I always find it difficult to write about detox / cleansing diets as it presents a dilemma. On the one hand, if someone decides to take up a detox diet then most of the time it is because they wish to lose weight. That is, the person has recognized that they are out of shape (i.e. overweight) and want to do something about it. It is wonderful that they have the level of drive and enthusiasm to take action on their obesity and I really don’t want to do anything to extinguish this new flame of positivity. On the other hand I know that detox / cleansing diets do not get rid of fat, and in fact can actually cause harm to your body. Typically my desire to rat out these terrible scams wins out – thus the creation of today’s blog.
Now I’m going to present lots of evidence here, so if you have been offended thus far by what I have said and are thinking of clicking away, please please please just take a look at the links. I have no agenda here other than to shine some light on the truth. I’m not going to recommend some other “alternative” to these cleanses or diets that result in me getting $$$. I will though let you know what you can do if you are worried about your liver & kidneys etc. being out of sorts, and it won’t be hard or expensive.
So what got me onto this? Well firstly I read a great newspaper article today called “Detox: Beware of a Quick Fix“, where a prominent dietician in the UK summarizes:
“…nutrition experts say there is no evidence that detoxes work. And in the long run, they may actually be detrimental to your health”
“When it comes to purifying toxins, there are not many better systems than the one your body already has. The liver breaks down harmful chemicals, which are then processed by your kidneys. This process is not helped by detox plans” (emphasis mine)
After that I checked into Drew Manning’s website to see how his progress is. You might recall I blogged about Drew the other day, he is a personal trainer who has spent 6 months getting obese in order to better understand his clients and he is now going to spend 6 months getting fit again. I am really impressed with the journey Drew is taking. He is putting all his exercise and menu information up on his site so that people can take the journey with him. Now I 100% support what he is doing but….. yes there is a BUT… today I read he is recommending a certain product to take in order to “cleanse the system”! What are you doing DREW? I really get the impression that Drew is getting a backhander from that company. So to anyone who is following Drew, please don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just ignore the crap about “cleansing”, you don’t need to buy that product, and just do the rest of what he is saying (i.e. menu and exercise regime).
Now, I did look into the website of the product that Drew promotes for the cleanse, to give them the benefit of the doubt and look to see if perhaps it isn’t a scam cleanse, but more just a poor choice of description for a healthy multivitamin drink or equivalent. This is what their product documentation states:
Over time, some impurities may not get detoxified and cleared out through your body’s natural processes. These impurities bury themselves in your cells and tissues, normally staying there and slowing down your metabolism over time. Deep cleansing gives your digestion a rest while also allowing the liver to detoxify thanks to cleansing nutrients.
As the dietician stated above, When it comes to purifying toxins, there are not many better systems than the one your body already has. So the statement that somehow there is this toxic crap lying in your body that your body can’t deal with is an absolute lie. Let’s look at some more scientific evidence on this issue:
Tom Venuto states it better than I ever could:
Just about everything that falls under the umbrella term of “cleansing” is pseudo science or scam, unless you consider cutting out refined foods and increasing your fruit, vegetable and fiber intake from whole, natural foods as “cleansing.”
If you want to call that “cleansing”, fair enough, but I just call that “healthy eating.”
A fiber supplement might be useful in some circumstances, but the products you take that cause a mass of gunk to come out of you are a scam and I daresay, a blatant deception. The gunk only comes out of the people who take the product, because the gunk is created by the product!
Tom has more than 6 different links to scientific evidence, reports and studies to support his statement. Look it up if you are interested.
If you’ve looked at websites promoting these cleanses or talked to anyone who has been through one, they will usually rave about all the “crap” that came out when they went through the cleansing. Sorry, but you’ve been scammed. As Tom notes above, and science has confirmed, the cleansing product CAUSES the crap that comes out! Read this blog by a surgeon who quotes a case report from a group of doctors in New Zealand who found:
“the “stones” that liver cleansers are so proud of and go to such effort to strain their poo for after doing their flushes are not gallstones and were almost certainly the product of the actual flush itself!”
Unfortunately I do not have a subscription to the Lancet magazine (medical magazine for doctors), however the link is here.
If you need more evidence then you can read physician reports that cleanses and detox diets are scams here:
Even Wikipedia has some references to scientific studies that debunk cleanse and detox diet claims!
Now I’ll probably get some hate mail from people who “swear” that detox diets and cleanses work. Many of these people will defend them like a religious zealot. Look, I go by science. You may swear that “your” diet is different and it “works”, but science doesn’t support you. As the first article I referred to explains, people will feel “lighter” after going on this type of diet because they have lost a lot of water, not fat! And getting dehydrated is not healthy, and guess what? Once you stop the cleanse you are just going to put all that water weight back on.
“Many people doing detoxes report increased energy and better skin but experts say the energy boost is a natural response to fasting. Clearer skin can be attributed to the increased water intake that goes with many detox diets, and the emphasis on avoiding fatty foods.”
So why do so many people still do it? It is a multi-million dollar industry, so naturally it has a savvy marketing department. These “detoxes” are typically marketed in the same sentence as “day spa” and accompanied by “massage” etc.
Clare Wall, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland School of Medical Sciences, says a lot of people are seduced by the marketing that goes with “instant results” detoxes and diets. “People want a quick fix,” she says.
There is no quick fix people. Now, one can suffer from a “fatty liver” and excess fat around other internal organs. This is unhealthy. What should you do to rectify this? You know the answer! Improved diet, reducing alcohol intake and increasing exercise. THIS will get you healthy and reduce fat around your liver etc. Now I mentioned at the beginning offering an alternative to what Drew recommends. If you have been eating an unhealthy diet for some time and are obese, and wish to make some changes, then for sure you need to start ensuring that your body is getting all the right vitamins and minerals each day. Actually, the product that Drew recommends looks like that it does provide this. However it does not perform any so called “cleanse”. You can also get the same vitamins and minerals by making sure you eat a healthy balanced diet everyday. This is preferred as ideally you are looking at making a lifestyle change. I don’t believe that part of that change will be committing to eat one company’s product for the rest of your life.