Should I do a detox?

Alcohol and heart disease

After all the indulgence of the party season, I’m thinking of doing a detox. What would you recommend?

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

There is no single food that acts as a magic wand to get rid of toxins and many of these diets won’t provide all the essential nutrients that your body needs.

There’s no evidence that toxins even build up in our bodies, anyway

There’s no evidence that toxins even build up in our bodies, anyway. With the exception of a few people, your liver, kidneys and lungs are already taking toxins out of your body and if they weren’t doing their job properly, you would feel very ill indeed. So embarking on a specific detox diet is unlikely to make any difference in that respect.

Although some people may say they feel better when they try these diets, it’s probably more that they’ve been overindulging, so of course a few days of lighter meals, more physical activity and no alcohol will make them feel better. The other problem with detox is that it reinforces the idea that it’s okay to overindulge in unhealthy food, drink too much or smoke, as long as you detox afterwards. That’s simply not the case.

Eat a balanced diet, including at least five portions a day of fruit and vegetables, limit your alcohol intake, don’t smoke, take regular exercise and get a good night’s sleep and you’ll reap the benefits.

Victoria Taylor Meet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with 20 years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. She leads the BHF's work on nutrition.

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