Detox diet: No scientific evidence

Internal cleansing may empty your wallet, but is it good for your health?

This is second post in Health series.

The story begins (in my mind) when I read this article.

https://forskning.no/menneskekroppen-mat/det-er-ingenting-som-tyder-pa-at-detox-virker/1215643

health2

The article is not in english and so you can try google translator. But the reference article on which it was based is in English.

I am sharing the abstract of the research article. Full paper is of course available on journal website.

health2_2

A press release by Macquarie University  on the same research article mentions:

A critical review of the evidence surrounding popular detox diets has concluded that there is no compelling evidence to support the use of detox diets for weight management or toxin elimination.

Financial costs to consumers, unsubstantiated claims, and the potential health risks of detox products has lead researchers to state that until further systematic evaluations of commercial detox diets are undertaken, they should be discouraged by health professionals.

Researchers Professor Hosen Kiat, Head of Cardiology at Macquarie University Hospital and the Australian School of Advanced Medicine, and Dr Alice Klein from the Cardiac Health Institute, have conducted a thorough review of studies assessing eight of the most popular detox diets, including long and short programs that recommend different combinations of fasting, supplements, food modification, and laxative use.

“Our biggest challenge was that commercial detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove, or the mechanisms by which they eliminate them, making it difficult to investigate their claims,” said Professor Kiat.

“To the best of our knowledge, no rigorous clinical investigations of detox diets have been conducted. The handful of studies that have been published suffer from significant methodological limitations including small sample sizes, sampling bias, lack of control groups, reliance on self-report and qualitative rather than quantitative measurements.”

Most concerning were the potential health risks identified as associated with the detox diets.

“The detox industry founds itself on the notion that chemicals can be neatly divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories. In reality it is the ‘dose that makes the poison’,” said Professor Kiat.

Consumers should also keep in mind that the human body has evolved highly sophisticated mechanisms for eliminating toxins. The liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal system, skin and lungs all play a role in the excretion of unwanted substances, without chemical intervention.

“However, considering the vast number of synthetic chemicals to which we are exposed, this is an interesting and worthwhile area of research.”

Read the full story at : https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2015/02/06/literature-review-finds-no-evidence-to-support-detox-diets-for-weight-loss-or-detoxification

The bullet points are:

  • Many detox diets contain little proteins that are important for building muscle, as well as whole grain products.
  • Too much fluid is bad as it risks diluting important nutrients like vitamins and minerals in the body.
  • Gastrointestinal rinsing can be harmful as it can damage a healthy intestinal flora
  • The body can clean itself
  • liver, kidneys ++ can eliminate toxins

The bottom line

The human body can defend itself very well against most environmental insults and the effects of occasional indulgence. If you’re generally healthy, concentrate on giving your body what it needs to maintain its robust self-cleaning system — a healthful diet, adequate fluid intake, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and all recommended medical check-ups. If you experience fatigue, pallor, unexplained weight gain or loss, changes in bowel function, or breathing difficulties that persist for days or weeks, visit your doctor instead of a detox spa.

More interesting reads

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-dubious-practice-of-detox

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/05/detox-myth-health-diet-science-ignorance

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-detox-diet

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Detox diet: No scientific evidence

  1. Very interesting. I fell for this once in my twenties and did a detox diet. It was a very healthy way to eat for a couple of weeks, but so much work. It just seems more sensible to try to eat reasonably healthily most of the time, and have a few treats too.

    Liked by 1 person

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