The idea that the body is filled with pollutants that can be expelled by a severely restricted diet and detox supplements is not supported by science.
The above phrases are pseudo-science nonsense, designed to baffle consumers and make them think these products’ claims are based on science. Products often have celebrity testimonials, another sure sign there’s no evidence to support the claim.
Yes, chemicals can enter the body via the food we eat, the air we breathe and the drugs we ingest. But the body – specifically the lungs, kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and immune system – is designed to neutralise nasties and remove waste.
It was difficult to find any large and recent peer-reviewed studies that had tested the claims of detox kits. But a group of early-career scientists, part of the group the Voice of Young Science, published a “detox dossier” that reviewed a bunch of popular detox products in 2009.
They found none of the product manufacturers were able to provide evidence for their kits’ claims, or even give a comprehensive definition of what they meant by “detox”.
“We concluded that ‘detox’ as used in product marketing is a myth,” they said.
“Many of the claims about how the body works were wrong and some were even dangerous.”
Australia’s consumer watchdog Choice came to a similar conclusion in their review of detox kits in 2005. They suggest consumers save their money.
“Detox supplements provide little or no known benefit over a healthy diet.”