When many people think ‘detox’ they think weight loss or purifying the body of the toxins they consume in alcohol, unhealthy food etc. But the thing is, the word ‘detox’ in ‘detox drinks’ is actually a hijacked term used to sell consumers a weight loss product – that actually doesn’t work or has short term placebo effect…
Why aren’t detox drinks worth it?
For starters, there is very little – if any – research around the success of detox drinks. Many products claim to ‘purify’ the body, but emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University Edzard Ernst said “It’s a scandal.”
But why is it at scandal?
Because, according to Ernst, if toxins did build up in the body so much that it couldn’t excrete them itself then many of us would be in need of serious medical attention almost all the time. The human body is so complex that it has built in systems such as the kidneys, liver, skin and even lungs that naturally detoxify our bodies. According to Ernst there’s no scientifically proven way to make this process work any better.
The other negative aspect of detox drinks – other than their lack of factual evidence – is the total lack of information or indication towards the type of ‘toxins’ being detoxified from the body on consumption. Scientifically speaking, if the toxins were specified, they could be tested on their effectiveness, but they haven’t been.
Some claims made by these companies are valid, though greatly over exaggerated.
Valid detox drinks claims
- They help with weight loss
This might have some slight truth to it, but the health benefit lays in the fact that you’re consuming more liquid. This is because hydration has been linked to helping individuals lose weight by temporarily elevating metabolic rate. Accordingly to dietitians you could also just drink regular tap water and have the same impact.
- Improves Digestion
Again this is true. Drinking detox drinks can improve digestive health by regulating bowel movements, but this is again because the consumption of such detox drinks keeps you hydrated and hydration keeps you energetic and decreases bloating and constipation.
- Improves energy levels
Keeping hydrated is also key to keeping high energy levels. And because we know detox drinks contain a high amount of liquid (water) they can help keep you focused and energised.
Yes, detox drinks can possibly help with weight loss, improve digestion and energy levels, however this is due to the water within the detox drink not anything to do with ‘detoxifying’ the body.
So as the experts say, “the best way to get that ‘health fix’ after a time of indulgence is to simply drink water to keep hydrated, eat a balanced diet and get a good night’s sleep” – Sense about Science
Your body will do the rest!
Want to know more about having a healthier diet? Read our article on 5 Simple Food Switches For a Healthier Diet.