Can The Paleo Diet Help Detox?

Vegetables. Part of a healthy diet that aids detox. Image courtesy of

Detox diets seem to be all the rage these days. They promise relief from a myriad of illnesses and poor health conditions. But are they all what they are cracked up to be?  Not according to Professor David Bender. In his article, “Detox Delusion”, published in “The Biologist” (subscription only),  He says that the claims made for detoxes are unfounded at best and harmful at worst. He also says that the body is perfectly capable of detoxifying itself. If this is the case, then would eating the Paleo diet helps detox? Perhaps so.  If you can follow it to where you are eating only organic produce and grass fed/pastured animal products, you would be assisting in the detox process. As long as you eliminate or limit environmental toxins from your food, you should be able to eliminate many toxins from your body.

Toxins in our modern world are all around us, but you can naturally detoxify your body and supercharge your health with the right foods and supplements to open up elimination channels and release toxic buildup at the cellular level.

After all, toxins (produced in living organisms) and toxicants (which are synthetic) are what cause cells to malfunction and perhaps even die. This kind of cellular disfiguration can happen in an instant, or it can happen over generations.

Modern living is tough on the body.

Even if we follow a strict diet, some of us still cannot tolerate certain chemicals, foods, perfumes, or places. This loss of tolerance has to do with:

  1. The environment.
  2. Our own immune system.

The research shows us over and over again that certain work environments, buildings, commercial products, pesticides, and even sources of water supply all come with an increased risk of cancer based on exposure. Carcinogens are a very real threat to public health. And yet, as we drive in our new car, walk across synthetic carpet, and drink from plastic bottles, we do not give it a second thought.

Toxins are everywhere in our modern world Avoiding them completely may be impossible. Even the most remote corners of the planet will have had some exposure to modern toxins.

Do you ever notice how one person falls apart when exposed to mold or chemicals, while another person may have no reaction at all? Part of our ability to deal with environmental poisons depends on how robust our immune system is in the first place.

A robust immune system depends on our family history, our environment, and how well we care for the body.

Boosting ones immune system seems to be the ticket for overcoming environmental toxins. The Paleo diet may help detox by strengthening the immune system through eating the appropriate diet.

There are detox diets out there. Can they work for weight loss?

Detox diets are, according to Professor Bender, a marketing hoax. He tells us that, “Weight gain is due to an imbalance between food consumption and energy expenditure. There is no magic shortcut for weight loss - you have to eat less and exercise more. It’s that simple.”

Trying to force your body through a quick detox diet that it may not be ready for is not the best way to lose weight or even cleanse toxins in a healthy fashion.

Most medical doctors will tell us that weight loss is a simple formula: consume fewer calories than you use. Unfortunately, those of us who have struggled with weight loss know that this formula is not so easy.  Read more….

We know that it is not a simple matter of fewer calories and more exercise. But what should we do? Beth Reardon, MS, RD, and nutritionist for Duke Integrative Medicine explains in the article “The Detox Delusion“:

….. we should not go to quick fix extremes to cleanse our body of toxins: “Give your body more credit. We naturally detox most substances that could be harmful. Our bodies are designed to do this—if we give them proper food and hydration and don’t stress our systems by eating a diet that includes a disproportionate amount of processed foods.”

If we want to gradually lessen the toxic load that our body carries, or in other words detoxify, this begins first and foremost with the food that we consume.  A healthy detoxification program, with the right foods and supporting supplements, will open the elimination channels and over time allow the cells to release the toxic buildup.

By this description it sounds as though the Paleo diet CAN help detox, since it eliminates processed foods and sugars, along with grains and legumes.  Take it slowly. don’t go in for the quick fix. By following a healthy eating plan, like the Paleo diet, you will become healthier and naturally detox your body.



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5 Responses to Can The Paleo Diet Help Detox?

  1. Brian Cormack Carr January 8, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Great article, Lila.

    I’m definitely with Susun Weed on this: “Don’t detoxify. Nourish!”

    But it depends what we mean by “detoxify”. People seem to still believe they can “detox” excess fat off their bodies. That’s not going to happen. Eating real food will help with that, and you’re right: paleo *absolutely* will help because it automatically cuts out so many toxins in our food supply….

    • Lila Solnick January 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks Brian!
      Paleo seems to me to be the natural way to detoxify. :)

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    • Lila Solnick January 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks for asking. Guest articles are welcome as long as they are on health, nutrition, weight loss, fitness or any other topic that can be tied into the paleolithic diet.