Detox delusion?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

detox dietingDetoxing is often touted as a quick (albeit quite difficult way – all that self-control! All that hunger!) way to shed kilos and clean out your system. And after the Festive Season, who doesn’t feel like their systems need a good spring clean? But is detoxing the way to go?

They promise to help you shed weight and purge your body of chemicals that are poisoning your body and mind.

But the only thing that detox products will help you lose is money, a scientist said last night. From diets based on raw fruit and vegetables, to foot spas and colonic hydrotherapy, there are dozens of treatments and products that claim to boost health by cleansing the body of chemicals.

Diets based on uncooked fruit and vegetables are among the dozens of treatments claiming to boost health by cleansing the body of chemicals. Marketing is likely to become particularly fierce in the next few weeks, as millions who over-indulge during the Christmas period make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier. But detox diets and other treatments are not the answer, an expert has warned.

David Bender, an emeritus professor of nutritional biochemistry, said the body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself without any extra help. What is more, he says, the claims made about detoxing are at best unfounded and more likely undeniably false. Some detox methods may even be dangerous, he claims.

In an article written in Society of Biology magazine The Biologist, he argues that the term detox has gone from being applied to a chemical reaction involved in the production of urine, to ‘a meaningless marketing term’. His piece, entitled The Detox Delusion, picks apart the claims made by those promoting detox diets.

Such diets usually involve eating large amounts of fruit, vegetables and juices, while drinking large amounts of water and steering clear of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

They purport to boost health in a variety of ways, from raising energy levels to allowing the body to focus on self-healing. Professor Bender, of University College, London, writes: ‘I am not sure what "self-healing" is and the idea of "raised energy levels" is nonsense. The whole philosophy of detox is based on the unlikely premise that accumulated toxins cause a sluggish metabolism, weight gain, general malaise and so on. Weight gain is due to an imbalance between food consumption and energy expenditure. There is no magic shortcut for weight loss – you have to eat less and exercise more. It’s that simple.’

Much as we hate to hear it, the answer to a healthy weight is simple and straightforward: eat less and move more.

Written by Fiona MacRae, this article originally appeared in the Daily Mail

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  1. Sue1N

    I have tried the juice detox in the past and the first day is torture. From the second day it gets easier. One does feel great, but be careful to eat in moderation when you go off it as you will pile kilos on quickly!

    4 years ago •

  1. Gabriella Cerqueira

    So should one stay clear of detox’s or is there one that is recommended that isnt going to break the bank or be hunger struggle?

    5 years ago •

  1. Lah

    Thanks for this. Im trying very hard to lose the Festive Season bulge now, lets hope it works!

    5 years ago •

  1. Zah

    I’ve got 2 kg’s to lose, it wont budge. I was thinking of trying the juice detox. I’m just worried that I’ll gain it all back again when I’m done with the detox. I guess ‘eat less and move more’ sounds like a better plan…even though it’ll take longer to lose the weight *sigh*

    5 years ago •

  1. Bronwyn

    Couldn’t stand drinking juice for days on end. Not worth it! Life is too short, so eat what you want to ( in moderation) and just get active and burn those calories!

    5 years ago •

  1. JamieBaby

    Great Article… water is important just as important as healthy eating!

    5 years ago •

  1. middlewick

    never realised detoxing is a fars

    5 years ago •

  1. Noma

    Eat less and move more…. my resolution

    5 years ago •

  1. Mpoyif

    Maybe Detox should be used to lose weight but it certainly helped to make me feel lighter, nore energetic – almost like a “reboot” to my system.

    5 years ago •

  1. Blackcherry

    Great article, i need to detox after this festive season.

    5 years ago •

  1. Riekie

    Do not like diets, rather follow the healthy lifestyle, it’s a choice

    5 years ago •

  1. CindyR

    Great article now i dont feel bad for not detoxing. lol

    5 years ago •

  1. Harcombe

    I have always been interested on trying a detox diet. After reading the above article i now understand more and am very eager to try a detox diet out.

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Eat less and move more… Great tip… Simple …

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Eat less and move more… Great tip… Simple …

    5 years ago •

  1. Nuuh

    Wonderful article its really true the only way to loss weight is to eat less and physical activety

    5 years ago •

  1. G

    Nothing is better than a healthy diet and exercise. Great article.

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    There is no magic shortcut for weight loss – you have to eat less and exercise more. It’s that simple…. Gotta do this cos its so Simple… Need the Summer body…
    Thanks Great Advice!

    5 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    I feel that its important for a person to find what works for them.

    5 years ago •

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