01/07/2013 05:09 EST | Updated 01/09/2013 11:52 EST

January Detox: Is Your New Year Cleanse Worth It?


You wrote it down on paper, and pinky swore to yourself you'd see it through — you're ready to commit. But are those month-long detox diets actually worth it?

Charities like Alcohol Concern and Cancer Research U.K. are encouraging people to give up booze for the month of Janaury, according to The Guardian. And we can't forget all your suddenly health-conscious friends on Facebook, who have pledged to cut down on partying and alcohol in 2013.

However, some contradictory evidence has found going "dry" for a month resulted in people drinking excessively in later months to make up for lost time.

But more to the point: Can banning a specific food or drink for a month actually improve your organs' function? Apparently, it depends on the current condition of your body.

"If you have a fatty liver and give up alcohol for a month, you suddenly realize that you feel better and don't consume as many calories, and you might decide to stop altogether," says Dr. Eric Yoshida, chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) and head of gastroenterology at the University Of British Columbia.

Yoshida says even a relatively short six-week break from alcohol can actually improve the fatty content of our livers, as opposed to just cutting it out once or twice a week (and still drinking the other five days).

Although liver disease is often linked to alcohol and drug abuse, there are over 100 forms of the disease, according to the CLF. A healthy liver cleanses blood, regulates the balance of hormones in our bodies and produces, stores and supplies needed energy. Other foods and drinks to avoid include pop, fried foods and things made with fructose, Yoshida adds.

But when it comes to adjusting your body to a new diet, some experts say going cold turkey isn't always the best approach.

"You're setting yourself up for failure. If you've always eaten a crappy diet and go cold turkey, you will experience a healing crisis or withdrawal, and won't feel good mentally," says Andria Berrett, a nutritionist based in Toronto.

Berrett says instead, gradually cutting out the foods you crave or limiting yourself for a dry or junk food-free day once a week, will not only make you feel better, but your body will slowly get used to the changes.

Are you giving up anything this month or year? Let us know in the comments below:

ALSO: Eating helps: Here are 10 fresh foods that keep your liver healthy:

10 Foods For Your Liver


Garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. It also has a high amount of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing, says holistic nutritionist Hermeet Suri.


Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. This fruit is also high in both vitamin C and antioxidant properties.


Beets are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver.

Leafy Greens:

Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce have the ability to neutralize metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods, and act as a protective mechanism for the liver, Suri says.

Green Tea:

Green tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, which have been known to improve the functions of our livers.


Adding more avocados to your diet can help your body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials, Suri says.

Crucferous Vegetables:

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts also increase the amount of glucosinolate (organic compounds) in our bodies that help create enzyme production for digestion, Suri says.


We all know citrus fruits like lemons are full of vitamin C, but lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process.


Used as a spice, tumeric has been known to help our bodies digest fats and stimulate the production of bile. It can also act as a natural form of detox for your liver.


Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our livers through their cleansing process.