• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

True detox: What to cut out of your diet

February 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
You hear about fad detoxes that help cleanse your body and lose weight fast, but they may not really be giving your body the break you are looking for.

It's hard to believe, but your body doesn't need a day off when it comes to all of its processes. Rather than a juice fast or a Master Cleanse, how about detoxing your body by getting rid of some of these.

Check an ingredient list in processed food, and not only will you see sugar, salt and fat to increase flavor, but no doubt you'll see preservative and colors that don't come from nature. Some studies show these extras raise insulin, which can lead to weight gain.

With that in mind, experts suggest taking aspartame, saccharin and sucralose out of your day along with chemical binders labeled monodiglycerides or diglycerides. Not that you'd choose them, but it's often found in baked goods and ice cream.

And then there's sugar. Some occur naturally like milk and fruit sugars, which are safe, but added sugars can increase belly fat so the "less is best" rule applies here.

So if sugar, fructose or agave is one of the first three in the ingredient list - choose another.

You can also clean up your act by choosing whole grain foods, as refined flour has been stripped of many nutrients.

A good rule is to have three grams of naturally-occurring fiber per 100 calories.

And when it comes to salt, most come from restaurant and processed foods. Try lemon and spices at home.

Ample studies, including a University of Georgetown Medical School report, say there is no evidence that colon cleanses actually detox the body, speed weight loss, or boost energy.

In some cases, they did more harm than good, causing cramping, nausea, diarrhea and electrolyte imbalance.

The so-called Master Cleanse of maple syrup, water, cayenne pepper and lemon, provides sugary energy but little else. Experts say this is not a solution.

If you decide not to add any extra salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol or processed foods to your diet for a week, you'll make your body pretty happy.