Cleansing: Detox Myths and Dangers

October 22, 2014, 08:21AM

Juicing and detoxing has re-became a buzz word and popular diet option.  Before you contemplate "detoxing" in the article Cleansing: Detox for the body–Myths and Dangers Ellen Coleman a Registered Dietition, MA, MPH, RD, CSSD talks about the myths some "detox" companies suggest and helps you to identify some questions to ask and what to avoid:

The term "detox" certainly sounds scientific. In this case, however, a valid medical term is being misused and co-opted to make worthless detox/cleansing treatments appear legitimate. This deceptive marketing can mislead consumers into thinking that detox is backed by science. In the medical setting, real detoxification refers to treatment for dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or poisons (e.g. heavy metals) and is provided in the hospital. Use of the term to promote popular detox/cleansing treatments is just a sleazy marketing strategy. (...)

Detox/cleansing proponents claim that the body cannot remove harmful substances by itself. This is categorically false – the body's intrinsic detoxification system is remarkably sophisticated and versatile. The liver is incredibly efficient at getting rid of noxious substances – it contains enzymes which convert toxic substances into less harmful ones. These are then dissolved in water and removed in the urine. The kidneys eliminate many toxic substances that are soluble in water. They reabsorb essential chemicals and excrete unwanted chemicals in the urine within a few hours to prevent them from accumulating. The gastrointestinal tract is a harsh environment and prevents many harmful bacteria from entering the body. The colon is responsible for expelling unwanted solid matter from the body. (...)

Since we already have a wonderful detoxification system, the claim that we are accumulating vast quantities of dangerous "toxins" is ridiculous and demonstrates a profound ignorance of human physiology and metabolism.
Like most fad diets, detox cleanses are not an effective way to lose body fat. People who cleanse for several days may drop pounds, but this is primarily due to water loss. Longer detox diets can cause loss of muscle mass. Once people complete the detox, they resume their usual diet and regain the weight. Following a detox for long periods can slow the metabolic rate, making it harder to maintain weight loss.

To read the article in it's entirety please click here

Back to Blog