Detox is in the news, but do we need it?

A box of vegetables with a measuring tape wrapped around it

My friend Lorna and I read the same article about a new treatment to detox our bodies to get rid of all the toxins in our bodies, so we booked a treatment.  Lorna was having treatment for a painful leg. with lots of drugs. I was in the middle of a course of radiotherapy:  so both our bodies must have been full of toxins.

At the Detox centre, six of us sat around, surreptitiously glancing at everyone else in the circle.  The Therapist got us to introduce ourselves, and amongst us was an oviously bored but rich woman going through a divorce, and an equally bored young man from a very wealthy family.  An assistant brought in bowls of warm water, into which we plonked our feet.

The the therapist explained that the water contained special minerals and crystals, which would draw out all the toxins in our body, through our feet,and  whilst we sat there.  We were not to be alarmed if the water turned a dirty colour as this was the poisons in our body being drawn out.  We were then ‘sold’ the benefits of a regular course of de-toxification, which included spending time in a ‘special tent’.

At the end of our half-hour footbath, in comes the Assistant, and – surprise, surprise – the rich divorcee and young man both had black-coloured water in their bowl. Liz and my footbaths still contained clear water. No toxins in our bodies!  We escaped with persistent sales talk about ‘mirace detox crystals’ ringing in our ears.

Since then, I gather this firm has been closed down; never trust all you read in the papers! Or me, for that matter! although I do try to write accurately.

So I have been gathering information about Detoxing, from various sources 

Depending on which website you go to, so advice is different.  But from Govt.approved websites in UK, USA etc.  apparently restricting your diet and cutting out food groups such as wheat or dairy does not eliminate toxins. If you think you have an allergy to any food groups, see your doctor.

Those with nothing to sell agree there is no scientific evidence to show we need to detoz;what we need to do is eat a healthy diet e.g. include as many veg. as possible shown at the top of this page – and others.  However, fruit tends to be high in sugar,  and consuming an excessive amount of fruit in juices will not be good for you.  But don’t peel fruit if you can eat the peel, as that is good for you.

The last time I asked advice from a senior doctor on which supplements should I take, and should I detox, his reply was

  • If you eat a varied diet, including a variety of veggies, you won’t need supplements
  • And if you eat sensibly, your body won’t need a detox
  • If you’re tempted to follow a very low-calorie diet with the aim of detoxing rather than weight loss, be aware that fasting can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which could damage your health in the long term. In fact, slashing your calorie intake may also build up chemicals called ketones, which can lead to nausea, dehydrations and light headedness. Moderation, balance and variety are the keys to a healthy diet.

Cutting back on processed foods, eating more fruit and vegetables and drinking more water, can be a good way to kick-start a long-term change towards healthier eating habits.  If you dont know which foods are processed,  think back to what our ancestors ate:  food wasn’t processed in their day.

Can any supplements etc. detox you?

The US health authorities can’t find evidence that supplements or superfoods will help you detox. They say supplements are not a quick-fix cure or a substitute for a healthy balanced diet. Doctors in the UK continualy warn of dangers around taking some supplements, and my doctor says I’ll get all the minerals etc., I need if I eat a healthy balanced diet.  However, my very experienced Dermatologist did advise a Zinc supplement (Solvazinc) to cure my splitting nails (from aromatase inhibitor drugs) and this worked – but never take a supplement without asking advice from your doctor or nurse, as some can react with drugs you might be prescribed.

Is a detox ever a good idea?

Yes, if it means cutting out alcohol.  Otherwise, authorities here, in Australia and the US agree there is no evidence that it is possible to actively detox from the chemicals of everyday life. Furthermore, your body is very good at expelling toxins naturally.

So trust in your body, and if a ‘miracle food’ makes claims offering health benefits – DON’T believe all you read!

And don’t forget to ask advice of your doctor or nurse – remember I am not medically qualified, and they know what you should be eating.

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