I'm pretty much against detoxing, but I think the word itself may be evolving to take on a new meaning.

The detox concept has certainly been around for a while, and (unfortunately) it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

According to the market research firm Mintel, in the last year there was a 108 percent increase in foods making detox claims. They predict detoxing will be a major trend in consumer packaged goods in 2010.

The theory goes that the body becomes overloaded with toxins from our food and the environment, and this leads to problems such as weight gain, cellulite, dull skin, allergies and tiredness.

Personally, I believe the liver does a great job of getting rid of any toxins in the body, without needing our help.

That said, I do think there is room for a variation of detoxing, i.e. cutting the junk from our diet, such as sugar, processed foods, alcohol, and too much caffeine.

Dawn Jackson Blatner, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, feels that doing this could be beneficial in helping retrain your taste buds, and get you cooking again.

In fact, some dietitians are now recommending cleanses to their clients.

In her book, The O2 Diet, dietitian Keri Glassman, recommends a four-day cleanse. According to her, the initial 1,000-calorie phase helps clients build confidence, and lay the foundation for a new eating regimen. She believes a short-term, structured phase that takes out the junk can help people get back on track, particularly after a period of over-indulgence, or erratic eating.

While I can see her point, I don't think this method is for everyone. And, I still believe 1,000-calories is too low.

It's certainly true some people thrive on the opportunity for a fresh, drastic start to their diet. I've heard from a few of my own blog readers, the only way they could get over their sugar cravings was to go cold turkey for a few days. But, for others they prefer easing into things more gently.

I suppose it comes back to the old truth that there's no one-size-fits-all option.

The fact remains, whether you are for or against detox plans, people will continue to use them, so here are a few tips for detoxing safely:

  • Focus on eating fresh whole foods, rather than opting for a liquid-only cleanse.
  • Don't go any lower than 1,200 calories per day.
  • Don't use laxatives or detox supplements.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Take some exercise every day.
  • Make sure you have a long-term plan in place before you begin.
  • Listen to your body--if it's telling you that something isn't right, contact your doctor immediately.