Detox diets and cleanses

Today Show personality Al Roker reported this morning on “detox” dieting with the help of Today’s diet and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom.  Ms. Ferstrom pointed out that our bodies have built-in systems to eliminate waste products and other “toxins” and these systems include our liver, kidneys, lungs and skin. She also provided the sound, if nonspecific, advice to “avoid extremes”  and “talk to your doctor” and also reminded us that the beneficial bacteria in our large intestines can be disturbed by colon “cleanses” (a nice word for enemas).

Mr. Roker, over the years, has been very public about his various attempts to lose and control his weight and was on the cover of People Magazine in 2002 holding up a pair of jeans that no longer fit because he lost 100 pounds after stomach (gastric) bypass surgery. Other public figures who have undergone bariatric surgery include American Idol’s Randy Jackson, lawyer and TV personality Star Jones, singer Carnie Wilson, vampire writer Ann Rice and America’s Got Talent’s Sharon Osbourne. [Note: Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.]

alroker tweeted about four hours ago about his own recent detox/cleanse. Al isn’t the only Today Show host that has experimented with these controversial health regimens. Co-host Meredith Viera talks about her own detox last October which she apparently did under the supervision of the same Chicago-based nutritionist that Al interviewed this morning.

We have blogged before about various aspects of “detox” diets and you might want to check out these earlier posts:

Recently, we teamed up with a group of doctors and researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston University and MIT to develop a brand new approach to dieting, “picturing your diet” with a free iPhone app called PhotoCalorie. This app works with any diet plan and the web site includes authoritative health and nutrition resources as well as a blog that posts information on the latest diet and exercise research.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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