ask our dietitian your question todaythe best diet cleanse


I was wondering if there was a recommended method for a “cleanse.” Either a specific product or a process you would recommend. I heard that these cleanses are useful because most people have undigested food in their stomach? I was also wondering if a “cleanse” is useful in weight loss? –Alberto C.



There is no optimal method for a cleanse. Some are meant to be colon cleanses, others are for “detoxification.”

Whether it be product-driven or whole foods-based, cleanses tend to actually be modified fasts in disguise.

Sure, one could eat 2,000 calories from fish, asparagus and cucumber, but realistically that’s not going to happen. The weight loss one sees in a 1-3 day period is mostly water weight, as the body liberates water that is bound to carbohydrates stored in your body, which are then released for fuel.

Expect to drink a lot of fluid to replace this water and fill you up, not just “flush” you out.

CLICK HERE to read more about cleanses and detox diets.

In regards to your comment about undigested food in the stomach, I need to clarify a physiological FACT here.

Food does not sit in your stomach, but is constantly churned, mixed with secretions and gradually emptied into the intestines.

So perhaps you were referring to the intestines?

Even so, food moves along a healthy gut being digested by enzymes as it goes, until it reaches the large intestine (colon). Here the colon absorbs water and prepares undigested food waste for removal, a process needing only a gentle laxative for most with constipation. Gut microflora are essential to a healthy intestinal tract. Probiotics from yeast, fermented foods and cultured milk products should be enough to keep the gut microflora active. If your diet lacks these, probiotic supplements may be advisable.

Detoxification a concern? The body does a grand job of removing toxins in the gut by binding them to fiber and eliminating them, plus the liver naturally does a lot to process absorbed toxins. The key here is a mainly plant-based diet that’s rich in fiber, micronutrients and water. It should be limited in processed food, added sugar and free of alcohol and caffeine.

A day of eating “pure” or “clean” is optimal if nutrient needs are met.  It can be helpful as a jump start to making permanent changes in dietary habits and lifestyle.

Directly, cleanses do not help with burning fat or weight control. They are even detrimental used long term. Modified fasts, or very low calorie plans, may actually contribute to weight gain – rebound weight gain once the plan is complete or the product is no longer used.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?

Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below. To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



Be the first to know about exclusive

content, deals and promotions

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This