Detox diets: The truth behind popular detox diets like Martha's Vineyard and Dr. Joshi

Do detox diets really work, and are they safe? Find out more about popular detox diets like the Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox and Dr. Joshi's Holistic Detox, plus get detox diet safety tips and find out how to pick the right detox diet for you.

Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox Program
Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox Program, formulated by Terry Willard, a Canadian clinical herbalist

What it is: A herb-based detox kit with three supplements, Biliherb, Laxaherb and Cleansaherb, and a liquid tincture, CL Herbal Extract. The suggested basic diet consists of specific lists of foods, only certain portions of which you can eat during the day.

Twelve days (twice a year)

Helps your body eliminate toxic material, dramatically increasing energy and sense of well-being.

The theory behind it:
By detoxifying every spring and fall, your body's natural channels of elimination (liver, colon, etc.) and metabolic processes (how we break down foods, etc.) are able to function more efficiently.

There are enough foods on the list to create healthy, tasty meals over a 12-day period, though no dairy is allowed.

Most outrageous claim:
None. This is a simple guide with no exaggerated (or weight-loss) claims.

What the experts say:
Afsoun Khalili, naturopath and clinic faculty member at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, says a few herbs in the kit, such as dandelion root, are believed to help detoxify the liver. However, she's concerned about others: the cascara sagrada bark in the Laxaherb may cause explosive diarrhea in some people; the red clover in the Cleansaherb functions like estrogen in the body and is given to perimenopausal women to balance hormones (begging the question, Why is it in the kit?), and the licorice root in the CL Herbal Extract should not be taken by anyone with high blood pressure. Her verdict: "People shouldn't go out and buy a herbal detox diet just because they want to cleanse and because the products are all-natural and supposedly safe. They should always consult with their health-care provider."

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