Cleanses are Bad for Your Mind, Too

Last night I dreamt of grilled cheese. The perfectly toasted bread combined with gooey cheddar cheese was verging on pornographic. During the day I fantasize about pasta, I yearn to add salt to my meals, and I would kill for a cup of coffee in the morning. I’ve started to think about food in the same way I used to think about my high school crush: obsessively.

No, I’m not pregnant or high. Normally my food cravings aren’t all consuming but I’m mid- two-week cleanse and I’m so fucking miserable. Ironic, since so many of these cleanses claim that you can “detox your way to happiness.”

If wellness bloggers and influencers are to be believed, detoxing can help one feel more energetic, relaxed, and revitalized as well as give people a positive outlook on life. I feel none of this and despite my prolific research, I found virtually no scientific evidence that remotely suggests detoxes, cleanses, or clean eating diets make you a happier human.

The closest I came was a 2013 study that looked at the various side effects of detox diets. When looking at mood, results showed that people were equally likely to report their mood improved as they were to report it worsened during the detox. Almost everyone said they were happier after the detox was done, but it’s unclear if this was due to the actual detox or because they could eat real food again. Also the study only surveyed 26 people and the surveys were retrospective, so how accurately the participants remember their mood is questionable…

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Misha Gajewski