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Healthy is a Lifestyle, Not a Diet: The “Detox” Diet Fallacy

“A healthy outside starts from the inside.” -Robert Urich


Are you looking for a quick fix to jump-start your weight loss? After the holidays, we often see people blending up all sorts of concoctions  to “detox” or “cleanse” their bodies of impurities that they feel have accumulated  from poor eating, lack of exercise and other vices. But is there any legitimacy in these  claims? Can you really reset your body in 3  days for the low price of 29.99?

The answer is no–don’t fall for the scam. Products like detoxifying tablets, herbal juices and purifying smoothies do not magically undo an unhealthy lifestyle and reset your body. Your liver and kidneys can’t be thrown in the washer on rinse cycle and come out spotless. These products do nothing that your body can’t naturally do on its own. People claim things like dramatic weight loss, but most likely this is due extremely low caloric intake or diuretic/laxative effects of the detox plan (and most of this weight will come back anyway after the detox if lifestyle habits are not changed.) While homeopathic detox treatments based on herbs, vitamins and minerals probably will not cause you any harm, and might actually give you a dose of much needed vitamins that you were lacking from a poor diet, they are not a cure-all.

The word”detox” itself is a marketing scheme, used to make people think that toxins are accumulating in our bodies. The term has no legitimate meaning outside of its use as the medical treatment of life-threatening levels of drugs, alcohol, or poison. So what “toxins” do detox supplements claim to eliminate? Well, they don’t actually specify! If these unnamed toxins were actually accumulating in our body in dangerous amounts and our bodies were not able to process them, we’d likely be very ill or dead.

In 2009, the Voice of Young Science published the “Detox Dossier,” which was a report of their search for scientific evidence behind 15 popular detox products. The summary of their findings is as follows: “No one we contacted was able to provide any evidence for their claims, or give a comprehensive definition of what they meant by ‘detox’…Many of the claims about how the body works were wrong and some were even dangerous.” 

There is no scientific evidence to support the claims of detox products. They simply don’t do anything. Your liver, kidneys and even skin work naturally to keep your body healthy as long as you’re nourishing it properly. Save your money, skip the gimmicky products, and start thinking of “detoxing” as simply adopting healthy habits: exercise regularly, don’t smoke or use drugs, and eat a clean, whole-foods diets avoiding processed foods filled with added sugars, artificial and chemical ingredients.

There is no quick way to becoming healthy. It’s a lifestyle choice that you must embrace, but it can be hard to figure out where to start. If you need help with optimizing your diet for weight management, athletic performance, medical issues, or pre- or post-natal needs, contact our Registered Dietitian Nancy Cooper at 201-675-0693, or, or Holistic Nutrition Counselors Faith and Angelica (see them in the Fitness department!) to set up an appointment. For more information, visit our Wellness Services page.


By: Tracy L. Nieradka