'Cleanses' like these ultimately do your body more harm than good, says Orla Walsh.
If you’ve been watching Kim Kardashian’s Insta Stories at all lately, you might be aware that she’s currently doing a 10-day ‘cleanse’ before the Met Gala on May 7.
The plan she is following bills itself as a ‘full body detox’ and includes strict snacks, meals, and meal-replacement shakes.
On Friday, she tweeted that she had lost five pounds in four days, and jokingly asking her followers to ‘pray for her’ as she embarked on a liquid-only diet for three days:
Today is day 4 of the cleanse and I am 5 lbs down. I didn’t see any weight difference until today so that’s motivation I needed today. I am only 5’3 so this makes a big difference and for the next 3 days it’s all liquids. Pray for me please ?
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 20, 2018
Dietician Orla Walsh has said that it is ‘irresponsible’ of Kim to promote this type of diet, and warned Irish women against following her lead.
She told STELLAR that ‘detox’ and faddy diets are often built around incorrect or incomplete theories – you don’t need to ‘cleanse’ your body, because it’s doing it already itself.
Our body will naturally detox itself all day, every day. Although many organs are involved in the detoxifying process, the bulk of the work is brilliantly done by our two kidneys and liver. In order to help our body to detoxify itself, you need to drink an adequate amount of water, which is about two litres for most people. You do not need to buy pills, lotions or potions to help this occur.
“Usually [detox diets] involve strict dos and don’ts. If something is restrictive, it’s difficult to stick with over a longer period of time,” Orla says. “If we eat healthily and are active, our body will reflect this. There is no quick solution.”
Orla says that most of the five pounds Kim claims to have lost after four days of this ‘cleanse’ are made up of water and carbohydrate stores, which are very important to the body:
Carbohydrates are to our body as petrol is to a car. The further we move, the faster we move and the more frequently we move, the more carbohydrates we need to eat. When we eat very little carbohydrate in a few days, our body uses up the carbohydrate we have stores within our muscles, and lose the water that is stored with it.
There are a growing number of people with disordered eating in Ireland, and messages like Kim’s feed into this disorder, says Orla.
She advises anyone who wants to safely lose weight to first figure out if they have any excess weight to lose. “Far too many women are striving to be a half a stone lighter, even though their body is healthy just as it is,” she says.
“It’s imperative to protect your metabolism by avoiding extreme calorie deficits… By cutting out a whole food group, the risk of affecting your long-term health is greater.”
It’s also incredibly important to preserve muscle and bone tissue when losing weight. Although about 40% of our muscles are in our arms and legs, 60% is internal and makes up the likes of our heart, gut and other internal organs. We cannot ever afford to lose this tissue.
“Treat your body with more respect than your phone – after all, a phone can be mended or replaced, but in most instances a body cannot.”
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