The safety of liver cleansing detox diets remains unknown, as scientific studies of the short-term and long-term effects of detox diets, or fad diets, continues. Liver cleansing diets vary in length and requirements. Some detox diets require periods of fasting or consuming liquid substances, followed by eating only fruits and vegetables and drinking water; potential side effects of these diets includes lethargy, nausea and dehydration.
While some detox diets advocate eating limited quantities of low-calorie foods, others require supplementing dietary intake with supplements, herbs and colon cleansers. Due to the variation in side effects among these products, experts must evaluate the safety of cleansing diets on a case-by-case basis. Most detox diets claim to improve followers' health by helping the kidneys and liver remove toxins. However, according to Mayo Clinic, those organs, provided they work properly, perform those tasks naturally, making a detox diet ineffective.
The benefits of detox diets, experts state, stem primarily from eliminating high-sugar and highly processed foods. Although the safety remains debated for short-term and long-term dieters, some followers report side effects. These effects include fatigue, low energy and nutrient deficiency, while performing colon cleansing may cause cramps, bloating and gastrointestinal problems. Before embarking on a detox diet, health experts recommend consulting with and getting approval from a physician or dietician.