Instead, explains Dr. Rhonda Low, a Vancouver family physician, "because the regimens are usually very restrictive and very low in calories, weight loss occurs because of initial water loss and the extreme caloric restriction—not from flushing toxins from our bodies." In addition to water loss, you may lose some lean body tissue or muscle and just a small amount of fat. While the water can be regained almost overnight, the muscle loss can lead to a slower metabolism—which may make you more apt to gain weight in the long run.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase fat loss while maintaining lean muscle mass. In one four-week study, researchers concluded that a fasting diet resulted in greater weight loss — while maintaining muscle mass — than participants following a low-calorie diet. This happened even though the total calorie intake over the four weeks was similar in both groups[*].
"The term 'detox' has become a buzzword that is often misused by the media and consumers," says Jackie Armstrong, MPH, RDN, EP-C. Jackie is a Performance & Wellness Nutritionist at Stanford University and the founder of Well-Fueled.com. She says that detox diets are often misunderstood. "Our organs and tissues are constantly in a state of detoxification — getting rid of unwanted substances produced by the body or from our environment." She goes on to explain that research is lacking to support the effectiveness of most detox diets.