What Is the Difference Between a Detox and Cleanse?

A detox can mean giving up favorite foods and beverages, including soda.
Detoxing usually involves replacing sugary drinks with water.
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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2014
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The terms detox and cleanse are sometimes used in a nearly synonymous manner. This is because many of the methods that are used to detox the body can also be used to cleanse the body and vice verse. Fasting can help to detox the body and at the same time can cleanse the digestive system. To detox the body is to perform some sort of procedure or to follow a certain type of diet that helps to remove toxins from the body. A cleanse usually refers to a program or diet that helps to rid the body of waste, particularly from the digestive system.

Choosing between a detox and a cleanse means choosing what kinds of lifestyle changes one is willing to make. A detox can mean giving up favorite foods and beverages such as processed snacks, fast food, and soda. It can also mean sticking to a strict diet, such as a raw diet or an organic diet and drinking detox tonics and teas. A cleanse, on the other hand, may mean fewer lifestyle changes. A colon cleanse may be as simple as taking a fiber supplement daily for a week or two.


Many times people find that they detox and cleanse at the same time. By detoxing with a raw, organic diet, it is also likely that the colon will become cleansed by the increase in one's dietary fiber. Some detox drinks and teas also affect the digestive system, causing those who drink the tea to eliminate waste that has built up in their systems. Those who go on a cleanse will also find that they are eliminating toxins from their bodies simply by passing waste.

Those who want to detox and cleanse should consult with a doctor first, especially if the chosen process requires radical dietary changes. It is also smart to prepare the body for a detox and cleanse. Instead of going cold turkey on processed foods, nicotine, alcohol, and other toxins, wean the body for a few days. This way the body will be prepped and will be less shocked by the change. Finally, consider taking yoga classes and booking a massage that will help the process. This is a good way to reward oneself for going through a process that can be a bit harrowing.


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