Fat

Nutrition science is not without controversy, and the conversation surrounding dietary fat is no different. Let's chew the fat...

 

Firstly, a brief overview. We refer to fats in three general categories; saturated fat, trans fat and unsaturated fat. Intake of saturated fat (red meat, whole milk dairy and many commercially prepared foods) has long been associated with increased risk of heart disease. Trans fats (predominately found in processed foods) are also known to elicit negative cardiovascular effects. A diet rich in unsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil and salmon), however, is linked to improved blood lipid profiles and reduced cardiovascular risk. Fat is also extremely energy, or calorie, dense so it is often targeted for individuals seeking weight loss. 

Image of some healthy fats

Image of some healthy fats

In our quest for a healthier, leaner population a generalised low-fat diet gained traction over past decades. This shift away from excessive fat intake sought to reduce rates of overweight, obesity and cardiovascular disease. While the sentiment was there the general public were not equipped with suitable low fat alternatives, and because fat is a haven for flavour our diets lacked without it. This gave way to diets high in refined carbohydrates, which included the likes of white bread, pasta, processed snack foods and added sugar. 

 

As nutrition science evolved we learnt a lot more about the specific effects of dietary fat, and the health implications associated with excessive intake of refined carbohydrates. We now know refined carbohydrates generate an equal, if not greater, burden of disease when consumed in excess. We determined trans fats to be definitively unhealthy, and as a result significantly reduced these within the food supply. Saturated fats have been somewhat vindicated in recent years with evidence indicating some varieties (stearic acid and lauric acid specifically) have neutral effects on cardiovascular risk, although we still lack convincing evidence that they are helpful. Finally, we know eating unsaturated fats in place of saturated fats or highly refined carbohydrates improves blood lipid profile, and is a staple among some of the world's healthiest regions. 

 

The bottom line? Fats are in. Prioritise olive oils, avocado, nuts and fatty fish, but don't demonise a great piece of steak and whole milk dairy products. Remember though, fats are simply one element of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Focussing on specific nutrients is not the key to a nutritious, health-promoting diet. Emphasise a diet of wholesome foods in sensible combinations instead. When we get the foods right, the nutrients take care of themselves!