Health and Wellness


/ 10 February 2022

If you ate a lot over the holidays, you might wonder if a New Year’s detox is a good idea. Advertisements say that detox juice concoctions can help you lose weight, cut cravings, speed up your metabolism, and get rid of toxins. All of these sound good. But are detoxes really able to achieve these impressive results? Not at all. Drinking juice made from cucumbers, celery, lemons, and parsley isn’t going to make you feel better. There’s nothing special about it.

By 2026, the global market for detox products is expected to be worth $75 billion. This is based on a report from research company Research and Markets. People who want to get rid of things like herbs, pills, tea, and juice cleanses are in this group. So, where did the idea of “detoxing” come from? Is there any harm in giving it a try? (Note: This article only talks about liquid detox diet cleanses. It doesn’t talk about how to get rid of alcohol or drugs, or how to get rid of heavy metal toxicity with detox chelation therapy.)

Photo courtesy of Ted Talk

Nitin Ahuja, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said that detox diets have a very interesting history. In the past, there was a lot of interest in the idea that constipation could make people sick from inside their bodies. At the turn of the 20th century, “people were doing aggressive bowel regimens or having surgery to remove the colon because they thought that retained stool was causing septicemia,” or blood poisoning.

As a good idea, this practice was stopped in the 1930s. However, Ahuja said the idea that our guts benefit from cleansing still holds true today, even though there is no clinical evidence for this. He said there are good reasons to treat constipation, which can be painful. If you have a normal gastrointestinal system, you don’t need to do anything extra to get rid of the byproducts of food that have been broken down.

Put down the cayenne-lemon water and step away from the herbal tea. Cleanses and detox products like these don’t remove toxins, says Dr. Jen Gunter, and some of them may even be hurting your health. Learn how your body rids itself of harmful substances and what you can do to keep this system running smoothly.