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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Gradov

Should you "Detox"?

woman with tape measure over her mouth and coke & hamburger in her hands

What is commonly referred to as a "detox" is essentially a process that involves the utilization of specific products, diets, or other methods with the aim of purging the body of alleged "toxins."

These detox procedures are frequently promoted on social media by various entities, including brands marketing detox products, celebrities, and influencers.

The history of detoxing traces back to the time of Hippocrates, who believed in balancing the body's four humors to maintain good health. Over the centuries, methods such as enemas, emetics, bloodletting, and fasting have been employed to address perceived bodily imbalances.

In the contemporary context, detoxes manifest in various forms. Over-the-counter detox products, commonly teas or beverages, are marketed as alternatives to regular meals. These approaches often incorporate fasting phases or intermittent fasting. The "detox" label extends to a variety of beverages, including teas, coffees, infused waters, and drinks enriched with fruits, vegetables, herbs, nutrients, or purportedly "natural" ingredients. The global market for detox drinks, estimated at over $5 billion in the US in 2022, is anticipated to grow by 50% before 2030.

While common detox methods involve drinks and dietary adjustments, some unconventional practices include colonic irrigation, homeopathic remedies, and laxative herbs, as indicated in a study conducted in the United States.

The effectiveness of detoxes, however, is questionable. A 2022 review found that detox diets lack plausible pathways for eliminating toxins, and they contradict the efficient toxin removal mechanisms of the liver and kidneys in the human body.

Potential dangers associated with detoxing include a low calorie intake leading to short-term weight loss, but these methods are not sustainable. Detox diets that severely restrict calories or food groups increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies, resulting in adverse effects like fatigue, irritability, and bad breath.

So yes, you should probably reduce the cokes and hamburgers and add healthy foods to your diet rather than detox products for a better and more sustainable option.

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