Are Detox Diets Actually Beneficial?

Antoinette Aho, Editor-in-Chief

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With the new year comes the increase of clever ads and social media posts for detox diets. From flat tummy teas to juice cleanses, the reality of these detox methods aren’t as genuine as celebrities make them out to be. Although cleansing your body after the holidays, a time where most people consume more food than they usually would seem like a grand idea – detoxes aren’t necessary.

According to Navya Mysore, MD, a primary care provider at One Medical states “I would say the bottom line is that there really isn’t any clear evidence that detox or cleansing programs can actually make you healthier or improve your health, or that it removes ‘toxins’ from your body.”

The main downside of detox diets is the unsafety, especially of those promoted on Instagram, Dr. Mysore goes on to say, “ Right now there’s a shake that people are using that has some really awesome ingredients, but a lot of other additives that we don’t really know the safety profile of. They can be harmful.”

These shakes can lead to diarrhea and severe stomach cramping. In some consumers, the product may cause adverse health effects entirely.

The truth is that the human body has the ability to filter out everything it doesn’t need. The kidneys and the liver both work to cleanse the system and get rid of the bad stuff.

Detoxes are meant to remove real toxins, such as those from drugs, from the body. Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, told The Guardian in 2014 that detoxing when it’s not the medical kind to help someone with substance use disorder, is largely pseudoscience.

He states that these methods don’t truly work and rather just fool the mind into believing the body is being renewed.

So instead of starting the new year off with a detox diet, doctors and researchers advise cleansing your body naturally by eating fruits and vegetables and exercising. If someone really feels like they need to detox their system, drinking lots of water is a reliable option.