Whole Body Detox Diet

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Green vegetable juice

Following a detox diet for your entire body helps clean out your system, is beneficial when you want to shed pounds, and can keep your energy levels high. Knowing which foods to choose is a must to reap health benefits without depriving yourself of the essential nutrients your body needs.

Detox Diet

The detox diet below:

  • Consists of whole foods
  • Is a clean way of eating
  • Helps reduce inflammation
  • Eliminates toxins, contaminants, preservatives, and hormones in your diet

Because this diet is similar to vegan dieting, it's important to include plenty of:

  • Protein
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

Many detox plans are weight loss diets. However, unless your doctor gives you the okay, avoid dropping below 1,200 calories per day. Many people swear by detox diets, but more research is needed in this realm, according to a 2015 review published in the Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association.

What to Eat

When following a detoxification diet, pick whole, non-processed, nutrient-dense foods. Examples include:

  • Water
  • Herbal tea
  • Lemon water
  • Detox water recipes
  • Ginger
  • Greens like spinach and kale
  • Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and basil
  • Fresh vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and peppers
  • Fresh fruits like mangos, berries, melons, citrus fruits, apples, and bananas
  • Fruit smoothies with plant-based protein
  • Vegetable juice
  • Vegetable soup
  • Whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, and oatmeal)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut butters
  • Avocados
  • Legumes
  • Virgin plant-based oils
  • Dairy-free milk, such as protein-fortified almond milk, hemp milk, or soymilk
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

What to Avoid

Avoid the following on a detox diet.

  • Sodium-rich foods
  • Canned foods with added sodium, sugar, or syrup
  • Pre-packaged foods
  • Refined grains
  • Processed foods
  • Meats, especially red meat
  • Sweets
  • Sugary drinks
  • Dairy
  • Added sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners

Following the Diet

You can follow the 1,200-calorie version of the diet until you've lost about 10 percent of your body weight, a recommendation backed up by the National Institutes of Health. After that, use the MyPlate calculator to determine your body's caloric needs.

Meal Plan

Use the following recommendations to design your meal plan.

Portion Sizes

The following lists portion sizes for each food group:

  • 1 fruit = 1 cup of fruit, or 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice
  • 1 vegetable = 1 cup of vegetables, 2 cups of raw leafy greens, or 1 cup of vegetable juice
  • 1 ounce of grains/starches = 1 cup of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, 1/2 cup of oatmeal or other cooked cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • 1 protein = 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of tofu, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, ½ ounce of nuts or seeds, or 1/4 cup of cooked legumes
  • 1 dairy equivalent = 1 cup of soymilk, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of soy yogurt, or 1/3 cup of shredded cheese substitute
  • 1 oil = 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, 1/6th of an avocado, 1/2 tablespoon of nut butter, 1 tablespoon of nuts or seeds, or 8 olives

Note that nuts, seeds, and nut butter can count toward the protein or oil groups.

Sample Meal Plan

Woman eating salad

Try this sample meal plan for a full-body detoxification, which helps fuel your body with a meal or snack every two to three hours. You can use it to plan daily detox menus.

Breakfast (8:00 am)

  • 2 grains
  • 1/2 fruit
  • 1 oil

Snack (10:00 am)

  • 1/2 fruit
  • 1 dairy equivalent
  • 1 oil

Lunch (12:30 pm)

  • 1 vegetable
  • 1.5 protein
  • 1 oil
  • 1 grain

Snack (3:00 pm)

  • 1 dairy equivalent
  • 1 oil

Dinner (5:30 pm)

  • 1 grain
  • 1.5 protein
  • 1 vegetable

Snack (8:00 pm)

  • 1 dairy equivalent

Sample Detox Menu -- 1,200 Calories

The following sample weight loss detox menu contains about 1,200 calories:

Breakfast (8:00 am) - 231 calories

1 cup of cooked oatmeal

½ cup of blackberries

1 tablespoon almonds or walnuts

Herbal tea, lemon water, or detox water

Snack (10:00 am) - 194 calories

Kale, banana, chia smoothie made from:

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup of baby kale or spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Ice

Lunch (12:30 pm) - 245 calories

  • 1 cup of spinach or other leafy greens
  • ½ cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 3 ounces of grilled tofu
  • ½ cup of cooked brown rice
  • Herbal tea, lemon water, or detox water

Snack (3:00 pm) - 202 calories

  • 1 cup of plain soy yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds

Dinner (5:30 pm) - 250 calories

  • 1/2 cup of cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup of steamed asparagus
  • Herbal tea, lemon water, or detox water

Snack (8:00 pm) - 56 calories

  • 1 cup of almond milk

Other Detox Diets

Several commercial detox diets are available. Examples include the raw food detox diet, 3-day detox diet, liver cleansing diet, lemon detox diet, Dr. Oz's 48-hour weekend cleanse, the clean cleanse, BluePrint cleanse, Martha's Vineyard detox diet, and fat flush. However, more research is needed to determine if such diets really do detoxify the body, according to the 2015 review in the Official Journal of the British Dietetic Association.

Making the Diet Work

Following a whole body detox diet can help you shed pounds, feel energized, and eliminate foods that may be problematic for your health. If you plan to follow a detox diet long term, ask your doctor about supplementing with vitamins, minerals, omega-3s, and probiotics to make sure you meet daily nutritional requirements.

Whole Body Detox Diet