A new year has started, along with the lists of resolutions, projects, and goals to achieve, topped first and foremost with the quest for the best new diet and "detox" program to get rid of the "toxins" and extra kilos left over from the holidays…
But do detox recipes or programs really work?
Let’s first clear up a few misconceptions about what "detox" really means:
Detox is a word which started appearing prominently in the 1970s and was first attributed to drug and alcohol rehab programs. It became popular in the current vernacular around 2007 when celebrity magazines started referring to stars’ “detox” diets
The word “Detox” was next introduced as a key marketing word on various products, such as teas, recipes, programs, patches, etc.
It is a false assumption to think that a healthy body is not naturally smart enough to know best how to detox itself on a daily basis.
“If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, in a recent interview in The Guardian.
“There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better,” he states, adding that products bearing the word ‘detox’ are simply the result of very lucrative marketing plans.
“It’s a scandal,” fumes Ernst. “It’s criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street and it sort of keys into something that we all would love to have – a simple remedy that frees us of our sins, so to speak. It’s nice to think that it could exist but unfortunately it doesn’t.”
“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.”
All that being said, it doesn’t mean we should not be more caring with our bodies after the indulgence of the holidays, and that we should not eat leaner and fresher food, include more vegetables, and drink more water. It certainly suggests that a sustained healthy lifestyle is the way to go! It is way less expensive and much more effective than any "detox" products or programs you can buy.
The ultimate ‘detox’ program is to adopt a detox lifestyle: Quit smoking (please tell me you're not still smoking!) make time for exercise, adopt relaxation techniques, enjoy your wine in moderation, and always be striving towards a healthy and balanced diet.