There are several different ways to detox but all have the same aim – to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

The most popular and effective are food-based detoxes, which focus on strictly reducing certain foodstuffs – namely dairy, wheat, gluten-containing foods, sugar, fried and processed foods – and upping the intake of others like fresh fruit, vegetables and anti-inflammatory foods, while also cutting out caffeine and alcohol. This is the classic cleansing diet enjoyed by guests on in:spa retreats.

A general food detox is the best for first-timers as the results are manifold and the habits learned during the detox can be carried over when it ends.

Radical detoxes based on just fruit or liquids should be limited to 3-5 days, as the body benefits most from a balanced healthy diet which includes fibre, whole grains and protein.

The number one rule for a successful detox is that the overall aim should not be about losing weight – by starving yourself of food – but rather to cleanse your system.

Consuming fewer than 1200 calories a day does you more harm than good. With such a limited calorie intake, your body begins to burn muscle instead of fat. The inevitable lack of vitamins on such a restricted diet is damaging to a successful detox. By consuming the correct amount of calories you will have the energy to successfully complete your detox plan.

What are the most popular detox diets?

The no sugar detox. The NHS recommends approximately 70g of sugar a day for men and 50g for women but many of us exceed this, especially when sugar is often hidden in ‘low-fat’ foods such as low-fat yogurt, bread, baked beans, coleslaw, breakfast cereals and other unlikely culprits.

Too much sugar can lead t o dull skin, weight gain, irritability and energy slumps. A short three-day no sugar detox can kick-start an end to sugar addiction. A no sugar detox usually involves no dairy, no fruit (except for lemon or lime), no wheat or starches and no added sugars. Bread, rice and pasta are not allowed as starchy carbohydrates are a major contributor to sugar addiction. Cutting them out means lowering your blood sugar.

Liquid fast, lemon or juicing detox. Three full days is a good length of time to trial a juice diet. By restricting your diet to liquidised fruit, vegetable and herbs known for their beneficial and healing properties, your body will quickly and effectively cleanse itself of toxins.

Fresh juices made at home must always be consumed between 15 – 20 minutes of preparation to ensure they are free from bacteria and other harmful germs that can multiply in non-pasteurised liquids.

The famous Lemon Detox, devised in 1941 by naturopath Stanley Burroughs, is a highly restricted detox that involves consuming a tree syrup that is mixed with lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper. This detox – in its purest form – does not allow anything else.

Generally, juice detoxes can be beneficial for people with allergies, those who suffer from joint and respiratory issues, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, digestive problems and skin conditions.

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Clean cleanse detox. Endorsed by Gwyneth Paltrow and Stacy Keibler, The Clean Cleanse was revolutionised by cardiologist and specialist Dr. Junger M.D.

The Clean 21-Day Cleanse consists of a shake for breakfast, lunch from a set list of approved foods (vegetables, leafy greens, brown rice, beans, lentils, green tea, wild fish, organic chicken and turkey, nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut, some fruits and berries) and a shake for dinner. 21 days is a serious commitment but evidence points to the fact that a long ‘fasting’ period between meals can help stabilise the metabolism and reduce inflammation.

If your not sure what approach would suit you best, we recommend that you consult a nutritionist or your doctor, or both.

If you feel that advice and supervision would be helpful during your detox, then a 7 night in:spa retreat may be the best option for you. Plus, detoxing with a group of like minded people is a lot easier than doing everything on your own.

If you decide to treat yourself to a detox at home, you may find these articles helpful: