Is it necessary to occasionally detox your body? And is a detox a panacea or quackery?
By detoxing you cleanse the body of toxic substances that have accumulated over the years. At least that’s the idea. Fasting, juice cures, activated charcoal, clay food, there are plenty of ways to detoxify. All with the same goal: a fitter and healthier body. It’s about the snails in your intestines up to the poison in your system … that’s what everyone wants from, right?
What’s the problem?
Fragrance, color, flavors in food, antibiotics, pesticide on fruits and vegetables, softeners plastic, parabens in care products, dioxins in animal products, PCBs in building materials, BPA on the inside of the tin, perfluoro in your Teflon pan, etc. These are the substances that are involved, among other things.
But how dangerous are these substances?
It depends a bit on the fabric. Some substances are harmless, others are not. BPA that sometimes, but no longer always, on the inside of cans you break pretty quickly. Your body is built to deal with certain toxins. However, dioxins or perfumes, for example, are worse degradable. These can accumulate in your fat cells.
So there is the problem and detox is the solution?
The toxins that you ingest daily are taken out of the blood by your liver and kidneys and broken down. Then they leave your body neatly through the back door. And that is a good thing because over 99% of the toxins that we ingest are toxins that occur naturally from scientific research by Ames and his colleague Gold from 2000.
Huh? Most toxins are toxins that occur naturally?
Yes, for example, plant toxins. Plants try to protect themselves in this way. Plants do not want to be eaten at all.
So the problem is even bigger?
Fortunately, it is all about small quantities and it is therefore not something to worry about. You just have a liver and kidneys for that. However, it is advisable to eat varied. Then you will get too much of a particular substance less quickly.
But toxins can still accumulate in your fat cells?
When toxins are difficult to break down or you ingest a lot at once, they are indeed ‘parked’ in fat cells. They can not do any harm there and then they are slowly broken down.
So detoxing is cleaning up the poison from fat cells?
When you lose weight quickly, your fat cells shrink and the toxins are released into your blood more quickly. However, that does not mean tidy up. The substances prefer to stay in cells and sometimes just search for a new spot until they can be broken down.
Is detoxing or smart?
Eating a little less for many people certainly does not hurt, but there are also disadvantages. For example, with a juice cure, you limit not only the number of toxins you ingest but also the number of essential nutrients. Although you get some vitamins and minerals, you also run a risk of shortages due to such a form of crash diet. Your body needs more essential nutrients than just vitamins and minerals.
But with detoxes do you clean up toxins?
That is not so simple to say. You can not show the number of toxins in your body, at most the amount in your blood. In addition, snails, for example, do not exist at all. Nothing sticks to the inside of your bowels. So how do you determine what and how much you clean up?
Can detoxing be done anyway?
It does not have to be dangerous immediately if you are healthy and do a short cure, but there are also forms of detox that do pose a danger. Think of the detoxification with clay/lime species. Clay and lime products can contain a lot of lead and then you are further away from home.
Sometimes activated carbon is recommended, but remember that activated carbon makes no distinction between harmful and useful substances. The chance that you get a vitamin deficiency or constipation is greater than a possible health effect. The use of active charcoal also reduces the effect of certain medications, including the contraceptive pill.
And if I supplement the course with supplements?
Only with that. The use of vitamin-mineral or herbal supplements is also not without risk. You can easily get an overdose of those substances, which your body wants to get rid of. That is only an extra burden for your kidneys and liver.
How is it possible that detox products make us believe that detox is so good?
Simple, they respond to “the logic of the idea” and use a lot of suggestive languages. But something that sounds logical is not always true.
They claim that …
Well, just pay attention. Hard health claims cannot be found on the packaging of detox products. Only a limited number of health claims are allowed. Which claims are allowed is legally determined to protect people against quackery.
Yet detox is hot.
Yes, the offer is huge! Just like the prices, by the way. It may well be that you feel refreshed for such a cure, but there is no scientific evidence that you actually detoxify.
What should we do then?
The best “detox” is of course just a healthy lifestyle. No smoking, avoid obesity, exercise adequately and eat and drink healthy.
Everyone knows that?
It’s as simple as that, but that turns out to be difficult enough in practice. A quarter of Dutch people still smoke, half are overweight, almost half of them do not move enough and almost everyone eats unhealthy. Here is really the win to achieve and that is also profit for your wallet.