Celebrities do them.
Health “experts” recommend them.
And every school yard has a pushy parent who sells them.
I am speaking about detox supplements, of course.
Today I’ll be heading back to the dark side of the fitness industry (where pills are more important than food, and you don’t need to exercise to get in shape…) to take a look at the detox sector.
These products claim they are able to detox your body.
True miracle supplements.
So today I’ll answer all the important questions, including the one you really want to know…
Do detox products really work?
… or is your wallet the only thing getting lighter?
Do Detox Products Work?
Think about this.
We spend all day surrounded by sugar… toxins… free radicals… and the evil powers of rock n’ roll.
They wreck our body from the inside out.
And that’s why our diet isn’t working…
It’s not that we have been eating a bit too much food, and not doing enough exercise.
So what’s the answer to this conundrum?
Well, if the pushy parent from school (always called Sandra) is to be believed, it’s as simple as drinking her wonderfully expensive juice shake.
And if Gwyneth Paltrow is to be believed, it’s as easy as shoving one of her diamond encrusted rocks up your hoo-haa.
But does science agree that ‘cleansing our body’ with these pills, shakes and/or powders is the solution to all our worldly problems?
Yeah… not so much.
What Does Science Say?
A detox product is said to rid the body of certain toxins.
However, they never clearly define what a toxin actually is.
And it’s because they don’t know.
I’m being serious.
A startling 2009 report featuring 15 of the world’s highest-earning detox product manufacturers culminated in them being unable to identify a single one of the specific “toxins” their own products were supposed to target! (1)
And these weren’t amateurs, either. The companies involved in this report included industry giants Garnier, Boots, Innocent, Vitabiotics, and more.
How is that even possible, right?
Well, hold on to your hat, because it gets worse…
None of them could even agree on a solid definition of the word “toxin”.
They also couldn’t show any evidence to prove a) the product was safe for human consumption, or b) the product was effective in achieving the claims it made on the packaging.
So let’s put this all into perspective…
- They had no evidence to show that the products are effective.
- They don’t know if the products are safe.
- They cannot identify the toxins the products are trying to eliminate, despite the fact they claim these toxins are bad for us and need to be removed from the body.
- They cannot even agree what “toxin” means.
That should tell you everything you need to know about detoxes.
Like ‘superfood’, or ‘cleanse’, or ‘natural’, it’s just another marketing term slapped on products to fool the customer into believing they’re doing something good for their body – when in fact, it’s likely doing nothing at all.
A 2015 review study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (3) drove the final nail into the coffin on this subject, with the damning conclusion that:
“There is not enough data to support the claims being made on the products, and what little there is is not convincing due to sampling bias, a lack of control groups, and a reliance on self-reporting.”
Your Built-In Detox System Works Just Fine
One might think that settles the matter.
But Uncle Russ isn’t done yet.
I’ve seen too many poor souls sucked in by these ‘quick fix’ supplements over the years, I want to drive home how useless they are.
So while these companies were unable to determine what the word toxin means, the scientific community is able to.
A toxin is something which is deemed dangerous to human life.
Toxins are not angry little creatures that run around inside our body wrecking things. Toxins are literally anything that can kill us. Which is everything.
Of course, the poison is in the dosage.
I mean, too much water can kill us. (2)
So should you stop drinking water because it can be legally classed as a toxin?
No – because that would also kill us.
See what I mean?
Heck, Queen once sang a song called Too Much Love Will Kill You.
They are probably correct.
Detoxing the body isn’t a job for juice shakes and pills.
The body is already equipped with a fully-functioning detox system which does the job just fine.
Consider your liver a filter, which stops dangerous substances contained in the foods you eat from entering your bloodstream. Kinda like the bad-a** gatekeeper from Thor.
The kidneys find and terminate dangerous substances via urine. Make your own Arnold joke.
Regular bowl movements help keep the body running like clockwork. But if you’ve tried some of the more crazy detox supplements, you’ll already know that the shapes you’re busting on the toilet are anything but regular.
Yes, your lungs are the final part of the detox jigsaw, disposing of unwanted toxins which have entered the body via breathing.
And that’s it!
There is no supplement out there which can improve open what you already have, and if you do have issues with any of the above then your first port of call is your doctor – not buying pills on the internet!
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- Blachford A., et al. The Voice Of Young Science brings you; the detox dossier. (2009)
- Farrell D. J., et al. Fatal water intoxication. J Clin Pathol. (2003)
- Klein A. V., et al. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. (2015)