Friday, 21 January 2011

How do they get away with it? The detox debunk

'Detox' has for a good number of years been one of those words that is bandied around by companies to sell products because it sounds good, without actually meaning anything much. Infamously the Prince of Wales' Duchy Originals sells a detox tincture (now available through Waitrose, hurrah!) that is supposed to be 'a food supplement to help eliminate toxins and aid digestion'. Despite the ASA upholding a complaint about their advertising, the stuff is still on sale.

Even worse, I saw in a women's magazine the other day (don't ask) blurb for a 'detox diet' that told us 'a detox diet can be just as good as botox!' According to the magazine:
  • This diet will rid you of stored toxins so your complexion clears and skin tone and colour becomes even
  • Excess water is flushed out, taking with it debris and toxins, reducing puffiness and dark circles around the eyes
  • Antioxidant foods combat the aging damage done by free radicals in your body when you're emotionally stressed, sunbathe or exercise a lot.
  • Includes foods that will take years off your skin: such as spinach, which is full of beta-carotene to improve skin firmness, omega-3 rich oily fish to reduce redness and watermelon to give you a dewy complexion
I don't know where to start with what's wrong with this. It is full of misleading information.
  • There are no such things as ‘stored toxins’
  • There’s no such thing as detox
  • When you use botox you are adding a toxin, not removing it – botox is a toxin
  • Excess water is a meaningless concept in the way it’s used here
  • Antioxidant foods don’t combat free radicals. The antioxidants naturally produced by your body do, but trials of consuming antioxidants have had, if anything, a negative impact on health. It’s a myth.
What I don't understand is how they (by which I mean all these people who make money out of ripping customers off by selling them snake oil) get away with such blatant stuff. Don't get be wrong, of course you look better on a good diet than when you are eating rubbish. But 'detox'? Give me strength. (Prince Charles probably has a tincture for that.)

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