Scientists dismiss ‘detox myth’
There is no evidence that products widely promoted to help the body “detox” work, scientists warn.
The charitable trust Sense About Science reviewed 15 products, from bottled water to face scrub, and found many detox claims were “meaningless”.
Anyone worried about the after-effects of Christmas overindulgence would get the same benefits from eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep, they said.
Advertising regulators said they looked at such issues on a case-by-case basis.
The investigation, done by research members of the Voice of Young Science network, was kicked off by a campaign to unpick “dodgy” science claims – where companies use phrases that sound scientific but do not actually mean anything.
Boy, do I know about that last one! As someone who’s done hard time in university research laboratories, what passes for “science” in “detox” product advertisements is total BS.
I thought this example was hilarious:
One researcher investigated a Garnier face wash which claimed to detoxify the skin by removing toxins.
The “toxins” turned out to be the dirt, make-up and skin oils that any cleanser would be expected to remove, she said.
One of the tip offs that a “detox” product is bogus is pretty simple…in the world of genuine science, “toxins” have names. We know what they are. We know what they do. Most importantly, we know how to measure them.
Ads for “detox” products are ALWAYS deliberately vague. There are never any before/after numbers for specific compounds. Feeling better afterwards is “proof” that the “toxins” have been removed. But if you’re feeling better, it’s more likely due to the fact that you’ve (temporarily) stopped eating junk and are drinking more water/fluids.
This guy couldn’t have put it better:
Tom Wells, a chemist who took part in the research, said: “The minimum sellers of detox products should be able to offer is a clear understanding of what detox is and proof that their product actually works.
“The people we contacted could do neither.”
Click here to download the full dossier – including the transcripts of the interviews conducted with the representatives of companies selling “detox” products…it’s a real eye-opener.
January 5, 2009
Thanks for posting this. The “Detox scam” is one of the most common perpetrated on unsuspecting consumers. I urge all visitors to download and read this dossier.
January 5, 2009
My tired husband and I are currently on a New Year’s 2 week detox with significantly modified diet and pills. I decided to keep track of it out my website and share recipes that actually taste good while you detox (not all of them were good but anyway). I’m sure the biggest effect of the detox is the modified diet more than the pills but by laying down some cash for the pills it makes us stick to the diet.
We are craving sweets like crazy but we are 25% of the way there. Read our journey each day over at