While we’re on our January health kicks, detox and ‘flat tummy’ products are being widely promoted by influencers and celebrities. Can they really help you to achieve your goals or are they, at best, a waste of money?
While the nation is set on achieving their diet related New Year’s resolutions, the diet industry is collectively rubbing their hands together. Just this week, Khloé Kardashain has posted to her millions of followers about her love of the supplements from Flat Tummy Co. This has led to outcry from the scientific and medical community warning people that the use of these products is at best unnecessary and at worst harmful. Detoxing in the medical sense is only used to refer to the detoxification process that victims of substance abuse must endure. Any other use of the term ‘detox’ is not legitimate.
So here are three good reasons to never buy a detox product:
They don’t work
Your liver and your kidneys are detoxing your body every second of everyday. Your liver does this by neutralising things like metabolic waste products, alcohol, and herbal and prescribed medications and your kidneys do this by filtering out these substances.
Adding artificial detox supplements into your system actually makes your liver work harder and some will dehydrate you which puts strain on your kidneys.
The best thing to support your detoxification organs is the same old message: drink plenty of water and eat plenty of brightly coloured fruit and veg – but you can’t bottle that and get influencers to sell it in bikinis.
Detox products also won’t work for weight loss. Remember, if there was a drink or a supplement you could take that worked safely and effectively for weight loss, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic.
You may have seen that influencers Lauren Goodger, Mike Hassini and Zara Holland all auditioned to promote a fake diet drink containing cyanide in an undercover documentary for the BBC. In the documentary Goodger admitted that she had never tried Skinny Coffee, a product she is known for promoting and which has very unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects (which is probably why she hasn’t tried it).
If the products were effective and safe, they would be used to treat the obesity epidemic and not sold ‘exclusively’ by immoral influencer who make money from misleading the public.
They cause diarrhoea
Many of the detox products contain known laxatives. Taking laxatives is a method of purging used by people with eating disorders. It is not safe or ethical to sell laxatives for weight loss. It is the equivalent of having influencers teaching their followers to make themselves sick after meals and calling it a weight loss plan.
In addition to the ethical issues, laxatives cause oral contraceptive failure and there have been a number of unwanted pregnancies associated with detox and ‘skinny tea’ products.
Despite this, they are heavily marketed at teenage girls and young women even in reputable high street pharmacies and health food shops. Actress Jameela Jamil has been using her social media platform to speak out against this.
They can be harmful
As well as the risks associated with diarrhoea and dehydration, because ‘detox’ isn’t a recognised claim, you could be buying anything. The market is not well regulated, particularly for the products sold via social media.
This means that the products you buy could have banned substances in them including ingredients that interact with prescribed medications and other supplements and they aren’t necessarily clearly labelled.
This may mean that they stop lifesaving epilepsy medications from working, cause unwanted pregnancies, reduce the action on antidepressants and cause harm to those with chronic diseases. There have been multiple cases of serious harm associated with detox products including (ironically) liver and kidney injuries.