Detoxing is a well-known trend that people use to “cleanse” their bodies from “toxins”. Though many correlate this trend with weight-loss, that is usually not the main goal of these detoxes. But how effective are these detox diets? Are claims that celebrities make about their detox teas helping the fit into a dress for the Met Gala true?
Let’s first look at the “toxins” people are trying to get rid of. You may be asking why I continue to put quotations around the word toxins. Toxins are described as substances made by plants and animals that are poisonous to humans. They can include metals, chemicals, and medicines when consumed in large enough amounts to make us sick. When describing the detox/cleanse, the word toxin is quite vague. Does it mean you have metals building up in your system that you want to get rid of? The Voices of Young Science went to manufacturers of detox products to find out what they claim the toxins are that their product is targeting. The result: none of the manufacturers were able to provide any evidence to their claims and could not give a definition of the detox.
These detoxes can be highly dangerous if they are not researched or used properly. They promote a restrictive diet and use many different supplements to create their detox products. Though some companies market to the weight loss crowd, others are targeting consumers with chronic conditions. They claim consumers’ bodies have a buildup of these “toxins” and their product can solve their conditions. But the claims of these products actually working are not being scientifically proven. Some users do report they have lost weight while doing these detoxes or they no longer have headaches but it does not mean the product is necessarily working. The users are cutting out large parts of their old diets while doing this cleanse. They may not have headaches anymore because the detox has them only drinking its product and eliminating caffeine from their diets. Does that mean the detox is working or this user should cut back on their caffeine consumption?
Since these detoxes are promoted by celebrities and trendsetters, it has become a popular dieting technique. Consumers are willing to test out these unproven diets for many reasons. Some see them as beneficial products that came ease their pain. Others may fall into the marketing traps and because Gwyneth Paltrow decided that she “ate too much” one day and “The 5 Day Detox Plan” is how she counteracts it, it will do the same for them.
There is a large gap in the evidence that these diets have any real health benefits. There could be side effects with the prolonged use of these products. Before you begin to use a detox diet product, whether it is for weight loss or a chronic condition, consult your doctor first. They can give you more facts about what the diet would be causing in your body and could possibly recommend a healthier alternative.