Adjusting to a Healthy Diet - Your Body Will Detoxify

It takes time to be comfortable with the changes in your life. It is not unusual to feel physically uncomfortable as you detoxify in the process of making over your body chemistry with a healthful diet. The more stimulating or harmful your prior habits, the worse you feel when you stop them. When breaking your addiction to salt, meat, dairy, saturated fat, processed foods and other substances, you might feel headachy, fatigued, or even a little itchy or ill, but the good news is these symptoms rarely last longer than a week or two. However, if you are making the changes to nutritional excellence gradually uncomfortable symptoms should be minimized.

Some people are so addicted to stimulating food, sugary sweets, and overeating, they may even feel depressed when they don’t indulge. For example, cheese, salt, and chocolate are all addictive, and it takes a prolonged period of abstinence to beat these addictions. Sugar and caffeine, especially when mixed together, are highly addictive and create a significant amount of discomfort when stopping. Sugar withdrawal symptoms have been demonstrated to be similar to withdrawal symptoms from opiates, including anxiety and tremors.1 I have observed many individuals with a history of severe chronic headaches, who were on drugs for headache suppression, develop fever, backaches, diarrhea, and other severe detoxification symptoms when stopping medications that contain caffeine, such as Excedrin, Fiorinal and Fioricet. Fortunately, their suffering was short-lived. Through high-nutrient eating, these individuals have been able to make dramatic recoveries.

High-nutrient eating was crucial for this result. Toxic wastes build up in our tissues, and we are unable to remove them unless high-levels of phytochemicals are present and the intake of toxins is stopped. You must allow this detoxification to occur. An important hurdle to achieving your ideal weight and excellent health is getting rid of your addictions. After that occurs, you may feel like you have been freed from prison and will find it easier to move forward and be one step closer to truly eating for health.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Colantuoni C, Rada P, McCarthy J, et al. Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence. Obes Res. 2002;10(6):478-488. Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience 2005;134(3):737-744.

Image credit: Elizabeth Thomsen

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Eileen Hamilton - February 19, 2011 1:29 PM

should a person use some type of supplement to aid the liver in processing these toxins as the body is being deprived of these addictions?

Pete W. - October 7, 2012 12:59 AM

I've gone back and forth for decades between junk food eating and detoxing. I can go many months on a nutritarian "Eat to Live" diet, but eventually always go back to my old addictions for periods of weeks or months. (chocolate, sugar, salt, chips...) One way of eating feels great to the body, the other way to the mouth and brain's pleasure centers. Often I get completely away from the junk food, have NO physical desire for it whatsoever, but find old mental attachments to, say, Easter candy or Halloween candy kick in when I see these treats on display and miss the fun I associate with them from childhood. When I first eat them after a period away from them, they taste awful! But I find I go back and try them again a couple days later, and by the 3rd time the old addictive sensations are restored. SICK, eh? Sometimes I think the idea of cleaning out, then getting dirty again, is a natural form of "fun" for humans.

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