The not-so-good news: Your favorite pair of jeans seems to have shrunk since the holidays, so now you're here reading about a detox broth diet. The oh-so-good news: The season of sweets, feasts, and champagne toasts may not be nearly as fattening as many of us think. Because even when our waistbands dig in deep, “the problem is often just bloat caused by all the carbs, salt, and alcohol we consume at this time of year,” reveals Yale-trained women’s health expert Aviva Romm, M.D.
By some estimates, most of us are carrying as much as five to 10 pounds of water weight by late December. And those pounds can simply be flushed away. Dr. Romm’s plan not only eliminates that bloat but also speeds off excess fat in a hurry. “You can see a noticeable difference in a day or two.”
In fact, Woman’s World readers who tested Romm’s approach shed up to six pounds overnight and 10 pounds in 48 hours. They also shrunk their middles by up to seven inches. Wow! How much bloat can you whisk away over the course of a couple of days? Here’s how to find out.
What Is Detox Broth?
What you eat and drink: You’ll enjoy satisfying meals rich in nutrients like potassium, antioxidants, fiber and omega-3s that work in numerous ways to help speed the release of bloat and/or fat. You’ll also get plenty of liquids, since being even mildly dehydrated slows metabolism and signals our bodies to hang on to fluid. Romm’s potassium-rich Detox Broth is the centerpiece of the plan. Other staples include spiced tea, eggs, seafood, veggies, nuts, even potassium-rich potatoes.
How potassium fights bloat: When we eat lots of salty foods — like party mix, cheese logs, stuffing, and more — our bodies automatically retain fluid to dilute the sodium and keep it from reaching harmful concentrations in our cells. The antidote? Potassium, which — per Northwestern University findings — helps the body swiftly eliminate both excess sodium and retained fluid. That’s one reason Romm’s Detox Broth and potassium-rich foods — such as potatoes, salmon, broccoli, chicken, nuts, spinach, and Swiss chard — are so effective. As you flood your system with potassium, it flushes out bloat.
Another potassium benefit: There’s evidence it helps soothe inflammation in our bodies, a problem worsened by stress and not-so-healthy food choices. Turns out, inflammation makes us hold onto fluid. Soothe the inflammation, and pounds of fluid can be released. There’s also new German evidence that soothing inflammation allows cells to burn more fat. So Romm’s plan emphasizes potassium along with other anti-inflammatory nutrients, including antioxidants and good fats.
Bonus bloat release: Apart from a daily serving of potassium-packed potatoes, you’ll limit carb-dense foods. The reason: Some of the carbs we eat end up stored in our muscles for fuel — and each gram of this fuel, called glycogen, is “packaged” in up to four times its weight in fluid. By cutting carbs, we burn through all our glycogen and lose pounds of water weight along with it. Plus, adds Romm, as glycogen is depleted, our bodies are forced to burn primarily stored fat for fuel.
Benefits of Detox Broth
Even if bloat isn’t an issue for you, increasing potassium intake can deliver other benefits.
Diabetes protection. Potassium plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar and insulin. In one Johns Hopkins study, the more potassium folks got from food, the less likely they were to develop type 2 diabetes.
Lower blood pressure. Since potassium helps rid us of sodium that can constrict blood vessels, increasing intake of the mineral helps lower high blood pressure — and slashes risk of stroke up to 24 percent in the process.
Kidney stone prevention. Because potassium helps keep stone-causing excess calcium out of the kidneys, studies show that people with high potassium levels have a 50 percent lower risk of painful kidney stones.
Detox Broth Recipe
Here is exactly how to make Dr. Romm’s Detox Broth. Prepare this broth the day before your cleanse. Use organic vegetables if possible. The broth keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Place all veggies in large pot. Add 2 tsp. good quality salt. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, simmer 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Strain and discard vegetables, reserving liquid for drinking. Makes 6-8 cups.
Detox Broth Diet: How to Get Started
Upon waking for the day, sip 8 oz. room-temperature water with 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice.
Note: Dr. Romm says research shows a late breakfast works with body chemistry to reduce bloat-triggering inflammation and amp up fat burning.
1 to 2 cups of Dr. Romm’s Detox Broth
It’s dinnertime again. Repeat the same meal. “If you like, you can safely follow this plan for up to three days,” says Romm.
What to Eat After the Detox:
To stay bloat-free and continue slimming down, Romm recommends emphasizing lean protein, fruit, veggies and good fats. She also suggests going easy on salt and inflammatory foods and beverages (especially sugar, processed carbs and alcohol).
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.