I participate in a ZC facebook group -- compared to many nutrition groups I've read, this one is outstanding. Most of the people there are kind and supportive, even though some are pretty dumb and others pretty hard-line; thanks to great leadership, people who aren't truly ZC (like me) are tolerated, and potential trolls are given the benefit of the doubt until they get really obnoxious. Just as is my policy here, ASKING a sensitive question (hello, Charles) is not the same as being a jerk ("Christopher," why do you even try).
Over and over again though, on that ZC page, people report problems with how their bodies respond to what they're eating. The page-owners leave their experienced-and-knowledgeable replies in amongst the comments of -- ahem -- people with considerably less of both qualities. One of my "favorite" excuses for unpleasant bodily responses is DETOX!!! "Your body is detoxing!"
Our bodies detox CONSTANTLY. That's what the liver and kidneys and other systems do -- filter out potential trouble-makers and send them out of the body. That's one reason we get the runs and breakouts of our skin, sure, but I subscribe to the thriftiness hypothesis -- the simplest, most obvious explanation is often the best one.
The kind of detox I mean is the sort in which bad fat-soluble substances get stored in our fat cells, and when we start burning fat, they get released again into the body. Those kinds of detox symptoms are logical -- and I wouldn't call them "detox" as readily as I would "RE-tox." With any kind of luck, our bodies are now more capable of filtering them out and successfully eliminating them than it was the first time around. But when other people talk about detox it seems to describe a situation in which one is killing off the bad actors in one's system, and they then respond by throwing a riot -- a Herxheimer reaction to candida die-off sort of situation.
I'm not saying it CAN'T happen, I just suspect it's an "easy explanation" of a much more complicated response. You've been getting pimples? "Your body is detoxing through the skin" seems much more far-fetched than "you're sensitive to modern dairy products" or "you're STILL getting too much omega-6 in your diet," when it comes to a VLC-eater. Most of them eat conventional meat, for convenience or economic reasons, and those meats are heavier in O6 than is ideal -- ditto when it comes to cheese and cream.
Okay, in the case of newbies to LC, we can expect a goodly amount of learning curve -- and those who start burning decades'-worth of stored fat WILL set free undesirable contaminants and PUFAs as their fat-cells shrink. What tends to really get my panties in a bunch is when detox products on the market are touted by people who should know better. How many programs as "Dr" Oz promoted in the course of his television career? :-P
Wanna detox your liver, really? Go on a fast, a good long one. Drink very clean water. When you get off of it, eat pristine paleo with lots of grassfed saturated fats. No fructose AT ALL. No alcohol. No oxalates or hormetic-response foods. Don't stuff yourself with more food than your stomach feels comfortable with digesting in a few hours.
Hmmm, I think I just described a cleaned-up version of Strong Medicine....