“Detox” products in check: Do chips and water really help against toxins?

Exhaustion and lack of energy: All of us feel this way from time to time. A situation that manufacturers of products such as tea, capsules or juice drinks take.

Under the slogan “Detox” they promise big things: The products are supposed to detoxify the body. We should feel better, stronger, maybe even lose a few pounds. A marketing trick – do products really benefit us?

For Annett Reinke, team leader for food/nutrition at the customer center in Brandenburg, the answer is clear: the term detox is just misleading.

Behind this word is detoxification, which means detoxification. Simply: The body does not need help to detoxify itself. “He does it himself, and it’s really worth it,” says Hamburg food expert Matthias Riedl.

“Cleaning” is often mentioned.

All kinds of harmful substances are broken down and released through the liver, intestines, kidneys and lungs. Ideally, in the case of acute poisoning, for example due to drug overdose, the doctor should take precautions with antidotes.

For example, lead from water pipes may accumulate in the fatty tissue. “But there is no scientific evidence that such a contaminant can be removed from the body with a detox product,” says nutritionist Riedl.

Manufacturers of detox products often advertise a “cleansing” effect. However: consumer advocate Reinke says, there is no such thing as “slag”.

According to Reinke, claims that you can lose weight or boost your immune system with detox products are also not scientifically proven. Her verdict: “Products that are freely available on the market and are supposed to have an exclusionary effect are expensive and unnecessary.”

Plasters that darken

One product that the consumer advocate judged particularly suspect is detox pads. According to the manufacturer, the stick should be attached to the legs in the evening before going to bed. If the plastic turns dark overnight, this should prove that the plastic has absorbed toxins from the body.

Reinke suspects that “the darkening could be caused by the accumulation of heat under the bush and moisture.” But it is not due to detoxification, because there is no scientific evidence for this either.

Prohibited food label

In fact, due to the lack of scientific evidence on important points, manufacturers are prohibited from marketing products with detox promises.

At least this applies to food, as a result of the decision of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in 2018. However, some manufacturers do not act, while others specify their products.

However, what you should not forget is that some detox products also contain healthy ingredients such as sunflower seeds, green tea or healing soil.

“They do not harm the body, but they do not promote the advertised detoxification effect,” says nutritionist Riedl.

Reinke says that pumpkin seeds are good as such, and green tea is good as a drink — “but why should it be an expensive food additive?”

Some products can also be damaged

However, it is best to keep your hands off some detox products. Matthias Riedl advises against water detoxification diets, where the diet consists only of drinking water for days. Because juices made from fruits and vegetables are high in sugar, this also affects the liver.

Caution is also necessary for dehydrating products: those who drink them for a longer period of time release more minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium. This can throw the body’s electrolyte balance out of balance. The result may be cramps or muscle disorders.

Do not even get poison into your body

So what can you do to actually do something good for your body – without the flowers or dust? It’s best not to get so many harmful substances into your body in the first place: “Avoid nicotine and alcohol if possible,” advises consumer advocate Annett Reinke.

Nutritionists recommend eating lots of fruits and vegetables. However: “Always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating,” says Reinke. With leafy vegetables, it is recommended to remove the outer leaves and stem to protect against heavy metals. Organic products usually contain less harmful substances.

In order for the kidneys to filter toxins quickly, you need to drink enough – about two to three liters of water and unsweetened tea a day.

Fasting to repair cell damage

It is also beneficial for the body: fasting. “This is how intermittent fasting can help,” explains Riedl. For example, no food is eaten the next day between 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM.

During this time window, the body reaches a specific metabolic state and is thus able to better repair cell damage.

Riedl explains: “Fasting in general leads to a better understanding of one’s needs. Eating more consciously can also help you lose extra pounds.

“Those who also include a lot of exercise in their daily life, preferably in fresh air, are really good for their bodies,” says Riedl. And that without spending a single euro on detox products.

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