Detox is an abbreviation for detoxification. Since the beginning of the 20th century, various forms of detox cures as well as diets have been recommended.
Fasting cures and diets range from unbalanced nutrition to colonic irrigation. Nowadays you can find a new, supposedly effective detox cure for detoxification or weight loss in almost every lifestyle magazine.
Detoxification of what?
All one can say about detoxing is, better not! Acute poisoning (overdose) is life-threatening and a medical emergency. Chronic poisoning is usually caused by generally known substances, e.g: nicotine, alcohol, drugs etc. Apart from this, the most common type of poisoning in Germany is carbon monoxide poisoning.
Some see a drainpipe or a blast furnace with slag. Time for detox, isn't it?
Detox and the purifying process
For detoxification: From a medical point of view, a healthy person needs neither detoxification nor purification. Science clearly contradicts the approach of detoxification. Diet plans and cures are often based on an outdated understanding of the human body.
The human intestine is not a kind of drainpipe where pollutants accumulate or even block the passage. Our intestine is surrounded everywhere by muscles that keep the digestive organ constantly in motion. In addition, the inner wall of the human intestine consists of cells that constantly produce mucus. This mucosa guarantees firstly that our body absorbs the nutrients our body needs and secondly that our food passes through the intestine until the useless substances are excreted.
Conclusion about detox or detoxing of the German Society for Nutrition (GSN)
"In a healthy human body there is no accumulation of waste products and deposits of metabolic products. Non-usable substances are excreted through the intestines and kidneys." Quote of the German Society for Nutrition (GSN).
You can lose weight by eating fewer calories than you consume. This so-called "negative energy balance" can be achieved by reducing calorie intake (eating less) or by exercising more (consuming more calories). Ideally by eating fewer calories AND exercising. The risk of any diet is the yoyo effect.
The timing of food intake may be more important than the amount you eat.
This thesis was investigated in 2012 by the US researchers Dr. Satchin Panda and Dr. Amandine Chaix on two mice from the same breed, at the same age and fed the same food in the same quantity. The only difference was that one mouse could eat when it wanted and the other could only eat within a certain period of time.
The result: The mouse which was always allowed to eat, was about twice as thick as the mouse, which could only eat for a limited period of time.
Twice the exact same amount of calories. Only distributed differently: Food intake at all times, mouse on the left. And food intake only in certain hours, mouse on right. (Sketch on a scale of 1:1 based on the study by Dr Panda and Dr Chaix.)
The studies of Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi and his team come to a similar conclusion. The neuroscientist concludes: "When applied to human behavior, these studies suggest that a diet is only effective if calories are consumed during the day when we are awake and active. They also suggest that eating at the wrong time of the night does not lead to weight loss, even with a diet".
Our body is constantly renewing itself. Almost every single cell is constantly replaced. An adult human being is composed of about 10,000 billion cells. They are the building blocks of our bodies. 50 to 70 billion cells die every day. At the same time, the same number are constantly being formed.
The cells of the small intestine renew themselves most quickly. They only filter the nutrients from food for about 36 hours, then they are replaced by new ones. The cells of the uppermost skin layer renew themselves on average every 19.2 days. The red blood cells renew every 120 days.
The cells of the liver need half a year to a whole year. In two years, a healthy liver is completely new. Our skeleton needs about 10 years for this.
Only some cells of the eyes, the brain, the heart and the female oocytes cannot renew themselves or only partially.
Scientists estimate the average age of all cells in an adult to be about seven to ten years.
The natural process of the body - to renew and recycle its cells - is called autophagocytosis or autophagy. This process was researched by the Japanese physician Dr. Yoshinori Ōsumi, who examined the aging or the young remaining of cells. For his scientific studies on the autophagy mechanism, Dr. Yoshinori Ōsumi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2016. He has "dramatically changed the understanding of this vital process", was the reason given by the Nobel Prize Committee. What is autophagy? The term autophagy comes from ancient Greek and means
... "consuming oneself."
Almost every cell in the human body has some kind of mechanism for renewal. If a cell ages or becomes defective, the cell is renewed. In the process, components of the body cell are virtually eaten by themselves and thus recycled and reassembled. Thus, autophagy protects and promotes health, has an anti-aging effect and probably prolongs life. On the other hand, physicians assume that too little or no autophagy contributes to degenerative cells and degenerative diseases and that infections can more easily attack the body. So much for the theory. In practice, a different question arises.
The autophagy mechanism can be started consciously and deliberately by anyone through interval fasting or intermittent fasting. Polyphenols - secondary plant substances - from e.g. tea can additionally support the process of natural cell renewal and cell recycling. Also exercise, sport and sufficient sleep. In practice it is an interaction of the components.
Autophagy: our body cells renew and recycle themselves.
Our ancestors were always focused on periods of fasting because not at every time an animal was shot or fruit was found. Food was eaten whenever there was food and often as much as possible - also to build up reserves for possible periods of hunger. If there was nothing to eat, the body provided itself from these (fat) reserves.
Humans still possess this mechanism. Today, food is available at any time due to the ongoing production and preservation. However, our body still functions as it used to. For this reason, intermittent fasting or interval fasting is also a good and effective method for people today.
The body needs energy. It gets its energy first from carbohydrates. These are lighter, faster and easier for the body to use. Only after the carbohydrate stores are empty does the body fall back on the fats and convert them into energy.
This form of fasting is much more complex for the body, so that it starts burning fat only about 12 hours after the last meal.
To achieve a targeted weight reduction, a period of 16 hours is recommended. Only then you can be sure that everything has been digested, the energy stores are empty and the (fat) reserves are being used up. That is when the body actively reduces its weight.
Anyone who fasts for at least 16 hours a day uses fat and therefore loses weight.
There are different models of intermittent fasting. Which type is best for you depends on your physical condition, the usual daily routine and your preferences.
Everyone can choose the method that suits them best. In general, the 16:8 method is preferred and practiced. There is only one thing that is the same for each intermittent fasting method: During fasting only water and tea are allowed. No milk (milk sugar), fruit juices (fruit sugar). Attention with smoothies with hidden sugar!
The method with which most people start their intermittent fasting and probably the one which can be easily implemented in everyday life. Those who are usually more in the evening simply skip breakfast. Those who can't start the day without breakfast simply skip dinner.
The fasting phase lasts 16 hours. During the remaining 8 hours of the day you can eat as usual.
5/2 days method
With this interval fasting you can eat what you want five days a week. Calories are not counted. Everything is allowed. The remaining two days of the week is fasting. Ideal if you want to gently ease your digestion or lose weight. The two fasting days should not be consecutive. A maximum of 500 - 600 kcal is allowed. Carbohydrates such as bread, noodles and sugar should be taboo.
Eat-stop-eat intermittent fasting
A very simple method: eat one day, fast one day (max. 500 kcal). Always alternating, for example on even days or the odd days. On the day of fasting, the food consists of water, unsweetened tea, possibly also pure vegetable broths.
The advantage of intermittent fasting: outside the fasting phase you can eat whatever you want.
24 hour of fasting
Do it maximum 1-2 days per week but not on consecutive days. On the fasting day there is no food except water, unsweetened tea and vegetable teas (vegetable broths).
36/12 hour fasting method
Here you can eat anything you want for one day. Overnight and the next day, you don't eat anything. Food is not eaten until the next day after that, starting with breakfast. This method requires a certain persistence and is rather for advanced practitioners.
20/4 hour fasting
Similarly to the 36/12 method but compressed to one day. You only eat for four hours a day. Like the 36/12 hour method, it isn’t for beginners as it is difficult to keep up with such a long period of fasting.
Most popular is the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting
Doctors advise to simply skip one meal in the morning or evening. With the bedtime you automatically gain a few hours during which you don't eat anyway.
Whoever has breakfast at 10 o’clock, should eat his last meal at 6p.m.
The ones who have dinner at 8p.m. should schedule their breakfast to noon.
The 16/8 method is flexible. The fasting or meal times can be adjusted according to individual requirements and wishes.
Important: research currently assumes that the autophagy process does not begin until the 12 to 14 hours without food!
What are polyphenols? Polyphenols are secondary plant compounds that are particularly found in tea. Tea leaves are very rich in tea polyphenols. Their dry weight can be up to 30 % consist of polyphenols.
Polyphenols include flavanols, which can be equated with the important catechins. About 80 percent of the total polyphenol content of green tea consists of catechins. Catechins are said to be strong antioxidants and are ten times more potent against oxygen radicals than vitamin C and β-carotene.
Green tea: 30% polyphenols, catechins, antioxidants and radical scavengers ... and appetite killers.
Furthermore, tea consists of flavonols, which are said to prevent heart attacks and strokes, and other good substances such as tanning agents. In total, green tea, for example, has more than 2000 known different types of polyphenols. Vegetables and turmeric also contain a lot of polyphenols.
Attention with ready-to-drink drinks and mixtures of teas or vegetable teas or also ginger drinks: Sugar (also fruit sugar and/or lactose) or sugar substitutes stop the autophagy!
The reason: the body receives carbohydrates and immediately switches to the substances that are easier to process.
These teas are rich in polyphenols and support autophagy
The WHO (World Health Organization) has published a worldwide guideline on this: The experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise in one week. Moderate exercise can be brisk walking, cycling or swimming. As an alternative, 75 minutes of higher-intensity exercise is recommended, such as jogging or team sports.
For a noticeable improvement in health, you should double the time: 300 minutes per week. People who exercise for this long improve the performance of their heart and lungs and strengthen their muscles.
Anyone who sees 10.000 steps a day as the basic rule for exercise should do some research. You will come across an advertising campaign by a Japanese manufacturer of pedometers from the 60s. The number is said to have been rounded up because of its 'catchy form'. Doctors nowadays consider it to be too high.
In our busy times sleep is increasingly seen as a kind of inactive time. This is a big mistake! Especially during sleep, what has been learned is stored in the memory, the muscles grow and regenerate and new impressions are processed, which is important for the psyche. Science recommends about eight hours a day. By the way, there can be no such thing as too much sleep. A healthy person who is not tired will not fall asleep either.
During the fasting phase one should refrain from eating at all. Water and teas as well as herbal and vegetable tea mixtures are allowed. You should definitely pay attention to sugar or sweeteners! Often there are substances hidden in artificial sweeteners that stimulate the appetite.
No matter whether natural sugars, fruit sugars, lactose or artificial sweeteners: these interrupt the autophagy!
Furthermore, the tea should not be mixed with milk (attention: lactose or animal proteins). Although it is unlikely that green tea or white tea will be mixed with milk, it is worth knowing. Some people like to drink a Matcha Latte.
It seems that everyone has his or her own little remedy to survive in everyday life or to escape from it. Alcohol, nicotine, tablets or excessive consumption of meat as well as sweets put a strain on the body.
A break from these negative habits is good for the body and also creates awareness of the bad habits. Often these have crept in slowly and one no longer really perceives the extent in everyday life. Many people only notice how much their lives are or have been influenced by them when they completely give up.
This time-out can be a new awareness and the beginning of a new, healthier, self-chosen way of life - in a completely natural, almost automatic way.
Pregnant women should not fast, as well as women while breastfeeding. Furthermore, interval fasting is not recommended for people with eating disorders. Fasting should be discussed with a doctor if you are taking medication or have acute infections.
A molecular biological conclusion on fasting:
If you only eat within a certain period of time, you can achieve many improvements. The inflammation factors in the body decrease. Harmful abdominal fat is reduced. The heart rhythm normalizes. Falling and staying asleep follow the course of the day. Digestion improves. And you feel younger, fitter, more alive.
And the spiritual effect of fasting?
Researchers know from molecular biology studies that spiritual people are generally happier and tend to live longer than other. It doesn't matter whether it's yoga or meditation in a church: the parasympathetic nerve - the resting nerve - is activated during the exercises or meditations and makes regeneration processes in the body work.
The ideal time to start with intermittent fasting is not complicated.
Some say the best start for a cure is now. So, to start at the moment you think about it, when you feel the first impulse (you should at least start planning).
Biologically speaking, the time of change from winter to spring is the best time to start. This is the time when you wake up from hibernation and your body is revived, your mind becomes awake, the spring feelings awaken…
The ideal start of intermittent fasting: the transformation from melatonin to serotonin
In the pineal gland, in the centre of our brain, serotonin is converted into melatonin. In winter, due to the longer darkness, 80% more melatonin (the sleep hormone) is produced than in summer. This explains why people tend to be sluggish in winter.
The transformation is carried out by enzymes that are influenced by light. When the days become brighter, the brain automatically produces more serotonin. As a result, you become more active again. This energy can be used to begin interval fasting. The autophagy (cell renewal) will make you more awake and fresh.
The beautiful spring weather, the higher temperatures and the airier clothes offer even more motivation.
An important notice:
This information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognised doctors. The tips, information, instructions and products on this site cannot replace a visit to a doctor. Furthermore, they do not replace a medical diagnosis, medical advice or treatment. Our articles are for information purposes only. They have been carefully researched, but we cannot accept any liability for the accuracy of all information. Please consult your doctor if you have any complaints. Following any tips is at your own risk.