Many people are turning to detox diets to get in shape for summer. The lemon detox diet is a popular one on the market but what does it really do to your body?
Nutritionist Joanna McMillan-Price joins TODAY to talk about the detox craze and whether it will even help you lose weight.
"The lemon detox diet is part of an extreme "detoxifying" diet called the Master Cleanse," explains Ms McMillan-Price. "It involves drinking nothing but the lemon concoction made from squeezing lemon juice and mixing it with maple syrup, bottled water and cayenne pepper."
Celebrities such as Beyonce Knowles and Mariah Carey are said to be huge fans of the lemon detox diet however critics say the lemon detox is just another fad diet.
"It's basically a starvation diet," says Ms McMillan-Price. "The basis of this is that you take in less than the daily recommended amount of calories."
"Of course people will lose weight in the short-term because they're not eating," says Ms MacMillan-Price.
"The diet enforces a very low calorie intake which means although they lose weight, they will be losing muscle as well as fat," reveals Ms McMillan-Price. "The diet's website claims that your body never breaks down nutrients it needs, but this is nonsense. If you fast your body long enough, it will take away much-needed nutrients that allow your body to function.
"Another problem with the detox is that the body will sense the sudden loss in calories intake and go into starvation mode," she says. "This means the body starts to store fat for emergencies."
Critics also believe that it's extremely likely that the weight gain will occur quickly after finishing this diet. "They say that any muscle that has been lost will be more likely replaced with fat," she says.
"There are also dangerous side effects associated with the diet," she reveals. "You're likely to feel dizzy, moody and hungry and you'll find it hard to function. When you don't take in enough energy, your body tries to shut down some functions. It goes into starvation mode where it tries to preserve the energy that's left."
"Those who are trying to lose weight should exercise responsibly," according to Ms McMillan-Price. "However, you'll find it incredibly hard to exercise on this diet as you have no energy."
"Your ability to concentrate will also be dramatically reduced and your work performance is likely to suffer," she says.
"You need to think about short-term and long-term goals," suggests Ms McMillan-Price. "As far as long term weight loss goes, a combination of a healthy diet and exercise is the best method of weight loss."
Effects of detox diets
- Short-term weight loss
- Long-term weight gain
- Dramatic side effects
- Makes exercise more difficult