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Cleanses, detoxes and supplements that guarantee weight loss: Why you aren’t seeing long term results

I love face masks. There is nothing as relaxing to me after a long day than washing off my makeup and applying a nicely scented mask while enjoying my view of the ocean, perhaps with a cocktail. However, one face mask can’t erase a pimple, just-like one supplement, detox or cleanse doesn’t guarantee maintainable weight loss or good health. 

Tonight while I sat looking over Magens Bay beach, I couldn’t help but think about this mask on my face and how it represents an industry I am constantly fighting against as a Registered Dietitian. Am I being a hypocrite by supporting companies that often use pseudo-scientific claims  and scare tactics to make a profit?

What cleanses, detox, and diet supplements are the best?

Health and Wellness companies generally offer us outrageous claims that their products can “aid or help” in healing or preventing all sorts of ailments. We have all seen the claims that a product prevents breakouts, aids in glucose control, or helps you lose belly fat. These companies may imply if one doesn’t use their product he or she will inevitably develop some horrible condition. This scare tactic is used to trick consumers into thinking they need vitamin supplements and detoxes to be healthy. However, these products rarely live up to their claims, which, frankly, don’t mean as much as they sound. 

None of the cleanses, detoxes or diet supplements on the market are necessary for really, anyone. I won’t go into details why in this post, but your body does not need to “cleanse or detox” to remove so-called toxins. A key principal of toxicology is “the dose makes the poison.” Meaning any and every chemical can be toxic depending on the amount.

While the statements made by beauty and wellness companies may not be completely unscientific, there are no vitamins that miraculously control your blood sugar while eating high amounts of added-sugar and refined carbs with every meal.

For an example of how the wellness industry uses science to sell products, think about the numerous stem-cell skin products showing up on drug store shelfs. These cleansers and creams claim to “turn the clock back 20 years”.

Stem cell research has shown us promising advances in medical science, however the research in this area is still in the beginning stages. Our abilities are currently far behind what most of these companies claim their products can do. Not to mention, there is no guarantee your $9 bottle, or even your $100 bottle, actually contains stem cells. These products are not classified as drugs and do not have to under-go FDA-approval before going to market.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting this mask to create the miracle the bottle insinuates and turn back the clock 10 years after 3 uses. However, the ritual is therapeutic and one I have come to repeat a few times per week for over ten years.

Plus! I like to believe I have suffered some anti-aging benefits over the years; not preventing the formation of wrinkles and age spots completely but hopefully slowly their development some-what… if not from the face mask itself but from the stress-reducing ritual.

A cleanse is the body’s face mask

So how is a face mask similar to fad-diets, supplements and the wellness industry as a whole?  Lets examine the actual benefits versus the perceived benefits of my face mask to learn more…

Actual Benefits of this facemask

  • The cool feeling of the mask is relaxing and refreshing on a hot caribbean evening contributing to stress-reduction
  • Helps to hydrate my skin resulting in a softer feeling texture immediately after use (which eventually fades)
  • With continued use of face masks, I may be able to help prevent my skin from becoming too dry reducing the appearance of wrinkles, reduce the occurrence of breakouts through regular exfoliation, and decrease my stress levels through a regular relaxation routine

Perceived benefits, or What this mask will not do

  • Make wrinkles vanish and make me miraculously look like a 17 year old
  • Cure acne overnight or make a pescky pimple disappear in one use
  • Change my face structure or skin color

Change your expectations when it comes to health and wellness products

Recognize that there is no miracle cream or pill. The key to good health is consistency. A beauty product or supplement may support you on your journey to good heath, but it is only part of the package.

For example, if you currently only eat fruits or vegetables 3-4 days each week taking a multi-vitamin will assure you are getting the nutrients you need while you make habit changes and increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. However, just because you take a multi-vitamin daily doesn’t mean you can eat a hamburger and fries at every meal and never develop heart disease or diabetes. Supplements should not replace whole food groups in your diet!

Remember these dietary supplements and beauty products are not FDA approved and there is no guarantee you are actually purchasing what is on the label. For all you know, that $90 bottle of weight loss pills is just a $5 multi-vitamin with a fancier label slapped on it. You are better off saving that extra money and purchasing high-quality nutrient-dense foods, investing in a gym membership, or signing up for a recreational sports team.

Take Health advice with a grain of salt and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

How does my face mask relate to my diet and nutrition? Just like I shouldn’t expect one face mask to miraculously fix my wrinkles, I can’t expect following a detox or cleanse for a few days will prevent me from re-gaining weight or developing diabetes. It may actually do just the opposite!

Health is about habits and patterns. One food will not make or break your diet. Eating ice cream once doesn’t make you diabetic. Similarly, only eating kale and carrots everyday will lead to protein and fatty acid deficiencies.

When you hear nutrition advice, always ask yourself: “Is this person trying to sell me something?” If so, then they are likely using marketing techniques to sell you on their definition of health and put money in their pockets.

Don’t be willing to spend a fortune on a quick fix, but afraid to do the work and
truly love yourself (What I call being #beachbodypositive!)! Skip the expensive cleanses and gimmicky detox-products this spring and focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes for yourself!

Contact me for more on how to become #BEACHBODYPOSITIVE — No detoxing, cleansing, or supplements required!

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