Here's Why You Don't Need To Do A Detox
by Jake Gifford
Detox teas, meal replacements and seven day diets, there are plenty of products and methods out there on the market which offer the ability to detox your body. The promise to rid the body of chemicals and toxins that have allegedly built up as a consequence of poor lifestyle choices is heavily supported by celebrities and perceived experts, but before you shell out more of your hard earned cash, here's why you most definitely don't need to do another detox.
The health, wellness and weight loss industries are booming businesses with many of us looking for our very own elixir of good health and eternal youth. With excessive promotions from celebrities via social media and perceived experts offering their own concoctions, you can be forgiven for succumbing to the temptation when it's so readily available.
Google is filled with pages and pages of reasons why you should engage in a detox, why you should avoid certain foods and why you should buy one product over the other. It's only when you decide to dig deeper that the concept of detoxing is often distorted and only supported by opinion rather than science.
The concept of detoxification has been around for centuries with various alternative methods and ideas, however was rather abruptly dropped by conventional medicine in the twentieth century. It's only since the 1970's, where alternative medicine has continued to rise as a rebellion to modern medicine, have we seen the resurgence of detox diets amongst other iffy practices.
The explosive birth of the internet and our infectious obsession with influencers that lack credibility but have large followings, has catapulted alternative medicinal practices into the mainstream and suggested that they are credible sources. this concept is only reinforced when we are drawn to people of similar values.
Detox diets, cleanses and other strange practises are heavily pushed and promoted by celebrities, media moguls and perceived 'experts' with financial incentives.
In the realm of medicine, detoxing is a legitimate method associated with the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions. Unfortunately this is where the legitimacy ends and is consequently hijacked by celebrities, influencers and hacks whom attempt to sell detox as a method to eradicate toxins supposedly built up through lifestyle factors.
Detoxing in reference to products and diets found in your local health shop or supermarket is quintessentially a fad and a gimmick, with no science to validate the claims. The problem is that the term "detox" is particularly vague and often variable amongst a variety of manufacturers and businesses. Another fatal flaw is that the toxins are often never specified, perhaps to avoid confrontation from consumers or as claims are unable to be substantiated.
It can often appear legitimate when complex terminology is thrown around juxtaposed to seemingly sound advice about complexly named ingredients that we don't have a concrete understanding of. However biochemistry and its intricacies are often misconstrued or misrepresented either as a consequence of a lack of understanding or simply to support a certain bias.
In truth, the impact of a product or food are often largely exaggerated when looking at their roles on our health in isolation and there are far more significant things we should be focussing on than whether an expensive tea can replace the role of our liver, kidneys, colon and skin. Yes, the role of these organs are to essentially eliminate excess waste products in our bodies as a consequence of natural processes and it would be much more favourable to engage in lifestyle behaviours that supported their function.
Is engaging in lifestyle behaviours easy? Certainly not. It's an ongoing process that requires attention and effort amongst socio-economic factors too, however we can make it less confusing or a headache by disregarding poor science and dodgy practises.
The current body of research simply states that no product, diet or methodology can replace or intervene the role of your liver and kidneys. Quite frankly, detoxes are a scam with the only benefit being a placebo.
Whilst there may somewhat of an argument suggesting that engaging in detox practises encourages people to be more mindful of their behaviours and evoke positive lifestyle changes, these perceived benefits are usually only short lived and laid out on deceptive foundations. Consequently which do no favours for people's abilities to trust themselves long term.
As consumers we also like to believe that we can throw money at our problems and fix them like an on/off switch, perhaps because we are so used to modern day immediacy and convenience that anything that takes up our precious time can easily be swapped for something more immediate, even if the evidence isn't there.
In reality, we'd all rather be investing our time in activities that matter to us and we are often stressing over a billion little details or events within our lives that we'd rather not have another complex entity such as our bodies or health to worry about. This can mean challenging or resisting these products can be a huge challenge as a consequence of decisions based on emotion.
You'd be better off saving your money and investing a variety of foods rich in vitamins and minerals, in conjunction with regular physical activity.
Whilst it can seem easy to fall into the trap of quick fixes or a one stop solution in a bottle to improve your health or change the way you look, it certainly isn't the answer. Sadly, there are no quick fixes or simple solutions, rather a focus on lifestyle factors is more likely to be the way forward.
So if you're to take anything away from this article, it's to ditch any fads and quick fixes that especially promote or suggest that they can detox. It's not always the easy choice, but it will be the right one in the long run.
- Whilst detoxes might seem like a legitimate and feasible method to better health and weight loss, there's no substantial evidence to support any detox product on the market.
- The pros of convenience unfortunately do not outweigh the lack of benefits associated with detoxification.
- Save your pennies and headaches by keeping it simple and investing in more fruit & vegetables instead.
- Klein A V., Kiat H. (2015). Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: A critical review of the evidence. JHum Nutr Diet; 28(6):675–86.
About the Author
Jake Gifford, MSc is a personal trainer based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Jake encourages people to reject diet culture and discover the benefits of exercise beyond the way you look. You can also find him on Instagram @thephitcoach