What Is a Detox? How Do They Work?

What Is a Detox? How Do They Work?

You may have heard of detoxes on TV or online from celebrities, fitness enthusiasts, and dietitians alike. Common detoxes include colon cleanses, enemas, saunas, and juice cleanses. They’re all the rage on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, and plenty of influencers swear by them.

But even when detoxes are trending in the healthcare scene, they’re hardly just a passing fad. Detoxes can revamp your life by significantly supporting your overall health and wellness in just a few days! 

With the number of detox diets and cleanses out there, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is right for you. If you’re looking to know more about detoxes and how they work, we have the information you need to know. 

What Is a Detox?

A detox (also called a cleanse) is a short-term way to flush your body of toxins and reset your system for success. This is done by strictly drinking water, herbal teas, or other liquid meal replacements for a set amount of days. Some popular detox products include smoothie and juice cleanses.

When we are younger, it’s much easier for the body to flush out toxins and waste products on its own. The kidneys and liver are primarily responsible for flushing out harmful elements through sweat, stool, and urine. Both organs remove hazardous materials from the bloodstream and redirect valuable nutrients to the rest of the body. 

While the body is supposed to detoxify itself thanks to the kidneys and liver, sometimes the body becomes overburdened by lingering toxins that overstay their welcome. This means it could take longer for the body's natural detoxification system to work, which can lead to various health problems and side effects. 

With a natural, nutritious detox, you can help support your body’s detoxification process and, in turn, support your overall wellness.

How Do Detoxes Work?

Detoxes typically take at least a few days. You can do a detox from just one day to 10 days or anywhere in between. No matter the time period, you are committed to only consuming nourishing beverages, smoothies, or soups. This makes it easier for the digestive system to process food and helps give the gut a break so it can focus on renewal. 

Throughout the detox, your body may expel toxins through your sweat, urine, and stool. You may produce more waste than you’re used to because of the detox — this is completely normal. After all, you’ll be drinking lots of fluids!

Depending on your detox plan, you may see and feel results after one or two days. You can also feel the full effects by the end of the cleanse.

What Are the Health Benefits of a Detox?

Detoxes don’t exist as a passing trend but as a prevalent and relevant way to restore your body. Detoxes are popular for several reasons, especially because of how they can support your body and mind at once. Here are just a few health benefits you can expect from a detox. 

Supports Energy

If you’ve been feeling sluggish and tired, toxin buildup may be to blame — especiallyif you’ve been eating a lot of processed foods that provide little substance to your body. With these foods, there are few nutrients for the kidneys and liver to extract, and they can end up working overtime to process the extra junk.

When toxins are weighing down your body, they’re most certainly depriving you of energy. If you’ve been feeling fatigued, tired, and downright unmotivated to do anything, you could be burdened with an excess of toxins. 

Toxins can also impact hormone levels in the body, which can affect your stress levels. Stress can erode the body’s ability to maintain its best self and allow for toxins to impact your everyday routines. 

Without cortisol and other toxins disrupting your energy levels, you can pursue a more active and healthy lifestyle. That means right after your cleanse, you may want to find an exercise routine you can stick to and love long-term. 

Encourages Weight Loss

If your hormones or sugar balances are in whack, it can be much harder to lose weight than it should be. Worse, when you crave sugar or carbs all of the time, it can point to a hormonal imbalance that will keep you on a vicious cycle of weight gain. 

During a detox, the body becomes used to consuming lower amounts of food and also becomes used to the steadier and slower metabolic load. When you’re filled up on nutrients on your cleanse, cravings are easier to beat and keep at bay — even after the detox is over. 

One study showed promising results after several women in groups using detoxes were able to support their overall well-being and body goals. Sticking with a healthy diet, exercise regimen, and revisiting cleanses as needed can help you maintain weight loss and help you stay focused on your dietary and weight goals. 

Supports Digestion

Do you have gas all of the time? What about irregular bowel movements, like constipation or diarrhea (or both)?

We often underestimate our gut and the impact it has on both the body and mind. Harmful bacteria can erode the gut’s lining, making it porous and vulnerable to infections. This is where the term leaky gut comes from.

When the gut lining is given space to repair itself, your digestive tract can process food in a way that preserves the nutrients of the food you’re eating. The food won’t be allowed to ferment, which can often be an underlying factor in digestive complaints like gas, nausea, and acid reflux.

If you have unknown food allergies, a detox is a chance to figure out which foods and ingredients may be causing your body distress. By slowly adding foods back into your diet, you can detect which ones are causing issues and eliminate them from your diet permanently.

Promotes Healthy-Looking Skin

Do you feel like your skin isn’t as radiant as it was years ago? That’s a natural part of getting older, but rapid changes or unhealthy-looking skin is always a sign for concern. This can point to the presence of toxins in the body. 

People encounter over 200 different kinds of environmental toxins in their day-to-day life. Pollutants from eating certain foods and even from the environment can disrupt your skin’s protective barriers, leaving you vulnerable to premature aging, breakouts, dullness, and other skin woes.

Detoxes can remove the excess toxins that attack collagen and other proteins, which are what help your skin look youthful and radiant. After a cleanse, you should see changes in the way your skin appears, especially your face. 

Supports Sleep

While detoxes can make you feel energetic, they can also support a good night’s sleep. When the body has space to eliminate sugar from processed foods, you may find it pretty easy to fall asleep. 

Unfortunately, even foods traditionally labeled as healthy alternatives (like whole-wheat bread) turn into sugar once it starts the digestion process. Sugar can disrupt our body’s natural sleep cycle, so when you are able to eliminate it from your body, your nighttime routine may feel easier than ever.

How Can You Detox?

Finding a detox that works for you is important — and you’ll need to commit to the full plan. That means you need something that is fast yet effective. You’ll know that your detox is working by observing the following signs.

On the first day, your body will be adjusting to the absence of solid foods or your favorite go-to snacks. However, you may notice feeling a little more motivated and focused. That’s a beginning sign that your detox is processing. You may also get a decent night’s sleep or at least feel more rested when you wake up in the morning.

By the second or third day, you might feel a bit stronger, and any bloating or other negative digestive problems may subside. It’s possible that your skin may also look brighter and refreshed. 

On the fourth and fifth days, expect your old cravings to dissipate. You may look and feel slimmer, and you may feel much healthier. 

Throughout your detox diet, it’s essential to eat healthy foods, like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, drink plenty of water, and support your well-being with a vitamin and supplementregimen. Hydration, proper nutrition, and positive lifestyle changes can help support the results of your body detox. 

If you want to enjoy the benefits of a detox without the hard work of meal prepping, you may want to try out 5-Day Cleanse and Reset. This cleanse will ship to your door with everything you need for a full cleanse — all you’ll need to do is add water and enjoy the results!

The Bottom Line

Detoxes are a way to reset your body’s health and empty it of harmful substances slowing it down. Cleanses are a brief commitment to consuming only certain beverages, from water only to smoothies and soups. 

Detoxes may have several health benefits, such as weight loss, digestion support, immune system support, sleep support, and the appearance of healthier, younger skin. 

Looking to begin your detox journey? Dr. Kellyann’s 5-Day Cleanse and Reset Detox is a quick and easy way to start. You can also explore delicious recipes and advice on the blog to keep your health goals in check. 


Lemon detox diet reduced body fat, insulin resistance, and serum hs-CRP level without hematological changes in overweight Korean women | PMC

Leaky gut: What is it, and what does it mean for you? | Harvard Health

National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals | CDC