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Cleanse vs. Detox: What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference Between Cleansing and Detox?

From green juices chock-full of vegetables to herbal cleanse pills, to detoxifying tea blends that Instagram models swear by, the topic of natural waste removal is controversial in its very essence. With so much information readily available on the Internet, and with so many clashing opinions on social media platforms, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. What even is a detox? How is it different from a cleanse? Does my body even need a more “natural” way to remove waste? All of these questions can run through our minds when we’re bombarded with different perspectives on how to keep our bodies clean. Although answering these questions seem complicated because detox can sound identical to a cleanse, learning the difference between the two can be simple as long as we remember a few basic distinctions.

Just the Basics, Please

When comparing a detox to a cleanse, it’s clear to see that the two are incredibly similar to one another. Both processes aim to improve one’s health in a broader sense, and both are types of diets that can include pills, juices, teas, and foods that all contain certain chemicals and nutrients. Some dietary products are even advertised as ones that detoxify and cleanse at the same time, so how aren’t these two processes essentially the same? While detoxes and cleanses both have specific purposes and use depending on what area of your body you want to target, these areas are different for both of these natural waste removal processes. With that being said, a detox is intended to remove toxins from your kidney and liver, while a cleanse is intended to improve the functions of your digestive tract. However, the issue of whether or not detoxes and cleanses even work is heavily debated.

Natural Waste Removal

As you’ve probably seen on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media platforms, the hordes of personal stories on detoxes and cleanses are hard to miss. It only takes seconds to find a multitude of videos and pictures from beauty vloggers and fitness gurus sharing their journeys about how they have tried detoxes and cleanses, and how they either completely loved it or completely hated it. You can even find videos from doctors, physicians, and nutritionists sharing their thoughts on the world, often adding their credentials to show that they know what they’re talking about. Nevertheless, such a variety of opinions can seem intimidating rather than helpful, so here are the fundamental pros and cons of these natural waste removal processes:


  • Detoxes and cleanses can help you have better-eating habits by making you eat less, thus lowering your calorie intake
  • Diets and juices usually incorporate plenty of vegetables, giving your body nutrients
  • The cleanse or detox might leave you feeling energized instead of groggy like you would when eating unhealthy foods
  • There’s a potential for weight loss and a decrease in bloating
  • Cleanses can help you with constipation as it intends to increase nutrient absorption in your digestive tract
  • Detoxes can naturally improve the functions of your kidney and liver by making them more efficient at removing waste and toxins from the body like air pollutants, pesticides found on vegetables, harmful ingredients from overly processed foods, etc.


  • Your body’s digestive system detoxes and cleanses itself from waste and toxins anyway, so doing a detox and cleanse on top of that can do more harm than good
  • Dietary products for these natural waste removal processes can be expensive
  • There is no real, conclusive evidence that shows detoxes and cleanses actually work
  • Weight loss on these diets may be caused by the low-calorie intake in these types of diets, not by the actual detoxes and cleanses themselves. In the long run, this doesn’t provide lasting weight loss
  • Several companies selling detox and cleanse products were investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the Federal Trade Commission, and the products contained illegal ingredients and chemicals that could possibly be harmful. Therefore, the safety of other companies’ products is virtually unknown. These detoxes and cleanses might not be such “natural” waste removal processes after all.

Should I Do a Detox or a Cleanse?

However debatable the topic at hand is, the issue of whether a detox or a cleanse is better for your body is ultimately up for you to decide. If you’re still feeling aversive to those slimy, mossy-colored smoothies, or wary of those teas that promise they’re the antidote to weight loss, you’re not alone. Since every person’s body is different, it’s impossible for me to prescribe you a fool-proof diet practically.  At Evolv Wellness, we pride in helping families get on the right track to a healthy and holistic lifestyle. For more questions about detoxing or cleansing, feel free to give us a call.