Why I Would Never Tell Anyone to Detox

Many months ago, in a search for perfect skin, I tried a detox diet. I don't know what I was thinking. It is probably on my Top 5 List of dumbest things I've ever done. There were no adverse reactions, but there also weren't any positive reactions either. I wanted clear skin for my 25th birthday, but nothing happened and I was left feeling hungry which isn't good for my overall health. I eventually found out that my skin responded pretty well to regular face wash products like Clean and Clear Blackhead Eraser and Equate's knock-off of St. Ive's face Oatmeal Face Scrub. So I definitely don't feel the need to rock the boat with any more home remedy's. While the smoothies may taste good (somedays), understand this: Detoxing is not a real thing! Remember when Sketchers got sued for making those sneakers with the claim that it helps to lift your butt, amongst othe claims as you walk? Well Detoxing: the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.

  • Your body is fully capable of ridding itself of toxins.

If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete,  you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,”  says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”

  • Like other fads, that's all detoxing is...

The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But just like soy milk, detoxing is a FAD that will eventually fade when pretentious people find something else to make normal people feel bad about.

Imagine this:

Close your eyes, if you will, and imagine a Mediterranean diet. A red chequered table cloth adorned with meats, fish, olive oil, cheeses, salads, wholegrain cereals, nuts and fruits. All these foods give the protein, amino acids, unsaturated fats, fibre, starches, vitamins and minerals to keep the body – and your immune system, the biggest protector from ill-health – functioning perfectly.So why, then, with such a feast available on doctor’s orders, do we feel the need to punish ourselves to be healthy? Are we hard-wired to want to detox, given that many of the oldest religions practise fasting and purification? You can go on a seven-day detox diet and you’ll probably lose weight, but that’s nothing to do with toxins, it’s because you would have starved yourself for a week.

  • Detoxing in itself does not make you lose weight.

A person may shed pounds in the beginning of a cleanse, but this is due to a loss of water. But the loss of water weight comes at the expense of a loss of muscle, which is a steep price to pay. In other words, the desired outcome of a weight-loss program is to lose more fat than muscle. This might not happen on a restrictive diet like a cleanse because it's low in dietary protein and calories, and while doing one, someone might not have the energy to exercise, which can build muscle. Having more lean muscle and less body fat means burning more calories and boosting metabolism, in the long run.

  • Detoxing  has no scientific backing.

In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins.

  • Detoxing is purely a marketing scheme.

Yet, inexplicably, the shelves of health food stores are still packed with products bearing the word “detox” – it’s the marketing equivalent of drawing go-faster stripes on your car. You can buy detoxifying tablets, tinctures, tea bags, face masks, bath salts, hair brushes, shampoos, body gels and even hair straighteners. Yoga, luxury retreats, and massages will also all erroneously promise to detoxify. 

“It’s a scandal,” fumes Ernst. “It’s criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street and it sort of keys into something that we all would love to have – a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak. It’s nice to think that it could exist but unfortunately it doesn’t.”

 So if you're considering starting a detox diet, I'd reconsider.Even if someone highly reputable like Dr. Oz highly recommends detox diets, know the facts for yourself. Think about what it is you'll really be doing. Do it to lose weight by eating super clean and healthy. But if you think you're magically ridding yourself of 'toxins', you're wasting your time and money.