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Detox for health: Is it necessary?

Published: April 01, 2021

Detox remedies have a history
Detox remedies have a history

People respond positively to advertisements for cleasing diets and products.

This is despite a lack of evidence for or against the practice of detox, and warnings from the scientific community about the dangers of detox diets and products.
The detox industry, which has been established over many years, rakes in millions of dollars every year for manufacturers and retailers.  
But what do detox programs do for the consumer?
The Detox Dossier, released in 2009, revealed that:

  1. "Detox" means different things to different detox product manufacturers.
  2. Evidence supporting detox claims is absent or insignificant.
  3. In many instances producers and retailers indicate "detox" is simply renaming of mundane things like cleaning or brushing.

The investigation identified that manufacturers of detox products could not provide a clear understanding of "detox", or proof that their products worked. Furthermore, much of the information provided about how the body works was incorrect.

In general, the authors of the report felt that "detox" is being used as a marketing slogan, and the people who sell the products often have no professional training.  
At best the products do no more than what the body does naturally and at worst detox products may not be tested, and could be potentially toxic and dangerous.
Claims which promote detox
While the term "detox" lacks definition, the core of a detox program or regime is usually a restrictive diet and in some cases fasting.  The length of programs varies from a one day fast to a 30 day "cleanse". 
Detox programs often advocate elimination with the use of some type of laxative in addition to a restrictive diet.
The consumption of lots of water and/or herbal teas may also be part of a detox program. 
The supporting "theory" for a detox program can vary, but commonly...link to the full article to learn more.

Related Topics

Diet  Nutrients  Your Body 


Sense about Science
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth