Myth #1: Going on juice diets or doing liquid cleanses
Do they help? Yes. Raw fruit and vegetable juices are able to deliver a concentrated but easy-to-digest dose of food-based nutrients to your body which helps to trigger detoxification. And restricting your diet to only liquids means that your liver isn’t distracted by having to break down fats so it can fully focus on detoxing.
But they can cause harm too, especially in the long run. The juices are rich in nutrients, but they’re also full of sugar and fructose, as well as lacking in the fiber that naturally slows their sugar absorption and absorbs toxins. This can cause negative effects on your blood sugar levels and induce some unpleasant detox symptoms.
Even taking fibre supplements or eating the pulp as some of these cleanses recommend doesn’t make up for the amount of sugar (especially in the form of fructose) you’re ingesting by drinking juice daily, which is unhealthy for your liver.
Myth #2: You can prevent liver damage by immediately cleansing whenever you overindulge
Nope, not really. There is no scientific evidence that proves you can undo the effects of a night of too much eating and/or drinking has on your liver, even if you cleanse immediately after.
When it comes to liver health, the key is in moderation. You don’t have to completely cut out alcohol or your favourite guilty pleasure food, just make sure you’re not consuming them in excess.
Myth #3: Eat lots of broccoli - it’s a detox superfood!
Sorry, but no it’s not. It does help the liver in some ways, but it’s not the super detox food that it’s made out to be. As with other types of similar vegetables like sprouts and cabbage, broccoli actually contains cyanide.
When absorbed in small doses, that little bit of poison primes the enzymes in your liver to deal better with any other poisons you may consume. So you shouldn’t be eating too much of it, to avoid overloading your system.
Myth #4: We're all exposed to toxins on a daily basis so everyone should be doing detoxes
There are actually certain types of people who should never do detoxes without first consulting a medical professional, especially ones that involve dieting, restricting calorie intake, and fasting.
Some such methods are used to supposedly stimulate the liver to get rid of toxins but can be incredibly dangerous as they can lead to malnutrition and other severe health complications.
They should not be attempted by the following people:
- Children and adolescents
- Elderly people
- Those who suffer from malnutrition
- Women who are pregnant or lactating
- People who have medical issues such as diabetes or an eating disorder
Myth #5: Liver cleanses can help to treat existing liver damage
We'd all like to think this is true but unfortunately there is little to no scientific proof that liver cleanses can treat existing liver damage or improve your condition.
But the good news is that the liver has impressive healing abilities of its own, especially when combined with the proper medical treatment. So if you've been diagnosed with liver damage, please do seek the appropriate treatment ASAP.
Here are some simple treatments for common liver diseases:
- Hepatitis A and B: Vaccinations or oral medication
- Hepatitis C: Oral medication
- Alcoholic liver disease: Stop all alcohol consumption to let the liver recover
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: It is recommended to lose weight in order to to decrease the amount of fat in the liver and the subsequent inflammation the fat causes
Myth #6: You can lose weight by cleansing your liver
Once again, there is no scientific evidence to support this. While it's true that some people have lost weight after going on a liver cleanse, this weight loss is usually just a temporary loss of fluids due to the change in eating habits. Once they go back to their typical eating habits, they tend to very quickly put on weight again.
Plus, some types of liver cleanses can have the opposite effect of lowering your body's metabolic rate, which would result in it being more difficult for you to lose weight over time.
The best way to help your liver is to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet, limiting your alcohol intake, and exercising regularly. You can also take supplements to give your liver a boost.
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