The What, Why, and How of the Detox Diet (Plus A 3-Day Detox Diet Plan)

Widely promoted as a quick-fix for all those struggling with weight loss, detox diets have gotten a bad rap among healthcare experts because of the lack of scientific evidence regarding their benefits. However, it’s not all bad.

While you are likely to experience some problems if you put yourself on a highly restrictive diet or just consume juices (as many popular ‘detox’ diets require you to do), there are ways to detoxify your system in healthy manners.

Before we go into the details of how you can detoxify your body and reboot your system in a healthy way, let’s first discuss the concept of the detox diet for those who aren’t aware of it.

What Is a Detox Diet?

Detox has lately become a buzzword in the commercial health and wellness industry that relies on offering ‘quick fixes’ to the public. A number of detox diets have surfaced, each making huge health claims and tall promises. But, the concept of detoxifying the body isn’t new. It’s been around for a very long time, probably thousands of years.

However, before it became associated with food, the word detox or the process of detoxification was only used for the medical treatments and procedures that are used to treat drug addicts. Performed in a hospital setting, detox treatments are used to eliminate alcohol and/or drugs from a patient’s body.

Detox diets are also based on a similar concept. But, instead of removing drugs from the body, they are aimed at removing all forms of toxins from a person’s body. In simple words, a detox diet is used to cleanse and reset the internal systems of the body to improve overall health and wellness.

Here, the word toxins refer to the harmful chemical substances that enter our body via food and the environment. These include preservatives, additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, drugs, medicines, heavy metals, and a number of harmful chemicals from food packaging, household cleaners and detergents, and pollution.

How Do Detox Diets Work?

While there is a lack of scientific explanation regarding how detox diets work, its proponents claim that they help improve and optimize the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Detox diet plans attempt to eliminate (or at least limit) potentially harmful substances from your food, which means you are preventing a large number of toxins from entering your body. On the other hand, the consumption of healthy foods ensures that your body continues to get healthy nutrients to support its natural detoxification process.

Simply put, detox diets are aimed at giving the body a break from all the complex and potentially harmful foods, so it can heal itself.

Even if you are not able to follow a detox diet for a long time, the argument that most people raise against the detox diets, you can improve your health by letting your body detox for short periods of time, frequently.

How to Know If a Detox Diet Is Right for You

While everyone can benefit from following a detox diet, it is specifically beneficial to people experiencing any of the following problems:

  • You have been suffering from digestive issues for a while. These may include constipation, bloating, or indigestion.
  • You have skin problems, such as acne, frequent breakouts, rashes, dry skin, or irritation. More often than not, skin problems are signs of internal problems. But, unfortunately, most people continue to treat them topically while ignoring what your body is trying to tell you.
  • You always feel tired or lack energy.
  • You are almost always craving sweet foods.

How to Choose the Right Detox Plan

There’s a huge variety of detox plans available out there. But, most of them require you to eliminate various food groups and rely on only a few or even one food item, such as juices. Furthermore, many of them include gulping down abundant quantities of the so-called miracle drinks.

This is, undoubtedly, an entirely wrong approach and you shouldn’t follow any such diet, no matter the results it promises to offer. They will only starve your body of essential nutrients, causing you more harm than good.

The right detox diet is one that only eliminates (or limits) potentially harmful substances from your diet while offering the healthy nutrients the body needs to function properly.

3-Day Healthy Detox Diet Plan

To help you get started, here is a three-day detox diet plan that doesn’t involve starving yourself or following a highly restrictive diet. With this diet plan, you are only eliminating harmful substances from your food while supplying it with all the essential nutrients.

Day 1


A cup of Irish or steel-cut oats (measured after cooking) topped with 1 cup of berries and 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.

*Fresh berries are preferred, but you can also use the frozen ones. Just make sure they do not contain any added sugar.

Mid-Morning Snack

Half cup of yogurt (plain and non-fat) with 2 tablespoons of any high-fiber natural cereal and half a banana.


4-ounce grilled chicken with a green salad, containing baby spinach (or any other salad greens), red onion, 8 to 10 red grapes and 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds.

The salad can be dressed with fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

You can also take half of a 6-inch whole-wheat pita.

Evening Snack

One green apple with one ounce of cheddar cheese.


A 5-ounce piece of baked fish (preferably tilapia or cod), seasoned with sea salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil, along with steamed broccoli and half a cup of brown rice.

 Day 2


Omelet made with 3 egg whites, half a cup of sliced onions and tomatoes (or any other vegetable), and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan.

Half a grapefruit and one navel orange.

Mind-Morning Snack

A slice of whole-grain bread topped with 1 tablespoon of 100% natural almond or peanut butter.


A 5-ounce fillet of grilled or poached salmon over a bed of dark green lettuce or baby arugula and topped with fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Take about half a cup of chickpeas or garbanzo beans on the side.

Evening Snack

Half a cup of berries (preferably fresh, but you can also use the frozen ones) topped with half a cup of 1% cottage cheese.


A broiled patty made with 4-ounce ground lean sirloin beef or turkey with a whole-wheat English muffin. Top the burger with sautéed onions and mushrooms and have it with a large serving of mixed green salad.

The salad can be topped with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Day 3


One cup non-fat plain yogurt (preferably Greek) mixed with a cup of berries, 2 tablespoons of an all-natural high-fiber cereal and 2 tablespoons of flax seeds.

Mid-Morning Snack

A hard-boiled egg and a handful of baby carrots.


A wrap made with a 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla, 2 slices of tomato, ¼ of an avocado, 2 slices of mozzarella cheese (part-skim), 1 roman lettuce leaf, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

15 to 20 green or purple grapes.

Evening Snack

One cup skim or soy milk, along with an-ounce (about 20) raw almonds.


A 5-ounce piece of skinless and boneless chicken breast baked with 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of green olives or capers. Take a corn salad on the side.

To make the salad, simply mix a cup of corn, ¼ cup black beans, and 1 chopped plum tomato and season them with sea salt and pepper.


This diet plan is based on a 1500 calorie diet. If you need more or less than these calories, simply increase or decrease the portion sizes of each food item. Do not skip any item or meal.


The detox diet may lack scientific backing, but there’s no harm in giving it a try. After all, it’s all about eating healthy, which is good for your body in any case.

But, do not fall prey to any plan that puts you on a highly restrictive diet as it can cause you to suffer from nutritional deficiencies.