Don’t Detox

Despite the seemingly fabulous results we hear about detox diets, these types of cleanses may be unsafe and counterproductive.

Young adults are all about following trends, and the tabloids are filled with articles about celebrities attempting various diets and detoxifying. As a trainer to teens, I am often asked what the fastest way to lose weight is and what type of detox diet they can do to accelerate weight loss.

My answer is always that there are better weight-loss techniques that are safer, more effective and will actually help keep the weight off than a liquid cleanse.

Additionally, as per the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, detox diets and cleanses are not recommended.

How Cleanses “Work”

Colon cleanses or all-liquid cleanses only cause a temporary weight loss, likely due to water loss and dehydration, and not a true weight loss.

Fasting for long periods can also slow down metabolism, resulting in muscle loss and making it harder to keep weight off or lose weight later.

When teens starve themselves or restrict caloric intake, they are depriving themselves of vital nutrients needed daily for proper growth and physical and mental development.

The Natural Cleanse

The ideal “cleanse” for growing teens is to eat lean protein with a vegetable or a fruit every three hours, suggests Amanda Stein, a registered dietitian in Westwood, Calif.

Increased water rather than soda, juice or energy drinks helps create a feeling of fullness and satiety, especially if drank before meals, according to Dr. Tanya Arora of the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Teens can also keep a healthy snack like nuts or sunflower seeds in their backpacks to avoid purchasing junk food.

Teenagers need to make sure they consume enough calories and protein to support rapid growth and development. For teens that are involved in sports and physical activities, cleanses do not provide enough fuel.

To recap: A clean, healthy diet of vegetables, fiber and lots of water is not a bad idea. But teens need to make sure they are getting all the nutrients needed, including protein and calcium, from other foods. A detox diet or stopping to eat from any major food group without talking to a doctor or a registered dietitian is not recommended.

About the Author

Karen Jashinsky is the founder of O2 MAX, a fitness company that teaches youth how to integrate fitness and nutrition into their day-to-day lives. Karen is a Certified Fitness Trainer and the recent recipient of the first “Emerging Female Leader” Award by IHRSA, the fitness industry’s professional organization. O2 MAX also operates a fitness training studio in Santa Monica, Calif. For more information, visit

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