Should You Detox?


image courtesy of Christopher Boswell/

Are you considering a detoxifying cleanse after all that holiday feasting? While there are many different types of cleanses it can be hard to decide which one is right for your body, and whether it's even worth it. Because, really, who wants to give up bread, pasta, and sugar? We spoke with New York City-based nutritionist Melissa Paris, and learned that while a cleanse is a great way to hit the reset button on your body, it isn't going to change your life.

There are a slew of detoxifying cleanses (and diets) on the market. From the juice cleanse to the no-carbs or sugar diet, plenty of dietitians, nutritionists, and companies are telling you to purge yourself of unwanted chemicals and bad food. But which one is the best? "I believe the juice cleanse is the best for your body," says Melissa. “A juice cleanse will ensure you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs and not missing out on anything.”

So what about those other detox plans? "Cutting out carbs and sugar for a week is not going to do your body any good, as you need these nutrients to function properly," says Melissa. Nor is going on a program that only allows you to eat or drink only one thing, such as the infamous spicy lemonade Master Cleanse. Your body won't be getting essential vitamins or minerals, which can make you seriously ill. "The best cleanse is to cut out all sugar, alcohol, and caffeine from your diet for just two to three days—but no longer," says Melissa. "You can still eat regular food, but the short break from those addictive foods will give your body time to recharge and heal itself. A cleanse is never going to completely change your lifestyle habits, cause significant weight loss, or make you a whole new person.” You should think of it as hitting the reset button on your body and giving it a vacation—just like when you take a mental break from the everyday stresses of work. Instead of being an instant fix, a cleanse just gives you enough time to stop the cravings you have for unhealthy foods—such as cookies, chips, or anything that contains mostly processed sugar and chemicals—and start a new, healthier lifestyle that you should work on all year long.

Melissa Paris is a New York City-based personal trainer and nutritionist. She has a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Montclair State University and is actively involved in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Association. Her philosophy emphasizes long-term results through challenging and varied workouts. She strives to focus on positivity, self-empowerment, and enjoyment throughout her process. Follow her on twitter @melissa_paris for fitness and healthy eating tips!