Detox Lie: Why the Body Doesn’t Need Help to Detox


toxins out of the body? There are patches, powders, and juice regimens that follow the motto “detox” the promise.

Basically, the body does not need these products at all. Without help, it can break down harmful substances of any kind through the liver, intestines, kidneys and lungs and release them to the outside.

Due to a lack of scientific evidence, manufacturers are prohibited from marketing foods with detox claims. However, many do not adhere to it or rewrite their products.

Exhausted and lacking in energy: This is how each of us feels from time to time. A condition that the manufacturers of products such as teas, capsules or cured juices collect. Under the keyword Detox, they promise great things: the products are supposed to detoxify the body. We should feel fitter, more powerful, maybe even lose a few pounds. A marketing trick, or do the products really benefit us?

For Annett Reinke, Food/Nutrition Team Leader at the Brandenburg Consumer Center, the answer is clear: the term detox alone is misleading. Behind this is the word detoxification, which means detoxification. Alone: ​​The body does not need any help to detoxify. “He makes it himself and it’s really excellent,” says Matthias Riedl, a nutritionist from Hamburg.

It is also often spoken of “purification”.

Harmful substances of all kinds are broken down through the liver, intestines, kidneys, and lungs and released to the outside. At best, in the case of acute poisoning, for example due to drug overdose, a doctor would have to take countermeasures with an antidote.

It can happen that lead from water pipes, for example, accumulates in fatty tissue. “But there is no scientific evidence that such a contaminant can be removed from the body with a detox product,” says nutritionist Riedl.

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Manufacturers of detox products often advertise a “cleansing” effect. However: There is no such thing as “scum” at all, says consumer advocate Reinke. According to Reinke, promises that you can lose weight or boost your immune system with detox products are also unproven scientifically. His verdict: “Products that are freely available on the market and supposedly have a detoxifying effect are expensive and unnecessary.”

Casts that darken

One product that the consumer advocate found particularly dubious are detox patches. According to the manufacturer, the plaster should be adhered to the soles of the feet at night before going to bed. If the plasters darken overnight, this should show that the plasters have sucked the toxins out of the body.

“The darkening could be due to the combination of heat under the duvet and humidity,” Reinke suspects. But it is not due to detoxification, because there is no scientific evidence for this either.

prohibited food label

Precisely because scientific evidence is lacking on the crucial points, manufacturers are prohibited from putting products on the market with detox promises. At least this applies to food, as a result of a decision of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in 2018. However, some manufacturers do not comply, others describe their products.

What you should not forget, however, is that some detox products also contain healthy ingredients like pumpkin seeds, green tea, or healing earth. “They do not harm the body, but they do not develop the advertised detoxifying effect,” says nutritionist Riedl. Reinke adds that pumpkin seeds as such are fine, as is green tea as a drink, “but why should they be expensive supplements?”

However, it’s best to keep your hands off some detox products. Matthias Riedl advises against juice detox cures, where the diet consists solely of juices for days. Because juices, which consist of fruits and vegetables, are too high in sugar, which puts pressure on the liver.

Caution is also required with dehydrating products: Those who consume them for a longer time excrete more minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium. This can throw the body’s electrolyte balance out of balance. The result can be cramps or muscle disorders.

Don’t even introduce toxins into your body.

So what can you do to do something really good for your body, without patches and powders? It’s best not to introduce as many harmful substances into your body in the first place: “Avoid nicotine and alcohol if possible,” advises consumer advocate Annett Reinke.

Nutrition professionals advise eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. However: “Always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them,” says Reinke. In leafy vegetables, it is advisable to remove the outer leaves and the stem to protect them from heavy metals. Organic products usually contain fewer harmful substances.

In order for the kidneys to filter toxins quickly and effectively, you need to drink enough: two to three liters of water and unsweetened tea a day.

Fasting to repair cell damage

Also beneficial for the body: fasting. “So-called interval fasting can be helpful,” explains Riedl. For example, no food is eaten between 4 pm and 8 am the next day. In this time window, the body reaches a special metabolic state and is therefore better able to repair cell damage.

“In general, fasting leads to a better understanding of one’s needs,” explains Riedl. Eating more mindfully can also help you lose extra pounds. “Those who also incorporate a lot of exercise into their daily lives, preferably outdoors, are really good for their bodies,” says Riedl. And that without spending a single euro on detox products.

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