Ever heard of detoxing or cleansing diets? They are supposed to flush out ‘toxins’ from your body. Some even use them to try and pass drug tests. Unfortunately this all stems from fantasy. Flushing out poison that isn’t there in the first place with diets that don’t even have that effect. Yet many are convinced it works and try it anyway.
Examine.com (which we recommended for accurate supplement information in the past) have made a comprehensive and science based review of detoxes. Including why they usually aren’t necessary to begin with, why they don’t work if they are indeed necessary and how you should see a doctor if you have actually been poisoned, and also a quick look at the psychology of why people fall for these fads.
Studies on cleanses are scarce and, according to a review from 2015, not very convincing, as they suffer from “small sample sizes, sampling bias, lack of control groups, reliance on self-report, and qualitative rather than quantitative measurements”.
For example, one controlled trial investigating the Master Cleanse detox program reported no significant difference in weight loss or health improvements between middle-aged women assigned to the cleanse or to a group that simply cut their caloric intake to the same extent. Both groups ate a mere 400 kcal per day and saw reductions in their weight, blood lipids, and insulin resistance, but this wasn’t because of any lemon-juice-maple-syrup magic – it was because the women were eating hardly anything. Regardless, the study lasted a mere 11 days, so we don’t know whether these health improvements would be maintained when regular eating is resumed.
But many people don’t consider the evidence (or lack thereof) and simply notice the weight and fat loss from eating so much less than usual. Thus, detox diets and commercial cleanses remain popular. A friend losing weight on an extreme cleanse? That doesn’t need any explanation. Scouring the evidence and analyzing studies in depth? The average person has neither the time or knowledge to dive into toxicology and systematic evidence reviews. Every now and then a case report emerges about potential risks, such as kidney damage from green smoothies or liver failure from detox teas.. But again, the audience for these papers is usually limited to researchers, not those who regularly employ detoxes and cleanses.
The evidence in support of detox diets or products just isn’t there. You (and your wallet) are better off allowing your all-natural detoxification system to deal with the “toxins”, bolstered by a healthy diet and lifestyle. And in the off chance you are actually poisoned, rely on medical professionals, not commercial cleanses.
To read the full article “Detoxes: an undefined scam” click here