A few hours ago during my break at work I was perusing the nutrition section of my bookstore, hoping to find a book on nutrition that could further my education since I don’t plan to specialize in it just yet. To my dismay, all of these nutrition books were favoring some sort of diet, some sort of pseudo-quack science, like detox drinks and the worst one being by Vani Hari, who has zero credentials in anything science. With books on nutrition being primarily aimed at professionals (I can only find them on Amazon), it’s no wonder why so many people have no clue what they are supposed to do with their diets.
People most often look to mainstream scientific sources for all of their information. This means they’ll retreat to popular fitness or diet magazines and get caught up in the latest diet craze that promises instant results that are impossible to obtain. From my observations, the latest craze is detox drinks. And what’s worse, I’ll see even fitness professionals pushing this scam, naively buying into it themselves. We have a responsibility as fitness professionals to research what we find in mainstream media. It is absolutely outrageous to obtain a certification in nutrition and yet STILL fall for fad diets and scams.
Your kidneys, liver, and lymphatic system do all of the “detoxing” for you. If you had toxins built up in you body that you had to flush out yourself, you’d be dead. In fact, this “detoxing” only serves to deplete your electrolytes, which are EXTREMELY necessary for hydration. In fact, without those electrolytes your body can’t properly absorb water. So drink all the water you want; it won’t do you any good without those electrolytes.
So how on Earth do you separate the wheat from the chaff? First off, ditch the popular diet and fitness mags. Purchase a book on nutrition that actually explains nutrition without pushing some sort of diet or pseudoscience. Look to science journals for nutrition advice, studies done at prestigious universities, blogs from fitness organizations like ACE, or blogs from fitness professionals like Joe Cannon, who actually have a body of accessible published scientific work.
When reading anything on nutrition, always make sure to identify the credentials of the author. In your daily life, if you stumble upon some new diet fad, do extensive research on it and make sure to access your own knowledge of nutrition to see if it holds water. Chances are, most fad diets don’t. Those that do work often provide short-lived results because those diets are not always sustainable, like the Atkins diet.
And if you feel the need to change your diet but aren’t sure how, consult a registered dietitian.