The health industry is full of countless diets, cleanses and detoxes, it can make your head spin!

What is the difference between them and how do you pick which one is best for you?

No worries, at the end of this post you will be able to sort out the real from the fake, the healthy from the harmful and the best from the not-so-great.

While many health experts use the term cleanse and detox interchangeably, there is actually a difference.

A DETOX focuses on REMOVING TOXINS from your body with a strong focus on the LIVER which is the main detoxifying organ.

A CLEANSE focuses HEALING AND ENERGIZING with a strong focus on the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM and it addresses foods that can cause digestive sensitivities and compromise our health.

There are many parallels between cleanses and detoxes and they can give us similar results. I tend to prefer cleanses for myself and my clients because they can be more gentle, our bodies adjust to them better and they cause less detox withdrawal symptoms like irritability, headaches, skin rashes, digestive discomfort and extreme cravings which make it difficult to stay on a detox. Cleanses are easier to do as a self-implemented program while detoxes are better followed with supervision and in a structured environment.

There can also be parallels between cleanses and diets, like emphasis on eating plenty of produce, being well hydrated and getting lots of physical activity. The main difference between a diet and a cleanse is the focus and the purpose.


Women go “on” a diet because they want to lose weight.
That is the main goal and the diet caters to it by:
<> Recommending foods that are low in calories.
<> Recommending exercise as a way to burn calories and create a lean body, often aerobics and resistance training.
<> Recommending tips and tricks to control and reduce our appetite.
<> Many diets will compromise health for the sake of weight loss, like recommending artificial sweeteners and not getting enough nutrients.
<> A diet will look at MACRONUTRIENTS – Carbs, Proteins and Fats and will limit them in some way. Many diets “prefer” one macronutrient and “vilifies” the others.
<> A diet is considered a success the more weight you lose even if other aspects of your health get worse. Many dieters experience less energy, hair loss, irritability, digestive issues and in some cases diets can trigger issues with how we relate to food and can lead to binges, over-eating, extreme cravings and obsessive thoughts about food.
<> Most diets result in an initial weight loss, followed by weight gain.
<> Many dieters are chronically looking for the next miracle diet, wishing and hoping that this time it will work for good.

For more about the issues with diets and the weight loss industry see my article The Problem With Weight Management.


Women go on a cleanse because they want to get healthier.
Sometimes their goal is to maintain their health and sometimes it is to heal a certain health condition.
The main purpose of a cleanse is to heal the digestive system, increase energy, cleanse the organs and get every cell radiating health and it caters to it by:
<> Recommending foods that are easy to digest and that promote digestive health.
<> Recommending exercise that promote digestive healing and increase energy, often moderate aerobics, yoga and deep relaxation exercises.
<> Recommending rituals and routines that brings the body to a place of balance and well being.
<> Cleanses focus on HEALTH not weight so high quality, whole and often organic food are recommended
<> A cleanse will look at MICRONUTRIENTS – Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants, Phytochemicals and a strong focus on plant food.
<> A cleanse is considered a success when you noticeably feel better and see your health improving. Many cleanse participants experience better digestion and elimination, more energy, better focus, clearer thinking, clearer skin, stronger and shinier hair, and a general increased feeling of vitality and joy. And while many experience weight loss as well, it is not the focus and the cleanse is not considered a failure if there was no or little weight loss.
<> Most cleanses result in prolonged healthier life-style.
<> Many cleanse participants will go back to the cleanse to bring their body back to balance seeing it as periodical maintenance for a healthy life.

There are many cleanses and many ways of doing them. They can be short term – just one day, long term – a life-long way of eating, extreme – no or very little solid food, gentle – plenty of food and balanced meals, head on – you jump right in, gradual – you ease into the cleanse step by step.

My favorite cleanse is The 7 Day Cleanse which I developed for me and my clients and now offer as a self-implemented on-line program. I love it so much that I do it at the beginning of EVERY season and do a shorter version of it monthly. It is a gradual, gentle and yet powerful cleanse that will give you shining results. Check it out and see why so many of my clients say it is the only cleanse they’ll ever do.

I would love to hear from you:
What was your experience with cleanses, detoxes and diets?
Leave a comment below.