More than a Waste of Money: The Dangers of Detox.

Good morning guys! So today I want to chat about a really important topic in the fitness world – the Detox Tea and meal replacement shakes. Influencers promote them left, right and centre and they are all promising a quick fix to help you reach your ‘body goals’ and look after your gut health but what’s the truth. A magic drink that will cure all your ails is very tempting but are there more problems than the hefty price tag and pink washed packaging?

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It might look pretty on your Instagram feed, but what is it doing to your health? (picture credit below*)

 

Recently Kim Kardashian posted a picture to her 106 million followers on Instagram promoting meal replacement shakes from the Flat Tummy Co, writing:

‘These meal replacement shakes are so good and it’s helping me to get my tummy back to flat in the New Year.’

I had a little look at Flat Tummy Co. site and they offer cleansing and activating teas at £37.32 for a four week programme, meant to cleanse and detoxify your system and reduce bloating. Their shakes that come in ‘Vanilla Pod’ and ‘Matcha Green Tea’ flavours (getting on board the superfood hype I see) will set you back £67.79 for a 4 week programme. They recommend replacing 1-2 meals a day with these shakes. 3,222,980 and counting liked this picture of Kim K promoting these shakes. Problematic, right? She is one of many celebs and influencers promoting similar products but the basic premise is the same. They promise to cleanse, detox and, if you want to cut back on 2 meals a day, help you lose weight. These are some really bold claims and come with a very bold price tag to match. To cut a long story short, this is not only promoting unhealthy eating habits but it’s also offering a dangerous and unsustainable way to achieve your goals.

Then there’s the Detox teas…An article written in Women’s Health (you can find this here if you’re interested) explored the ingredients in these Detox teas and similar products and spoke to experts on the topic. They mention an ingredient called Senna, which basically acts as a laxative and is used to empty the bowels of patients before medical surgery. There are huge dangers in taking laxatives long term, not to mention the fact you’re likely to be spending a lot of time sat on the look hoping no-one walks in (VIPoo can’t save you with this one!). 

It also means your body is less likely to absorb the energy, which has the potential for nutritional imbalances for you as most of these important nutrients are going to end up being flushed down the loo. The reason why your tummy is likely to look less bloated is because it is literally stripping you of everything you need – vital things that are quite literally keeping your heart ticking. It’s flat because it’s all sitting in the toilet and not inside you. This is not helping you lose FAT, you’re losing water and loads of other good things your body requires, slowly down your metabolism and ultimately setting your digestive system up to fail. Dr. Laurette Ihonor, a nutrition consultant and healthy eating advocate, was so concerned about the long term use of Senna for weight loss that she has set up a change.org petition asking the famous ‘Teatox’ brand ‘Bootea’ to remove Senna from their products.

After looking at the Bootea website, I could see no mention of Senna in the ingredients, which is a good sign. I did, however, see Senna leaf on the ingredients list of Flat Tummy Co.’s ‘Cleanse’ tea.

‘No, it shouldn’t have you running to the bathroom’

‘Don’t worry babe, it definitely shouldn’t. The very gentle cleansing effect is an essential part of the detoxification process to eliminate all those nasties and beat the bloat.’

Flat Tummy Co. response to a FAQ. 

I read ‘babe’ and I already felt uncomfortable. Senna is a laxative and taken for longer than a week without medical advice and support is dangerous. So really, when they say cleanse they mean sitting on a loo and shitting out your insides so you look a bit less bloated. Nice. Also, you shouldn’t drink this if you’re pregnant, or breast feeding (as is the same with Bootea) and it might mess up your contraceptive pill so use a condom, ‘babe….’  I went on to read some of the top tips for your health kick. These include ‘Eat Less’, ‘Cut Back on Veggies‘ and ‘Yes, You Need New Gear’. Nah, I’m out, I can’t do this anymore…

 

But without detox teas, how else are we supposed to detox? Well guys, you’re in luck. You have got, completely free of charge, the best toxin destroyer out there. It’s your liver. Our bodies do a really good job of detoxing on their own, only they know what is good and what is bad. This means you’re not losing things like electrolytes that keep your heart beating, but you are losing rubbish your body doesn’t need. Approved by your body, totally free and promises never to refer to you as ‘babe’. You had me at toxin destroyer…

Before I finish, I want to talk a little bit about my experience on a ‘detox’. When I was really struggling with my weight and self esteem issues, back before I educated myself on nutrition and healthy ways to lose weight, I did a detox. It involved a week of shakes and shots and very little, if any food. I felt horrendous. I was told I wouldn’t feel hungry. I did. I was told I wouldn’t gain the weight back again. I did. I was popping pills left, right and centre to give my body what it needed to apparently prevent it going into starvation mode and to keep my metabolism ticking over, when what I should have been doing is feeding my body to food it was crying out for. By the end of the week I had lost weight (more than likely water weight) and I am also lost my mind. I needed food.

I think I put the weight back on in less than the week it took to lose it. During this time I could not exercise because I had no energy. I would sleep all day just so I didn’t have to think about how hungry I was. I was unhealthy and I was unhappy. Learning about nutrition and how to love my body and take care of it has completely changed my eating habits and my relationship with food. I no longer want to deprive my body because I love it and I love what it is capable of. I know longer want to do something that it putting my physical and mental health at risk just to lose a few pounds I’ll inevitably put back on again.

If I learnt anything from my experience on these yoyo diets and detoxes and meal replacements it’s that nothing is the miracle treatment. Your relationship with food comes from within and how you mentally see your body and how you are fuelling it. Disrespecting your body will only need to more resentment for it. Love your body and in return it will love you.

Basically, if you’re looking to detox, look now further than your own insides. If you like a flavoured tea, go ahead, but don’t be sucked into the dangerous marketing on the Teetox. Don’t be tempted to skip your meals because Kim K says it’s the secret to a flat tummy. These things are dangerous and damaging, mentally as well as physically and there are safe and sustainable ways to achieve your goals without been sucked into to this recent craze. 

Jamie x 

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Photo credit* https://goo.gl/images/HovRLv

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