Skip the yogurt cleanse

Coconut varieties are being used as detoxes—but don't bother.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.

Yogurt cleanses that promise gut-rebooting effects are starting to gain traction. For example, newcomer Kashaya offers coconut milk-based yogurt with agar (a jelly-like substance derived from algae) and live probiotic cultures. The brand advises drinking small doses throughout the day in addition to eating your regular meals.
"Consuming yogurt daily is not an effective detox or reboot for the digestive system,” asserts Ashley Koff, R.D., a nutritionist based in Washington D.C. and CEO of The Better Nutrition Program. Many other nutrients also play a role in helping the body cleanse such as magnesium, glutamine, and fiber, explains Koff.

But yogurt that contains quality probiotics can add helpful bacteria to support gut health. And while Greek and Icelandic versions generally have more protein and fewer calories compared to coconut, warns Katzie Guy-Hamilton, director of food and beverage at Equinox, the latter is a dairy-free option that provides vitamins and minerals, such as B-12, Vitamin D, and magnesium. "Coconut is also high in medium chain triglycerides, a healthy saturated fat that can be beneficial to immunity and good cholesterol," adds Bethany Snodgrass, operations manager at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in New York City and a holistic health coach.

Athletes should promote healthy gut diversity by eating a range of foods such as high-quality yogurts (including non-dairy versions) and cultured vegetables like kraut or kimchi, says Koff. But, she underscores the need for a well-balanced diet that emphasizes whole foods and fresh produce.