The Oxford Dictionary has chosen "Toxic" as the word most
representing the preoccupations, mood and ethos of the year. There are
descriptions of the political conversations, #MeToo and toxic
masculinity, to concerns about environmental poisons and the ongoing
fashion for de-tox programs to eliminate toxins associated with poor
lifestyle and diet choices, all linked by the word, "Toxic".

Detox diets are popular dieting strategies that claim to improve
toxin elimination and weight loss, promoting health and well-being as
a result of the program. There is very little clinical evidence to
support the use of these diets. There are no randomised controlled
trials conducted to assess the effectiveness of commercial detox diets
in humans and few demonstrating benefit in small animal studies or
human studies with very small sample sizes. The companies marketing
detox programs do not name the toxins they claim to remove.

The programs vary considerably, some simply aiming to boost raw
vegetables, unprocessed foods, reduce sugar, alcohol and caffeine,
most involve the use of supplements such as minerals, vitamins and
herbs and others involve significant reductions in kilojoule intakes,
some permitting only juices.

There is no evidence that we need our bodies to be additionally
cleansed of toxins built up by our lifestyle. Our kidneys, liver, gut,
immune system, lungs and skin are designed to neutralise toxic
substances such as pesticides and chemicals and convert them to
products that can be passed out of our bodies.

There is some risk of harm in continued elimination of certain key
food groups such as grains and dairy, in drinking large quantities of
water ( sodium imbalance and the risk of seizures and even coma) and
in severe kilojoule restriction ( fatigue, bad breath, gut upsets)

Choice reviewed several detox-in-a-box products available, for more
details regarding the assessment and results see

Although the detox diets offer a quick fix solution, are often
expensive and unnecessary and possible damaging, if the idea of a
'detox' stimulates you to eat more vegetables and fruit, reducing
alcohol and caffeine use, eating less processed foods , exercising
more and quitting smoking long term, your health will improve.

For a guide to the current Australian Dietary Guidelines see

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