Celebrities recommend them. Annoying friends who haven’t spoke to you in 10 years slide into your DM’s to sell them.
But do DETOX supplements really work, or are you beind sold a placebo?
And what about detox DIETS? Is it really possible to ‘reset the body’ in 30 days?
Today I’m going to bring you a comprehensive breakdown on the science behind the detox industry, so you can see exactly what you’re getting for your money and make an informed choice.
In order to do that, you and I are going to take a little trip…
You see, there are two sides to the fitness industry. There’s a ‘good’ side, where science rules the roost, and a ‘bad’ side. Just like He-Man and Skeletor, they are locked in a never-ending battle for power.
Strap in, we’re going to the DARK side.
WHY DO WE HAVE AN OBESITY EPIDEMIC?
Think about this question.
Is it because we eat too much food, and aren’t as active as we should be? Or is it because we spend all day surrounded by toxins, free radicals, and the evil powers of rock n’ roll, which wreck us from the inside out?
Charlatans who sell detox supplements will tell you it’s the latter.
Your pushy social media friend will claim all of your issues will be over if you buy her juice shakes (cuz magic), and celebrity gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow will say true happiness is as easy as shoving one of her diamond-encrusted rocks up your hoo-haa.
But what does SCIENCE say?
Is there any evidence to back up their claims of weight loss and ridding the body of toxins?
Let’s take a look…
By asking the most obvious question (do detox supplements work?), we have ALREADY identified a huge problem.
You see, a detox supplement is supposed to rid the body of harmful toxins, but the companies who manufacture the products never clearly identify the toxins they’re trying to destroy.
And here’s the crazy part…
It’s because they don’t know. Seriously.
A startling 2009 report featuring 15 of the world’s highest-earning manufacturers of detox supplements culminated in them being unable to identify even one of the specific toxins their OWN products were built to expel from the body.
And these companies aren’t amateurs, the report featured Garnier, Boots, Vitabiotics, Innocent, and more.
How is that even possible, right?!
Well, it gets worse…
None of the companies could even agree on a solid definition of the word ‘toxin’, nor could they show any evidence to prove their supplements were safe for human consumption, nor could they provide any evidence to show their product was effective in ridding the body of aforementioned toxins.
That should tell you everything you need to know about the world of detox supplements. It’s like the Wild West in here.
Six years later, a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics drove the final nail into the coffin of detox supplements. After examining all the available research on the topic they delivered this damning conclusion: (3)
“There is not enough data to support the claims being made on the products, and what little there is is not convincing due to a lack of control groups, a reliance on self-reporting, and sampling bias.”
The research is pretty conclusive; detox supplements DON’T work.
But Uncle Russ isn’t done yet. I’ve seen too many poor souls get sucked in by these ‘quick fix’ supplements over the years. I want to stop that from happening in future.
So while these companies were unable to provide a clear definition for the word toxin, the scientific community can. A toxin is something which is deemed dangerous to human life.
That’s right. Toxins are literally anything that can kill us. Which is everything.
The problem with this is that the poison is in the dose, not the ingredient. I mean, too much water can kill us, therefore we can legally classify it as a toxin. Should we stop drinking it? (2)
No. Because that would kill us too.
Heck, Queen once sand a song called Too Much Love Will Kill You. They are probably also correct.
Now check out this image of Queen AND water. So much danger.
THE 5 WORST DETOX SUPPLEMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF EVER
Whatever your health-related problem, someone will claim to have a cure.
Heck, I recently had a sales rep trying to sell me some rather expensive capsules they claimed will “combat the dangerous mercury levels in tuna”.
Dangerous levels of mercury..?
To reach dangerous levels of mercury via tuna you’d quite literally have to bang Aquaman.
But here’s the thing…
There’s enough people out there who’ll fall for this type of thing, and it’s resulted in the detox industry becoming a multi-million dollar business. It’s here to stay. Celebrities are often the easiest targets and worst culprits for spreading the misinformation, so here’s my guide to what I consider the 5 worst detox products/diets I’ve seen so far.
Before reading further, just bear in mind that things are about to get crazy.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
5. DETOX JUICE DRINKS
These things really caught on a few years ago thanks to the ingenius idea of attaching a home based business model to a supplement company.
Products range from juices to coffee, but they all have an end goal of ridding the body of unwanted toxins and aiding weight loss.
There’s a pushy parent in every schoolyard who sells them.
You laugh at the poor souls she latches on to as you await your kids, thankful they took the blunt force of her sales pitch instead of you. Until one day it IS you. As you roll up to school extra late, 5 year old tucked under your arm wearing a pair of underpants on their head and a Nutella smile reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s Joker, she collars you.
What do you do?
If you’re like most people, you take her sample pack of bulls**t and kick yourself all the way home for being such a dumb motherf**ker.
Because THAT’S how they f**king get you!
Before long you’ve got a monthly subscription and a whole new level of self-hatred. Anyway, let’s get back to debunking these things…
Detox juice drinks are overly priced and full of poor ingredients that will neither detox your body nor cause weight loss. Let’s use Green Supreme (by Suja Juice) as a prime example.
Costing $8 for a bottle which contains just TWO servings, the only thing getting lighter is your wallet. Also, it’s no wonder they claim you’ll feel ‘rejuvinated’ after each drink, as it contains 36 grams of sugar! They also boast about including a blend of vitamins, but are unable to tell you what they are (?!) because they “only test for potassium and calcium.”
This is nonsense.
At a fraction of the cost (and the sugar), you might as well just add some vegetables to your evening meal.
4. TOXIN EXORCISMS
Strange name, I know.
These products are designed to literally PULL toxins out of your body. They include creams, masks, wraps, etc.
One of the most popular is the detox foot pad, which is placed under your feet during sleep. You will awaken to an awful brown sludge on the pads, and the manufacturers proudly claim this is “toxins which have been drawn out of the body overnight”.
As you’ve probably guessed, this is false. Turns out one of the substances WITHIN the pads (wood vinegar) goes brown when mixed with sweat.
Colon cleansing capsules are another popular product in the ‘toxin exorcism’ category. These little bad boys turn your poop into something resembling a long, black snake (seriously), and you get to yell “Bye, toxins!” as it slithers away in the flush.
But what’s REALLY happening here is the pills contain a polymersing agent which simply puts a plastic overcoat on your s**t.
3. THE MASTER CLEANSE
If you’ve never heard of this before, I’m absolultely delighted to be the person to introduce you to it.
The amount of dumbf**kery going on here is NEXT LEVEL.
The Master Cleanse entices customers in with promises it can cure every disease. You read that right. In making such a bulls**t claim, the creators disaply their complete lack of conscience, openly targeting customers who are willing to throw the dice and gamble when all else has failed.
Quite frankly, I hope their next poop is a hedgehog.
The Master Cleanse caught on trend in 2006 when Beyonce used it, and has remained in the limelight ever since by targeting gullible celebrities who have large audiences. It’s kinda like the Scientology of diets.
Here’s what researchers from Harvard had to say on this one:
“The Master Cleanse remains a popular Hollywood diet despite having no data to show its effectiveness.
The dieter is following a very low (600) calorie diet which is lacking in protein, fatty acids and other essential nutrients.
Also, the daily laxative regimen can cause severe dehydration.
Once the dieter resumes normal eating, rapid weight gain follows, and much of the weight lost comes through fluid lost due to the nature of a very low carbohydrate diet.”
2. FAT BURNERS & DETOX PILLS
Celebrity endorsed fat burners and detox pills are a fresh batch of hell none of us wanted.
Yet here we are.
It’s boderdline DANGEROUS to follow reality television stars on social media, because they’re more than happy to hock their dignity in exhange for a quick buck at the expense of their fans.
Some even go the extra mile and throw in awful dieting advice that they’re not qualified to give.
But while I can forgive celebrities for being somewhat naive, I cannot forgive fitness professionals.
Step forward Jillian Michaels, of The Biggest Loser fame.
Ms. Michaels claims that her detox supplement can “clear away harmful toxins” while “supporting the colon and digestive system”.
Does she provide any proof? Nope. Don’t need any. Proof is for d**ks.
Incorrect claims like this caused her to be sued THREE TIMES (so far) regarding false advertising for fat loss pills. Ironically, she also featured in a recent Women’s Health article claiming to put an end to “fitness BS”, conveniently failing to mention that her entire supplement line is part of it.
But as bad as this is, it’s not the worst…
1. ANYTHING GWYNETH PALTROW SELLS
Remember when I spoke about the good side and bad side of the fitness world?
Gwyneth Paltrow is Skeletor.
She’s the ice queen who sits on the throne of the dark side, ruling over a vast wasteland of misinformation like Mad Max 3: The Thunderdome.
As a businesswoman, I think she’s a genius.
Because despite having zero background in health and fitness, the actress-turned-liar has made an absolute f**k-tonne of money selling supplements to people looking for a magic bullet.
Heck, the profits even continued after she admitted Goop’s products were s**t on live TV when quizzed about the lack of science behind them, so at some point the public must take responsibility.
In fact, the willingness of her audience to seemingly lap up whatever Goop release has caused the brand to get crazier with each new product.
My favorites include a $66 egg which is quite literally placed where the sun doesn’t shine (please save your money, it’s totally useless) and her diet recommendation that busy parents who are struggling to lose weight should go on a two week raw goat milk cleanse. Goop even recommend that breastfeeding parents ween their kids with it, too, because that’s not dangerous at all…
(SPOILER ALERT: It is. It really f**king is.)
YOU HAVE A BUILT-IN DETOX SYSTEM THAT WORKS JUST FINE
I’ve had enough of the dark side of the fitness industry. It hurst my head, so I’m coming back to normality.
Detoxing the body isn’t a job for juice shakes and/or pills.
Maybe you got duped by detox BS in the past and are sat there reading this right now thinking “I can’t believe I fell for such rubbish!”
You might not think you’re very special, but it’s my job to remind you that you are. In fact, you’re pretty f**king remarkable. For inside you is a tag team more devastatingly effective than Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen.
You see, we already come equipped with a state of the art detox system which does the job just fine. It doesn’t need any help.
Your liver works as a filter which stops dangerous substances contained in the foods you eat from entering the bloodstream and causing problems. Kinda like the bad-a** gatekeeper from Thor.
Your kidneys locate and terminate dangerous substances via urine. Make your own Arnold joke.
Regular bowel movemnts keep the body running smoothly. And if you’ve ever tried any crazy detox supplements, you’ll know that your trips to the toilet are anything but regular… or smooth.
Yep, your lunges are also part of the detox system. They dispose of unwanted toxins which have entered the body via breathing.
And that’s it.
There is no supplement in existence which can outperform what you already have. Instead, I recommend you rid your life of anyone trying to sell you anything which has the word ‘detox’ on the label – and make sure to shout “Wooo!” as you do it.
- 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)