CAUTION: Mono and Charcoal Diets Can Be Dangerous

There are two types of diets.  The ones to consider are proven diets that have been successfully embraced by societies for hundreds of years (for example: mediterranean or modified paleo).   Then there are the fad diets which should be avoided as they are marketing driven and can be harmful to your health.   Two examples of danger fad diets are the mono and charcoal diets.   Like most fad diets, they claim to offer simplicity but result in starving your body of needed nutrients.   Short-term, you may feel different (or better) when you change your eating habits.  But that’s just the body’s way of trying to adapt to the stress caused by the changed consumption.  Long term, these diets end up hurting your health and reducing your vitality.

The Mono Diet is Moronic

The monotrophic or mono diet food intake to just one food group such as meat or fruit at eat meal. The very specious justification for the diet is that your body can releases correct digestive enzymes if you just eat one kind of food.  Thus, the argument goes, you’ll digest a food more fully or burn more fat.   But this is a bogus claim.  In fact, the body’s enzymes are designed to digest proteins, fat and carbs all together.   In fact, the body thrives when proteins, carbs and fats are combined in an appropriate way.   There’s simply no science to support isolating these essential food groups separate at meals.

Worse yet, the mono diet is nutritionally inadequate. The nutrients most deficient will depend on the individual foods consumed, but if you follow the mono diet long term, you would eventually develop serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies.   The mono diet is attractive so some dieters because it is simple.  However, simple is simply another term for “moronic”.   When it comes to nurturing your body, you don’t want to so simplify your diet that you starve your body of needed nutrients.    There’s a very high risk that this diet will lead to nutrient deficiencies like vitamins (A, D and B complex) and minerals ( calcium and iron).

As a short term fasting or elimination diet strategy, the mono diet might be useful to “reset” your intestinal health.  But if you rely upon it for more than a week, you may be damaging the one and only body you’ll have during your lifetime.   We strongly urge that you avoid this fad diet.


Charcoal Detox Is Dubious

The charcoal detox diet claims to help people lose weight by “detoxing” the body of impurities.   The diet recommends a liquid fast consisting largely of juice drinks mixed with activated charcoal.   While short fasts can help “reboot” the body’s digestive system, the used of activated charcoal in such a fast is potentially very dangerous.

Activated charcoal is used by doctors when someone has been poisoned or overdosed.   That’s because charcoal binds compounds in the gut and neutralizes them.   However, if used as part of an on-going diet, that same charcoal can severely damage your intestines.   The same detox effects of activated charcoal can disrupt your regular diet and medication regimen. Whatever’s still sitting in your stomach can potentially adsorb to the activated charcoal in your detox and cause the following problems:

  1. It can prevent your body from digesting food and absorbing nutrients.
  2. It can make medications and supplements less effective.
  3. Side effects can include diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and blockage of the digestive tract

Worse yet, if you combine activated charcoal with drugs used for constipation (cathartics such as sorbitol or magnesium citrate) it will likely result in electrolyte imbalances and other problems. In some cases, it can cause gastrointestinal blockages!   Instead of losing weight, you’ll lose many dollars in your effort to recover from these predictable health problems.

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