Detox diets don't work, expert says

December 11, 2012
Credit: Shutterstock

Detox diets are just another weight loss wonder, says Flinders University's Head of Human Physiology, Professor Simon Brookes.

With Christmas fast approaching – one of the busiest times on the social calendar – Professor Brookes warns that quick-fix detox drinks and liver-cleaning potions will do little to flush toxins from the body after weeks of overindulging on festive fare.

"Whenever I hear the word detox the word rubbish springs to mind," Professor Brookes says.

"Our kidneys, liver and are all designed to remove or neutralise toxins within hours of them being ingested.

"So the idea that you can somehow supplement this with some miracle powder, or some miracle drink, is nonsense."

And the more expensive the product is to buy, the more people are likely to believe it works, Professor Brookes says.

"It's the , people will actually believe it works if it costs more and has a horrible taste because they think it must be good for you.

"The marketing ploy is that it will make you feel better so you start to think you do feel better but it's basically helping your conscience, not your body."

Despite their shortcomings, Professor Brookes says detox diets are not entirely useless because they may encourage people to adopt healthier habits.

"You should be having lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and you shouldn't be eating junk food all the time so if a detox diet gets you off those things, that's well and good.

"But the idea that a two-day or two-week detox is going to fix all your problems after years of a bad diet, well, that's a fantasy."

While it may be the "same old message", Professor Brookes says the key to good health is to follow a , exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.

"It's all common sense – eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, get the heart-rate up and steer clear of too much alcohol and cigarettes – these things are all obvious but people don't want to hear it because it's the same old message but it's really the answer that works.

"There's no point turning to a for a quick-fix, just look after yourself in the first place."

Explore further: 'Detox protein' is collaborator in pancreatic and lung cancer development

Related Stories

Eat healthy -- your kids are watching

May 30, 2012

If lower-income mothers want kids with healthy diets, it's best to adopt healthy eating habits themselves and encourage their children to eat good foods rather than use force, rewards or punishments, says a Michigan State ...

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.