This week, the Pulitzer prize-winning, Guardian, reports the detox industry that promises to wash away the results of poor eating habits is a scam.
The Guardian quotes emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, Edzard Ernst:
“Let’s be clear, there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.”
Ernst confirms that medical treatment, commonly referred to as “detoxing” that begins the treatment of life-threatening drug addictions is valid.
“The other,” he says, “is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks, and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment….”
According to The Guardian, these fake “treatments” take the form of everything from kale juice to colonics and they’re big business. You can buy detoxing tablets, tea, even detoxing shampoo and footpads. You can go on elaborate detoxing diets and go to expensive detoxing salons.
But, according to Ernst, they are all medical nonsense:
“The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” he says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
He points out that the “toxins” so maligned in infomercials are never named and they are never measured. If a treatment were really able to clean out toxins, then it would be testable. We’d be able to see real chemical differences before and after.
A neutral research site, Sense About Science, is working to confirm the effectiveness, or lack of effectiveness, for many detox treatments.
They reported disturbing results when they contacted many of the sellers of these treatments:
“In the majority of cases, producers and retailers … were forced to admit that they are renaming mundane things, like cleaning or brushing, as ‘detox’.”
Sense About Science agrees that the body works perfectly well on its own. They say the best thing you can do to help your body recover after a night of overindulgence is just to drink plenty of water and get a good night’s sleep.
The report concluded “that ‘detox’, as used in product marketing, is a myth and, worryingly, many of the claims about how the body works were wrong and in some cases the suggested remedies were potentially dangerous.”
Even if these so-called detoxifiers can’t really remove “toxins,” that’s no reason not to include some of them in your diet. Broccoli, kale, cucumber are still healthy additions to a well-rounded diet. Find out more about the foods that should and should not be included in your diet.