The Truth About Detox Cleanses

The Truth About Detoxes and Cleanses - The Jerd

The Blueprint Cleanse

Dr. Oz’s 48 Hour Cleanse

The Clean Program

The Wild Rose Detox

The list of detox programs/diets/cleanses goes on and on!

It is a massively lucrative market dominated by special juices, drink mixes, pills, absorbing pads, shampoos and a wide assortment of celebrity endorsed products.

These toxin busting programs, whether you find them online, at a health food store, or at your yoga studio, all have one very important thing in common…

They are all full of crap!

Detox Programs Are Nonsense!

I hate to burst your bubble but as far as science goes, these over-the-counter programs are nothing but well-marketed snake-oil.

Hooey. Hokum. Clown shoes. Bullsh*t!

Shenanigans I say!

You see, detoxification is a valid medical term.

In the setting of real medicine, the term “detoxification” refers to treatments for dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or poisons, like heavy metals. Detoxification treatments are defined, medical procedures that aren’t sold on a shelf or from a menu at a spa.

They’re provided in hospitals when there are life-threatening issues.

So what are the detox products you see in the drugstore, and hear that your favorite celebrity uses, all about?

Since regulations on advertising are so lax, almost anything can be a “detox” now. Don’t believe me? Go check out your local pharmacy or health food store and take stock of all the kits/boxes/bottles/books promising a whole new you in 3-30 days (especially during New Year’s Resolution season).

“There is no evidence that detox diets do any kind of detoxification in the body.”Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, Spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

While those promises of a quick-fix might sound great, your body already does all the detoxing you need on a daily basis!

The skin, kidneys, lymphatic system, gastrointestinal system, and the liver do a bang-up job of being our (extremely complex and sophisticated) built-in detoxification system.

Advocates for detox kits will tell you the liver and kidneys act like filters, where toxins are physically captured and retained like fish in a net. They will tell you that these organs need to be cleaned out periodically.

You know, like you’d rinse out a sponge.

That sounds reasonable right?

But there is one small problem with that bit of “common” sense…

Your organs don’t work that way!!!

Things like your liver and kidneys are self-cleaning. Your liver performs all sorts of chemical wizardry to convert toxic substances into ones that your body can eliminate through bile or the kidneys, and your kidneys excrete waste products into your urine.

Toxins don’t accumulate in them, and unless you have kidney or liver disease, they are going to function fine.

The shady practice of selling/endorsing products claiming to provide a much-needed “cleanse” to these organs not only demonstrates a clear (and often willful) ignorance of the human body, but also of metabolism and toxicology as well.

Oh, and speaking of killer nanobots these deadly toxins…

WTF Is A “Toxin” Anyway?

The Truth About Detoxes - Toxins - The Jerd

Even though mainstream science discarded theories like autointoxication by the early 1900s it, and other unfounded premises, still hangs around like a bad supervillain.

Practitioners of “alternative medicine”, and those who are willing to say anything to make a buck, keep coming up with all sorts of treatments for ailments that don’t actually exist.

Because basing treatments on scientific evidence is for suckers, duh!

These chuckle-heads will argue that some random combination of preservatives, gluten, meat, chemicals, vaccine ingredients, pesticides, pixie dust and alcohol are causing “toxins” to build in your body and to make you sick.

Another statement that might sound reasonable on the surface right?

But what exactly are these nefarious “toxins” causing you vile harm?

It’s a valid question, and therein lies the rub.

None of these fools can tell you!

It’s nothing more than a meaningless term that sounds scientific enough to be plausible. Find a detox kit/program that actually names the specific toxins that it claims it will remove, I dare you.

Pssst… before you take up the challenge let me warn you that it’s a sucker bet; because none of them do.

None of them!

As an example, let’s take a look at the description of a popular detox product.

In today’s toxic world, cleansing and detoxification is a necessity. Toxins enter our body daily through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Over time, these toxins build up and slowly start to affect our health in a negative way. Through cleansing and detoxification, you enable your body to better process this toxic load. Reducing the toxic load in your body decreases the risk of developing chronic health problems, improves overall health and immune response, and can increase energy levels. CleanseSMART works to cleanse and detoxify the entire body, but with focus on the body’s two main detoxification pathways – the liver and the colon.

That couldn’t be more vague if it tried, could it?

They allude to “toxins”, but make sure to not name them. It sounds plausible, but is completely non-specific.

And this one even makes the case for people who are healthy (and presumably toxin free) to partake as a preventative measure!

You’ll notice from the excerpt above that in addition to the liver and kidney, detox advocates also fixate on the colon (insert joke about them bending consumers over here.)

They will tell you that some sort of toxic sludge, or what some of them call “mucoid plaque”, is accumulating in your intestines. This build-up supposedly creates a place for parasites, yeast and other assorted mythical nastiness to come together and party down.

Before you get worried though, science is once again coming to the rescue!

Mucoid plaque, toxic sludge, or whatever other scary label these charlatans want to put on it? They don’t exist. It’s all made-up!

Don’t believe me? Ask any gastroenterologist (you know, those guys who spent years and years in school and now look inside colons for a living) if they’ve ever encountered this “build up” that, if you believe the detox hype, is out to destroy you from the inside out.

They will tell you no, because there isn’t a single case that’s been ever been documented in medical literature.

Not one.

And don’t even get me started on the products that use plasticine so that your waste looks different, or the pads that are supposed to absorb skin toxins who have ingredients that turn brown when exposed to normal, healthy human sweat. The lengths these con-men will go to, so some sort of confirmation bias helps perpetuate their claims, is amazing.

And also a little criminal if you ask me.

So Why Do We Fall For The Hype?

The Truth About Detoxes and Cleanses 2 - The Jerd

At its core, these sort of products prey on inherent paranoia and the same mindset that allows those fad-diets that don’t work to flourish.

The fear that something is “wrong” with us, and the desire for a quick fix.

If we don’t feel our best (or “think” we don’t) we want to get back on top right away!

We don’t have time to actually look at the root cause of our issues; we want to slap a bandaid on it and keep moving!

The other reason so many people fall for these is that these scam artists are banking on people’s innate desire to defer responsibility to influence their spending habits.

According to Peter Ayton, professor of psychology at City University London, people are susceptible to gimmicks like these because we live in a constant state of information overload. With so much information constantly bombarding us people are happy to defer whatever responsibility they can to others who might understand things better.

To understand even shampoo you need to have a PhD in biochemistry” he says, “but a lot of people don’t have that. If it seems reasonable and plausible and invokes a familiar concept, like detoxing, then we’re happy to go with it.

So many of our consumer decisions are poorly informed.

People assume that the world is carefully regulated and that there are benign institutions guarding them from making any kind of errors. A lot of marketing drip-feeds the idea, surreptitiously. So if people are somebody with apparently the right credentials, they think they are listening to a respectable medic and trust their advice.

On the surface it makes complete sense, right?

We spend our weekends (or life) abusing our bodies with processed foods, alcohol and all sorts of chemicals we know are bad for us; so a product that promises to hit the proverbial reset button by cleaning out all the residual toxins and waste left behind sounds like a godsend!

Look, I really want the marketing hype to be true too! But it just isn’t; sorry to burst your bubble people.

“Okay, if you are so smart Mr. Jerd, then why do I feel so much better after I detox?”

For two very important reasons…

  1. The Placebo Effect – The mind is a crazy powerful thing, and for reasons I am definitely not smart enough to understand if you think something should make you feel better it often will.
  2. Because when you are cleansing you are not doing all the things you already know are bad for your body! If you aren’t pounding fast food and drinking tons of beer, and instead are ingesting nutrient heavy fruit juices and lots of water of course you are going to feel better, but it has nothing to do with mystery toxins leaving your body; it’s because you aren’t treating your body like a truck stop for a few days!

Your body is already doing its job daily, don’t waste money on magical concoctions!

So How Do You Stay Healthy In Today’s World?

The Truth About Detoxes and Cleanses 3 - The Jerd

In reality, if you really want to detox your body the best thing to do is have a diet that has plenty of fiber, plenty of fruits and vegetables, a lot of whole grains, a lot of plant foods so that your immune system, your liver, kidneys, lungs and other organs in your body can naturally do their job to detox you on its own,” says Giancoli.

Look guys, the human body is one crazy piece of machinery!

So we how about we trust in our body’s ability to do that?

If you are worried about toxins, stop eating crap and getting hammered every weekend; and then feed your body the right foods so that it can be at its best.

It’s that simple!

Here are 5 simple methods to living a healthy life, without needing to throw away your hard-earned money on nonsense detox programs.

  1. Drink Enough Water – By making sure you are drinking at least 48-80 ounces of water a day not only will you help flush out all the waste your kidneys are processing, but you also get all the subtle benefits too. Things like better skin, better digestion and a curbing of your appetite which of course will help if you are trying to lose weight.
  2. Get Enough Sleep – In today’s busy world this vital aspect of a healthy lifestyle is oft overlooked. A solid night of restful sleep is the key to lower blood pressure, higher energy levels throughout the day, boosts brain activity and properly regulates hormones (which has a direct correlation to weight management.) Make getting 7-9 hours of sleep a priority in your life!
  3. Eat A Clean Diet – The best way to stay healthy and “toxin” free is to keep the processed foods to a bare minimum and eat a diet of vitamin rich foods high in fiber. If you fuel your body with lean proteins, lots of colorful leafy vegetables and some whole grains it will keep running at peak efficiency for you.
  4. Exercise Regularly – In addition to burning calories and building muscle, exercise gets our blood pumping through our heart and liver; and like we said above your liver does a lot of the work when it comes to detoxing. And of course there are the other detox benefits you might not think of like sweating and increasing your breathing (your lungs do a lot of internal detox work too). So get on a solid program now!
  5. Sweat More – Our largest organ, our skin, is also good at ridding us of chemicals. And certain real toxins, like Bisphenol A, get expunged from your body better through the skin than via other avenues. Exercising like we already said and/or saunas are a great way to get your sweat on and have the added benefit of making your skin look and feel great.

So there ya go. The uncomfortable truth about detoxes and cleanses.

I am not saying that taking a few days here and there to be super vigilant about what you are putting into your body is a bad thing (in fact I think it’s a great idea!), but you don’t need to pay a bunch of money for some bogus program to do it!

Your entire body is already on the job!

Ever used any detox products before? Have friends who swear by them? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

And if you need some more guidance on how to eat right and get the most out of your body, grab a copy of the Heroes’ Transformation Guide now!

(Photo #1 credit, Photo #4 credit)

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