Fitness + Well-being

Are Cleanses Dangerous?

iMag's nutritionist breaks it down.


Cleanses and detox diets may be fast fixes for weight loss, but are you putting your body at risk? Registered Dietitian Marlene Carneiro talked to Fox News Magazine about the possible dangers of cleansing and broke down four of the most popular detox diets.

According to Carneiro, some of the dangers associated with cleansing include putting yourself at risk for dehydration, mood alterations, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, irregular heartbeats and bad interactions with some medications. In addition, many of the cleanses include a laxative, which can put your body at risk for infection. The FDA does not approve these “natural cleansing products,” so there is no way to verify their potency level, their purity, or that they are actually safe.

But if you're going to cleanse, what's the safest option? Carneiro broke down the pros and cons of four popular cleanses.

1. The Master Cleanse

The Master Cleanse is a 10 to 14 day liquid diet consisting of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. In addition, there’s a laxative that’s taken every night. There are serious risks associated with the Master Cleanse including dehydration, lack of nutrients and loss of body mass. In addition, the chances of keeping the weight off are slim, so there are almost no pros to the Master Cleanse. Costs of the Master Cleanse depend on the prices at your local grocery store.

2. Blue Print Cleanse

The Blue Print Cleanse is another liquid diet that can last anywhere from 2 to 10 days. There are various different juices to choose from in the Blue Print Cleanse, and because they’re fruit juices, there are some nutrients involved in this diet. Yet, because there is minimal food and protein consumed, you again run the risks of dehydration, lack of nutrients and loss of body mass. Another downside to the Blue Print Cleanse is that it costs a whopping $65 per day, plus shipping and handling depending on your location.

3. Clean Diet

If you choose the Clean Diet, you’ll consume smoothies, soups and tea throughout the day. You will also be allowed some proteins such as nuts or seeds as an added snack. This can be a short-term or long-term diet, as it’s advocated as a healthy lifestyle. The Clean Diet is more nutritionally sound than the Master Cleanse and the Blue Print Cleanse, as it emphasizes the need for protein and incorporates food into the mix. Yet, the Clean Diet is not a suitable long-term fix. Costs will depend on prices at your local grocery store.

4. Fat Flush Diet

The Fat Flush Diet is the most realistic approach to a detox diet. You can make this a short or long-term diet, as it’s approached as a lifestyle change. You’ll drink protein-rich shakes for breakfast and lunch, while dinner will consist of a protein such as salmon or grilled chicken. For snacks throughout the day, you’ll be allowed fruits and vegetables. You won’t face the loss of lean muscle mass with the Fat Flush Diet, as it accounts for protein and incorporates fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. But is having shakes for breakfast and lunch a long-term option for you? Costs for the Fat Flush Diet will also depend on prices at your local grocery store.