Have you ever been tempted to do a detox diet or a juice cleanse? They always promise amazing results, almost overnight. They usually claim to flush toxins from your body and turn you into a cleaner more energised version of yourself. Often advertisements start popping up around now and in the New Year, telling you that they will save you from the over-indulgences of the festive season. But are they really too good to be true?
Detox plans say they will clean out all the nasty toxins that are building up inside you. Yet, they never actually identify what the toxins are. Yes, there are a couple of true detoxing treatments – one is the emergency medical treatment for acute poisoning, and the other is part of the treatment for drug addiction.
But these are not the kind of detoxing that I am talking about here – the insta smoothie/detox tea touted by some celebrity or wellness guru. “This will cure all your ills, especially if you take my special blend of herbal teas that cost hundreds of dollars and taste like pond scum. Oh, and by the way we haven’t actually done any studies to show that it cleans out anything other than your wallet.”
It turns out our amazing bodies have their own built-in ability to remove waste and toxins. Your body is constantly filtering out, breaking down and excreting toxins and waste products from digestion, medications, dead cells, alcohol, bacteria and pollution. Unless you have a serious medical condition, your liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, immune system and even lungs, will remove most toxic substances within hours of you consuming them.
I often hear people say that doing a detox makes them feel better, and they associate that to the expensive juice or supplement. However, they don’t stop to think that they have likely reduced their alcohol intake, while increasing their fruit, vegetable and water intake. Often these things are “suggested” as how to get the most from the “whack-a-do seven-day tea and tonic detox plan”.
The reason those activities are suggested is because they are all health promoting behaviours that are scientifically proven to actually have a positive effect on your body, making you feel healthier and more energised. Whereas the detox pills and potions often use marketing phrases that sound scientific but have little or no actual scientific evidence.
By simply following the healthy guidelines of increasing fruit, vegetables, water, sleep and exercise; and reducing alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, saturated fats, sugar and stress, you can still “detox” your body without emptying your wallet.
So please, next time someone is offering a detox or potion that promises amazing results, because apparently your body can’t be working properly without it – stop. Think about whether it is too good to be true. Because chances are, it is, and you are just going to end up literally flushing your hard-earned dollars down the loo.