Not all detoxes are "bad". Here’s why.
Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree

Here at Cooking Light, we’ve heard from a lot of readers questioning how a brand that calls itself healthy can promote a 3-day detox. Questions like “Is CL seriously buying into fake medicine?”, as well as comments suggesting we’re using the new year to capitalize on the quest for a quick fix rather than health.     

Our editors take a lot of pride in making sure any health recommendations are science-based, as well as being upfront on the abundance (or lack of) supporting research. So why are we promoting a detox or cleanse? Let me share our reasoning, as well as address a few misconceptions.

First, we wholeheartedly agree that living on lemon water for a week—or even two days—isn’t healthy at all. Even though “diet” may be in our name, the Cooking Light brand and philosophy is about enjoying delicious food in healthy moderation. You’ll never see us advocating the elimination of food groups, recommending ridiculously low calories, or suggesting liquid-only meal plans.

Second, we aren’t suggesting that the body has a buildup of toxins or that specific foods are needed to “clean” the body.  Our bodies are routinely exposed to toxins in things like cleaning supplies, food, and our environments, but this is a key reason we have a liver—to change toxins into less harmful substances and get them out of the body. The liver does a pretty phenomenal job at this, and foods can’t compete with what the body is already doing on its own.

So if this leaves you even more confused as to why we’d promote a “detox”, here’s why: Our detox doesn’t mean starvation or crazy food combinations. Instead, detox here at Cooking Light means using meals and snacks made with whole, nutrient-dense foods as a way to break “toxic” food habits (things like late-night snacking or daily coffee bar visits) and to eliminate unnecessary extras like added sugars and highly processed foods. By getting back to the basics of healthy eating, it becomes easier to identify less healthy habits that may have inadvertently become part of your daily routine and to develop a game plan to change them.

With millions of people looking for ways to change their eating habits each year, many try detoxes and cleanses. We saw an opportunity to get into that space and craft a short plan that would actually help you to feel better, eat healthier, and change behaviors long-term, while also getting all the nutrients you need, and eating delicious, enjoyable meals.