Reminder: That 'Detox' Cleanse Is a Crock of Shit

Illustration for article titled Reminder: That Detox Cleanse Is a Crock of Shit

At some point during the month of January, a work pal or loved one will attempt to talk you into some kind of cleanse or colonic, making pinkie-promises about how it'll "detox" your guts. Do not listen. It is pseudoscientific marketing nonsense.


In advance of all those New Year's resolutions, the Guardian goes in on the concept of the detox. Unless you're trying to kick heroin, it's balderdash:

"Let's be clear," says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, "there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn't." The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. "The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you're supposed to have accumulated."


If there were dire "toxins" in your system your kidneys/liver/etc. couldn't handle, you'd already be dead. Nor does your liver need some special luxury spa vacation:

"It's definitely good to have non-alcohol days as part of your lifestyle," says Catherine Collins, an NHS dietitian at St George's Hospital. "It'll probably give you a chance to reassess your drinking habits if you're drinking too much. But the idea that your liver somehow needs to be 'cleansed' is ridiculous."

"The ultimate lifestyle 'detox' is not smoking, exercising and enjoying a healthy balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet," she added. Sure, if you swear off Jack Daniels and spend two weeks eating celery and cucumbers instead of donuts, you'll probably feel better. But that's because vegetables are better for you, not because you're "detoxing" anything. So save your money and eat some salmon and go for a walk and call it a day.

Image via Africa Studio/Shutterstock.

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I recently lost a family member to cancer, and in the months before his death, well meaning hippie type friends repeatedly told him that essential oils and detox could "cure his cancer". Worse, one egregious idiot suggested that "not detoxing enough" was possibly why he got cancer in the first place. She then offered to come spray him with some oils a "shaman friend" had given her.

His polite and kind responses shamed me out of writing what I wanted to, which was basically :