Whether it is to rapidly shed pounds before bikini season or simply to cleanse your body of toxins for overall wellness; detox pills, drinks and regimes are waiting in the wings ready to tempt the willing participant.
All of these body cleansing & detoxing programs are based on a regularly perpetuated idea that we must purge our bodies of dangerous toxins we’ve accumulated from our modern lives thanks to environmental pollution, chemicals in our foods/cosmetics/cleaning products, alcohol etc.
Do We Need Outside Help For Our Insides?
Our bodies are very clever and the reality is that we each have a built-in detoxification system. Our skin, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, lungs, lymphatic system and intestines all work daily to rid our body of toxins irrespective of any additional pill, lemon drink or sauna session.
While our bodies are constantly purging detectable toxins (from internal and external sources) there can be an accumulative surplus of toxins when leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
This surplus of toxins is what detox diets promise to eliminate from your body despite the fact there is no current clinical evidence to support the efficacy of commercial detox products, as mentioned here. An excerpt that sums it up perfectly…
to the best of our knowledge, no randomised controlled trials have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of commercial detox diets in humans.”
Dangers Of Detox
I won’t go into each and every detox practice and the risks but one particular method has been highlighted not only for it’s lack of evidence but for producing a legitimate risk to patients… colon cleansing.
In this 60 Second Health recording from Scientific American they reference a study that has concluded not only is there little clinical evidence to support the practice of colon cleansing but also that many patients have incurred adverse effects anywhere from mild bloating and vomiting to pelvic abscesses and renal failure.
From the Journal of Family Practice…
Despite colon cleansing’s long history and current popularity, the literature does not support its purported benefits.”
And it continues, that their practice recommendation is to…
Advise patients that colon cleansing has no proven benefits and many adverse effects.”
To Detox Or Not?
As discussed in this article from The Conversation, cutting back on fast food, alcohol and sweets is definitely going to lessen the workload on your body’s detoxification processes and help everything function more smoothly. However, it is misguided to believe that a weeklong cleanse or even a 30 day juice fast can undo years of unhealthy lifestyle practices.
They sum it simply with this…
The crux of the story is that the human body is a comprehensive, self-mending, self-detoxing apparatus. It will perform its detoxification tasks regardless of whether you’re undertaking a rigid detox cure, or a gourmet food and wine tasting marathon. But providing the right ingredients for optimal function daily, rather than opting for a quick-fix detox, is the key.”
However convenient it would be to condense your health and wellness efforts into a weeklong detox a few times a year… Current research indicates that a consistently healthy lifestyle is your best bet for supporting your body’s natural purification methods.