EDIT 2016 – Short App Review: Since I wrote this review, Nikki Sharp has come out with a book and an app. I’ve tried the app which is beautifully designed and easy to use. It comes with a practical meal planner and shopping list, and the ability to take before- and after-pictures. There are a few new recipes, but all-in-all the detox is very much the same, with very low calorie count. I’ve already explained what kind of pseudo-detox-symtpoms you can get when you starve yourself down below. I haven’t been able to finish the 5 Day Detox straight without adding more foods and calories.
I have not read the 5 Day Detox book, would assume it’s pretty much the same.
Anyone who’s interested in health and follow a lot of fitspo-accounts on Instagram has probably come across Nikki Sharp’s 5 Day Detox. It became fast a large success and a hit among people who wanted to lose weight, start eating clean and reduce bloating. Not only has it worked for many, but behind it is a gorgeous ex-model with an ass to die for.
The 5 Day Detox is vegan and includes meal plans and a shopping list that covers those five days together with tips, information and a lengthy FAQ to answer all your questions. Nikki Sharp follows her own detox once a month and invites you to do it with her.
Important to note: Nikki Sharp hasn’t studied nutrition or similar, so her diet advise should be taken with wide eyes. But she has worked with a registered dietitian–Helen Phadnis–on this book.
Modifying The 5 Day Detox
Her detox and diet differ somewhat from my high carb lifestyle. It’s very fruitless and includes more fat. I once read her advising people to eat no more than 2 bananas a day and I quickly unfollowed. But somewhere later I must’ve given her another chance because next thing I’m buying her detox out of curiosity.
I was mainly curious of:
- What is this amazing 5 day detox that everyone’s talking about?
- Could a fruitarian benefit from a break from fruit?
- Could this detox be done with more fruit and more calories?
I went into it to test something new and different from the high fruit intake I’ve been brainwashed with, hoping to maybe learn something new. I must admit, this took a lot on my ego to do something different that was labeled “wrong”. But I felt I had to prove to you that I’m not brainwashed, that I don’t believe in an answer for all, that I’m not afraid to leave the fruit alone, and that I’m not so obsessed with being right from all the research I’ve done. I still question things. I’m always looking for answers, however, so I am very keen to go on a Detox health retreat to find out more!
But I failed to prove to you that I could leave the fruit alone.
I know that for more accuracy I should’ve sticked to the program and then done my own experiment to compare results, but I was so self-absorbed to prove this thing wrong that I went straight and modified the detox a little bit.
Here’s what I didn’t do according to the detox:
- I ate more fruit than “allowed”*. The gi detox allows you to only stick to low GI fruits like apples and berries. I broke the rule by eating an additional 3 bananas & 3 persimmons on an average a day. Including other fruits like: lychee, cherries, pineapple, kiwis, etc.
- I kept it as low fat as I could. I skipped nuts and chia seeds on recipes where they were required.
- I did not complete every meal. Detoxes require early mornings, early mornings isn’t what I always have. So breakfasts were eaten late which pushed the whole meal schedule to skip on a few dinners. And there was one day I just felt like eating fruit for dinner, which I then did by listening to my body.
- I sometimes swapped Nikki’s Detox Smoothie for Kimberly’s GGS. It’s greener, more fruity, better food combined with less fat and no nuts.
- I ate more calories than was set up for the detox. “The 5 day detox is designed to provide a 500kcal/day deficit in women.” Because I don’t need this and I added the fruit I ate just the amount I felt for which also meant…
- … I did exercise during the detox. Nikki says to not do any heavy exercising while on the detox, but this refers mostly to the 500kcal deficiency. Because I ate the amount of energy I required I could keep on with my HIIT and strength training.
Even though I changed the detox according to my needs I ended up with an a-ha moment. I realized that I’ve been neglecting greens more than I thought, and because this detox is heavily based on raw salads it sparked that passion I felt at the beginning of my raw food journey.
The 5 day detox put me back on track again, just like a detox is supposed to. I felt more bowel movements than lately and it inspired me to incorporate more greens into my diet. Since the detox I almost always have something green with every meal.
Book Structure & Meal Plans
The book is written very pedagogically, and very structured so it is very easy to follow and make things in advance. There’s a schedule planner covering all five days with what to have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Nikki Sharp even gives you a handy categorized shopping list that covers all the meals you’ll be making so nothing will spoil. I do recall a few typos in it, because I ended going back in the store to stock up on more after two days.
The recipes themselves are surprisingly delicious and very fulfilling. I remember thinking I’ll be wanting more, but then I didn’t even feel like snacking.
My favorite recipe of the bunch is “I Love Superfood Salad” (pictured), it’s a mix of: kale, carrots, beets and black beans. I’ve continued making this one long after the detox where I mix it up with different oil-free dressings from Kimberly Snyder.
You’re probably wondering now what my results are? Considering the things I didn’t follow through with I was quite proud and happy with how I looked and felt after 5 days. Maybe I shall write my own detox with more fruit and exercise?
- Bloated from all that holiday food
- Too much bread, nuts and chocolate
- Cleansed track
- Looking more defined
What’s the point in having abs if you’re not going to show them off, right?!
Exposing Faults with The 5 Day Detox
I have an inner fear in me when I see people selling quick fixes like these with no nutritional background whatsoever. One of the main reasons I don’t jump on that wagon. People might mean well, but I’d rather aim for teaching sustainability. Your body is meant to be detoxing all the time (read: you’re supposed to feel great all the time!), so there’s a misunderstanding spreading with these types of fixes. They may help you get back on track, but they’re not always giving you the proper tools or mindset.
Issues I have with the Nikki Sharp 5 Day detox:
- How much protein & Where do we get it?
I’m all for this detox being vegan, but it was very protein and fat focused, which felt old and not very innovative. The amount of protein we are thought to require is also wrong and over exaggerated, and I’d be happier if someone with such influence would bring this topic from a new angle.
- Sipping on Green Tea at least 4 times a day to give a Caffeine Boost is okay?
She bans all caffeinated beverages except Green Tea. Green Tea may contain some healthy antioxidants but most of them are destroyed in the hot water and it contains double the amount of caffeine than Coke. Something I’ve learned from Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox is that caffeine affects many critical organs and interferes with several processes in the body. It’s very heavy on the liver who has to take care of it. And if you’re on a detox, surely you wouldn’t want to tax your liver?
- Awful snack combo.
Nikki advices people to eat nuts/seeds with fruit as an afternoon snack, which is a bad food combining and will lead to bloating and digestive issues. She also mixes nuts in a morning smoothie. Can we please stop these dried fruit and nut mixes for once?
- Not enough fruit/carbs and too much fat.
The caloric breakdown is about: 49% Carbs, 16% Protein and 35-40% Fat per day. Fruits are very cleansing, energy giving and nutritious, I just don’t get why they’re not a part of a healthy detox? A detox is supposed to be kind to the digestive system, giving it a break with easy digested foods, this does not contribute to that.
- Missing vital B vitamins.
If you barely eat fruit you will not be consuming enough of all the B vitamins that are important for our health and well-being. B vitamins also help the liver to detox. If this is a detox, then it’s lacking in proper support. *One of the reasons I added more fruit to this detox was that I noticed in a day that my insomnia problems came back when I ate less than 3 bananas a day. I suspect the lack of B vitamins in the detox caused this because they are an important link to body’s ability to rest.
- Not enough calories or the calories promised.
I was actually shocked when I ran a days worth of meals into Cronometer to discover that the daily energy consumed barely touched 1200kcal, even when exaggerating the amount of some ingredients! The 5 day detox otherwise states it should be around 1500kcal. With the meals being so fibrous and fat/protein rich you do feel quite satisfied after a meal that you’d never question if you’re eating enough calories. This is often the problem with high raw food diets that neglect calorie dense fruits.
A 1000kcal deficit explains why weight might drop after 5 days in some and it’s not advised to exercise on the detox. If you’d take the detox but skip the nuts and fats because of allergies you’d be practically starving yourself – or wait, you’re already starving yourself eating barely 1200kcal!
With my added fruits and no nuts I at least got up to around 1700kcal per day and managed to eat according to the 80/10/10 diet. But I’m concerned how a dietitian could’ve ever approved this detox. But then again, Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide is somehow backed up by dietitians, even though it’s eating plan consists of only 1600kcal while being active. Like what the fuck?!
Weight drop and de-bloating is also explained by more bowel movements and the lack of overt salts.
Headaches, tiredness and other “detox”-symptoms that many seem to describe having the first days of going on this detox is also explained by the very low calories. If you ate 2000kcal, and suddenly drop to 1000kcal, your body will have to adjust, speak about its hunger, and then go on a low flame to save energy and not feel so tired. It doesn’t matter if you feel full after a meal, the body still needs X amounts of calories daily to thrive.
Some of my reasons are pretty legit, so don’t give me hate. I just wanted to dig deeper, because someone has to do it, why not me? I love questioning things and when it feels like I can do things different and better I’m not afraid to show someone a different light on things. It’s not about proving someone wrong, but more about giving ideas on needed improvement.
I have nothing against Nikki, even if she said that I could’ve gotten better results if I’d just stick to the program, but at the same time progress won’t be as evident on my small and thin frame. So we’ll never know.
“If you think you can do it better why don’t you just make your own 5 day detox?” I’ll never say never, but it will have to be something you can live by, not a quick fix, but an introduction to a permanent lifestyle. Sadly, this doesn’t appeal to many.
Thank you for sticking through this whole 1800 words review! I’d give you a banana if it didn’t mess up my screen.
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RELATED ARTICLE: The Beauty Detox Solution Review
– For the lack of sources to any of my health claims, if you have any issues with them I’d be happy to give them to you if you ask.
Otherwise I’m forwarding you to the internet for you to do your own research.
– This article has been rewritten and republished. Original post date: 01/17/2014
– UPDATE 2016: Nikki Sharp has come out with a book and an app.