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5 Reasons You Need to Detox and 5 Ways to Detox, Lose Weight & Feel Great

5 Reasons You Need to Detox and 5 Ways to Detox, Lose Weight & Feel Great

Most of us equate a detox with deprivation—or worse. We think hunger, weird food, kale juice and colonics. We might feel better at the end, but is it really worth the pain and suffering? The thing is, you don’t have to suffer. There’s another kind of detox that’s all about fabulous, delicious food. It’s a new kind of detox that’s a giant jumpstart for your health and a reboot for your metabolism. It’s fun, easy to do and a direct route to feeling fabulous. It’s what I do with my patients, and you can do it in just 10 days.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve taken care of tens of thousands of patients who suffered from the harmful effects of the wrong foods: industrial, factory-made science projects, boatloads of sugar and flour—152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour per person per year, to be exact! It’s done more than make them struggle with weight and yo-yo diets. It’s completely derailed their health. Worse, they blame themselves for not being able to succeed at controlling their eating habits or cravings.

Millions of us, over half the population, suffer from FLC Syndrome. That’s when you Feel Like Crap. Sometimes it’s annoying little symptoms such as achy joints or muscles, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, allergies or gas, or more serious problems such as autoimmune diseases, migraines, asthma, acne, irritable bowel, reflux, arthritis or worse.

When I use the word “detox” I mean a scientifically designed medical detox from sugar, and all things that turn to sugar. The fun part is that it’s done simply by taking out the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff…lots of good stuff. Maybe I should call it The Feel Good with Good Stuff plan!

5 Reasons You Need to Detox

1. You have FLC Syndrome: Feel Like Crap.

You wake up feeling less than vital, vibrant, alive, joyful and full of energy. Even if you are thin but have symptoms of being toxic like fatigue, brain fog, achiness, digestive issues, allergies, headaches—really any symptoms at all—the detox can help heal you quickly. Most of us don’t connect what we’re eating to how we feel. In the 10-day “feel good with good stuff” plan—the program in my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet—you will learn how you have put up with needless suffering. Feeling good is only a few days away.

2. You can’t lose weight and keep it off (you want to fit into your jeans).

The scientific establishment has convinced us that losing weight is just a matter of calories in/calories out, that it’s about energy balance, about eating less and exercising more. How’s that working out for you? Probably not so well! Problem is, the scientific establishment is different from the established science. The science says sugar and flour calories are WAY different. First, they trigger addiction and overeating. Second, they spike insulin and inflammation, which makes you store belly fat and blocks your ability to feel full. The verdict is in: Sugar calories are worse than whole food calories. Sugar spikes insulin and triggers inflammation, a double whammy guaranteed to mess up any attempt at long-term weight loss.

3. You can’t control your sugar and carb cravings (you may be suffering from food addiction).

The fact is that sugar and flour are biologically addictive. The science behind it is clear and conclusive. Yet we blame the fat person for being a lazy glutton, which leads to shame and guilt. I am here to tell you it’s not your fault. Your biology has been hijacked by the food industry. They have done a hostile takeover of your taste buds, brain chemistry, hormones and metabolism. More than 300 food industry insiders spilled the beans to Michael Moss in his book, Salt, Sugar and Fat, explaining they hire “craving experts” to create the “bliss point” of junk food to create “heavy users” and increase their “stomach share.” Sugar is the new nicotine. In fact, sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. If you are trying to use willpower to lose weight you will fail. You have to use science to unhook yourself from the addictive power of sugar, flour and hyper-processed, hyper-palatable food-like substances (or “non-food junk” as my friend Dr. Aviva Romm calls it).

4. You never have detoxed.

Most of us have never in our life taken 10 days to put nothing in our bodies but delicious, whole clean food. Just 10 days. Even if you think you are healthy and feel good, you may not realize that your normal state is not your optimal state. Think of it as a tune-up, a super-quick, super-easy way to supercharge your health.

5. You need a STAYCATION.

All of us stray from living in a way that supports our health: too little sleep, too little exercise, too much bad food, too much stress, not enough time for ourselves. The best way to reset your life is a 10-day detox. Simple, delicious foods. No toxins or drugs, by which I mean sugar, flour, processed foods, caffeine or alcohol. Self-nurturing practices: deep breathing, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, a little exercise, self-love. All this works to get your body and mind back to their original factory settings—and quickly!

5 Ways to Detox, Lose Weight & Feel Great

So now that you know why you need a detox, how do you do it without pain and suffering? How do you take a shortcut to feeling great? Here’s a little secret that the diet and food industry, the medical establishment and Big Pharma don’t want you to know: Most of us are only a few days away from health and happiness. Even if you have a really bad case of FLC Syndrome or even a chronic disease, food is the most powerful medicine on the planet to fix it.

1. Be a turkey (a cold one) and take a drug holiday.

There is no way to handle a true physiological addiction except to stop it completely. Addicts can’t have just one line of cocaine or just one drink. Go cold turkey. But you won’t have to white-knuckle it because if you follow “5 Ways to Detox” you will automatically reset your body’s neurotransmitters and hormones. Stop all forms of sugar, all flour products and all artificial sweeteners. They all cause increased cravings and slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage. This especially includes liquid sugar calories—a latte can have more sugar than a can of soda—that makes you eat more all day and drive storage of belly fat. Also get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG (watch for hidden names). Ideally, for 10 days you avoid any foods that come in a box, package or can or have a label, and stick to real, whole, fresh food. And the best way to really detox is to give up all grains for 10 days. Give up all drugs, too. Caffeine and alcohol are the two biggest after sugar.

2. Power up the day with protein.

Protein, protein, protein at every meal, especially breakfast, is the key to balancing blood sugar and insulin and cutting cravings. Start the day with whole farm eggs or a protein shake. I recommend my Whole Food Protein Shake. Use nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, chicken or grass-fed meat for protein at every meal. A serving size is 4-6 ounces or the size of your palm.

3. Eat unlimited carbs (the right ones).

Yes, that’s right. Unlimited carbs. Did you know that vegetables are carbs? And you get to eat as much as you want. Unlimited refills! There is one catch. I only mean the non-starchy veggies such as greens, the broccoli family (including cauliflower, kale and collards), asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, fennel, eggplant, artichokes, peppers, etc. What’s out are potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets—just for 10 days. Also skip grains and beans for 10 days. It supercharges the results so you lose weight and feel great.

4. Fight sugar with fat.

Fat is not a four-letter word. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Fat makes you full, balances your blood sugar and is necessary for fueling your cells. Along with protein, have good fats at every meal and snack including nuts and seeds, which also contain protein, extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, avocados and omega-3 fats from fish.

5. Use friend power, not willpower.

Extraordinary new research shows that obesity is contagious. You are more likely to be overweight if your friends are overweight than if your parents or siblings are overweight. But health is contagious too. In a large social experiment I did with my friend Rick Warren at Saddleback Church we got 15,000 people to lose 250,000 pounds in a year by doing the program together. They met in small groups, helped, loved and supported each other. And those who did it together lost twice as much weight and got twice as healthy. I call it the Love Diet! Every “body” needs a “buddy.” Find a friend or form a small group and do the detox together.

All of these ideas and more—plus a goof-proof, step-by-step plan of how to make them work for you—are in my new book. If you’re inspired to detox, end your food addiction and your sugar and carb cravings, and renew and reboot your health, check out my #1 bestselling book The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet!. Plus get these great bonus gifts right away to jumpstart your program:

  • In the Kitchen with Dr. Mark Hyman – in this 3-part online video series, Dr. Hyman teaches you how to cook amazingly delicious healing foods quickly.
  • The Missing Ingredient Report – Why we get stuck and how we can sustain our weight loss goals
  • Dieting 101Guide – Dr. Hyman reviews the top 10 weight loss programs to share what works and what doesn’t and WHY?

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman MD is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time #1 New York Times Bestselling author.

Comments (41)

  • I do consider all of the ideas you’ve presented for your post. They’re very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very brief for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

    • Hi there, if you would like more extensive information I encourage you to check out the 10 Day Detox and Blood Sugar Solution books which can be found .

  • Hi Dr Hyman

    Would it be possible to come up with a package with fewer components suitable for people like myself who are BSc (Hons) qualified nutritional therapists, but would like to try your detox programme with a view to recommending it to our clients? One of the companies here in the UK have done this, and it has been successful.

  • Dr. Hyman – I would love to do this detox, but I have food allergies or sensitivities that knock out a lot of the choices — nuts, chickpeas/hummus, raw apples, and raw carrots, primarily. That may not sound like a lot, but it is significant. I always see “eat apples, nuts, peanut butter” as suggestions in similar articles, and I can’t touch any of them. Also, I know that I am going to feel the craving for the “full” feeling I get from carbs. And what about dairy? I love cottage cheese as a snack. Thanks for your comments.

    • Hi Jackie, I see what you mean about the nuts, chickpeas, apples etc. While that does slightly limit what you can eat, remember the detox is just ten days! The book contains lists of all the suitable foods and you should be able to put together most meals without interfering with your allergies. Each days meals in the plan comes with multiple options for you to choose from. A significant purpose of the detox is to help banish the cravings that you mention and you will begin to feel full without being bogged down by heavy carbohydrates such as pasta and bread. The detox does not allow for dairy, but again it is just ten days and then you will be able to reintroduce those foods if you want to.

  • I put my self on a sugar free thing for ten days.
    Specifically for me that means no soft drinks (I went from alcoholic to popoholic), no coffee/tea/juice powder or baked sweetts/ candies etc.
    I am on day four and doing ok.
    The other is to walk for fifteen -thirty minutes per day.
    I just cannot believe how unsupportive family n friends are, the only ones excited and believe I can do it are my 6 and 8 yr old grand chilldren.
    I was 339 lbs I made it to 276lbs
    By cutting my portions …I am hopeful
    And I am hoping really hard I can drop the pop
    Thanx fgr the listen.
    Right now I am drinking water water and water.

  • There is no mention of fruits (obviously they “turn to sugar” and I am guessing they are outlawed in this detox. Since there was no specific mention, I wanted to be sure! What about dairy–kefir, yogurt or cheese sticks for protein?

    • Hi Shay, there are certain fruits that you may eat on the detox, but like you say they turn to sugar! Dairy is avoided on the detox – nuts & nut butters, lean proteins and hardboiled eggs can be used for protein.

  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to
    be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try
    to get the hang of it!

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  • I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone
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  • I like a good detox. I find that i get great benefit out of it. I used to just do food but now i do a tea detox with it. The tea detox i use ( is pretty good- I find the three blends of tea which target different problems are effective. The night one flushes out my colon so im not storing weight, the day raises energy and digestion, the morning one speends up metabolism. I combine this with eating prety well and i lose about 2-4 kilos in a month which is awesome. The other thing i advise is to drink Matcha tea- soooo amaing for weight loss. They are a pretty decent price with great quality. Enjoy your detox and comment if you know any other good tips!

  • Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful

  • G

    I’ve been on the GAPS diet, which is a lot like what Dr. Hyman’s detox diet sounds like, since February and am planning on staying on it for at least another year.
    The detox that I am interested in is detox from heavy metals. Any plans for that?

  • Hi Dr Hyman! I’ve read most of your books over the last ten years. My conclusion regarding my own health is sugar is my major demon. Ten yrs ago I was inspired to eliminate so many categories of food that I qualified a vegan about 90% of the time. I eliminated all artificial sweetners. I currently use only xylitol & stevia. I never thought that I could ever completely give up SUGAR. I’ve been a major addict since 16, especially milk chocolate.

    I adopted so many of your recommendations for nutritional supplements & I’m constantly making adjustments. Twice this week I bought some new supplements to augment my current regimen. Pill sorting has become a major activity that can take up to half a day because I try to sort as many weeks as I can, usually between 4-6 weeks worth. This spring & summer I have tried out some new programs to change things up in hopes of creating some physical changes, especially reducing belly fat. I’m on Day 8 of a 10 Day Transformational Nutrition Challenge with Cynthia Pasquella where I chose to eliminate sugary foods. Essentially I am doing your ten day sugar detox, plus I’ve incorporated eliminating the 7 forbidden foods on JJ Virgin’s diet of no sugar, no gluten, no soy, no eggs, no dairy, no corn & no peanuts. I’ve made it successfully through Day 8, and I’ll resist the temptation of having any of my husband’s birthday cake tomorrow & again on Sunday. Friday night at temple is the annual Dessert Extravaganza which I’m on the organizing committee. Even though it will be Day 11, I am going to refrain from anything other than fruit & water. I’ve also significantly increased my fluid intake. I’ve lost 3 pounds since I started, which brings me to a weight loss of 20 pounds since returning from Maui in April.

    As hard as a 10 Day Sugar Detox has been, I WILL make it. I’m presuming I’ll continue not eating the foods I’ve eliminated. Isn’t the real purpose of the Detox to get through the 10 days of sugar detox, so you continue with the new behaviors? It doesn’t make any sense to resume eating sugar once I make it past 10 days. I’ve also increased the healthy proteins & good fats I’ve been eating in more recent weeks.

    • Hi Cameron,
      It sounds like you are committed to improving your health and eliminating sugar once and for all. You are on track with creating a diet that will support your heath for the long-term. Great job!
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • Hi – I have lost almost 3 stone since starting this detox in April but have now “stalled” for some reason.

    I still need to lose another 3 stone and wondered if you can advise how to get past this stalling stage.

    Any advice appreciated. Many thanks. Vee

    • Hello Vee,
      Congratulations on losing 3 stone and keeping it off! There are many possible reasons by your weight loss may have plateaued: Hidden gluten, dairy or sugar in your foods, inadequate or inefficient exercise, food sensitivities, toxin overload, or hormonal imbalances. Track your foods and activities to identify which areas may be slowing your down.
      Did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching where you can receive 1:1 support with Registered Dietitians, please see:
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • If you are very active or athletic, your protein needs may be higher. Now that you know how much protein you really need, lets look atwhat plant sources are highest in protein. I’m not going to go over all the fruits and vegetables that are high in protein, I want to focus on the ones that I add to my green smoothies.

  • I already have The Blood Sugar Solution and I am wondering if I need to purchase the 10 Day Detox as well, or can I use the recipes I already have?

    • Hi Susan,
      The 10-Day Detox program is designed to give you a jump start prior to following the Blood Sugar Solution program, and the nutrition guidelines are a bit more restrictive. You can use the Advanced Plan Blood Sugar Solution recipes but you will want to eliminate legumes.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I just finished my 7 day Lady Soma Detox and I have to say I am SUPER impressed with the results. I lost 20 pounds and 15 inches. I had gained a bunch of weight (pure fat) in the first couple months of marriage, but now my clothes fit again and I’m back in amazing shape! I have already recommended this to so many people because of my results.

  • Quite an informative article. But why should potatoes be avoided as a source of carbohydrate over the ten day period?

    • Hello Aj,
      All starchy vegetables are avoided during the 10 days to optimize blood sugar and insulin function. After the 10 days, they may be added back as part of a healthy long-term diet plan.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I am on day 7 of my detox. I have a mild allergy to raw nuts. What is the difference between eating the raw vs. toasted? Thank you!

    • Raw is exactly that, not processed in any way. Toasted is putting in a 350 degree oven or the sort and baking/toasting to get the best flavors etc out of the item (do not burn)

  • This post is very informative Mark. Thank you.

    I’d like to make a small input (if I may).
    It’s also a great idea to add some spices to your diet and juices.
    Spices are known to rev up your you can burn more calories without lifting a finger.
    More importantly, they also help you in detoxifying your system.
    It helps you in mobilizing the unhealthy toxins around your colon, which (as per research) could be holding as much as 30 pounds in some cases!

    5 must-stock ancient spices for weight loss:

    1. Mustard Seed: Boosts metabolism
    even after up to 25 hrs of consumption.
    2. Black Pepper: Helps in faster digestion
    and nutrient absorption.
    3. Ginger: Hinders cholesterol absorption.
    4. Cinnamon: Helps in better processing
    of carbs.
    5. Cayenne Pepper: Burns fat.

    While you are researching on this, it’s worthwhile to check out some additional done for you information on:

    Feel welcomed on the site.. 🙂

    Sonja Hadfield.
    Weight Loss Counselor

  • Hello Dr Hyman, I have had illnesses that caused me to gain a LOT of weight over the past 12 years and am trying to eat greener but on SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) my $150 a month doesn’t support it. What would you suggest as a 5 or 7 day cleanse once a month that won’t bankrupt that meager budger.

    • Hi Barbara,
      Focus on selecting lean protein foods, vegetables, and healthy fats that best fit your budget. You may be able to find manager’s specials in your local stores for protein foods and your local food bank will have fresh produce. Eliminating sugar and processed food is the key!
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  • I love tea, and it is great to know that tea is good for health, once thought so lemon juice would be based on detoxifying, so always made the dieta do limão now I have tea detox

  • The best and most available detox is water. You can infuse your water with essential oils to add flavor to it if you can’t drink water that much. Point is drink half your bodyweight in ounces and you;ll see major changes in your health.

  • I remain by this eating routine. I attempted this eating diet a months prior and I can’t say enough in regards to it. This eating helped me lose 15 lbs and it totally changed my life. I highly suggest this eating diet.