Finally a BBC article on alternative medicine I can agree with. Detox diets don’t work – a new report in “Food Technology” says the body's own natural detox system works fine:
"Our lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system are effective in removing or neutralising toxic substances within hours of consumption."
…detoxing can be dangerous for groups such as teenagers or pregnant women, who cannot afford to deprive themselves of food groups.
Ursula Arens, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association said: "'Detox' is a meaningless term that is used all the time.
"And because it hasn't been defined, it's impossible to say if it's worked or if it hasn't."
She added: "All food is made up of chemicals, and all our body does with food is a chemical reaction.
"The body is set up to deal with the chemicals it doesn't want, and excrete them."
Well, of course it is. Detoxing is a useless fad promoted by Naturopaths. Quackwatch calls detoxing “an irrational concept” and an “elaborate, manipulative hoax”. And they give examples of Detox diets, such as the "Inches Away plan," where the client:
…eats no solid food for three days, drinks only water with lemon juice and honey added, and takes three kinds of herbal capsules. This is claimed to cleanse the digestive tract of accumulated waste and putrefied bacteria, clean out the major organs and blood, and give mental clarity because it stops the mind's bombardment by chemicals and food additives. After three days of detox, the client takes four kinds of diet pills in combination, up to 30 a day, and visits the diet center for weekly body wraps and daily simulated action on 10 passive exercise tables.
And people pay money for this.
Obviously, depriving your body of solid food and fasting in this way is not good for you. The body will get rid of toxins by itself if you (a) stop putting toxins in (admittedly not always easy for some of us), and (b) drink water and wait. Anything else is likely to slow down the natural detox process. Quackwatch concludes:
They have to invent the idea of toxins… because that gives them something to pretend they can fix.
It can be terrifying to believe that one's body is being poisoned by toxins from within. But if this were true, the human race would not have survived... A person who retained wastes and toxins would be very ill and could die if not treated. The whole concept is irrational and unscientific.
As the researchers say, a balanced diet is best. Faddish detox fasting is likely to make you worse, not better.