FOOD REPORT: Detox Drinks

Everyone knows that drinking water is important, but plain water can be a bore. In recent years, detox drink fads such as the Lemon Water Detox have travelled across the globe. Celebrities swear by them and pictures and recipes of fancy detox drinks are popping up all over Instagram. Not only are they a way to add a bit of flavour to your water, but they boast promises to cleanse your body and miraculously melt away fat. But does detox water really stay true to those promises? A study from The British Dietetic Association suggests it might not be that simple.

“Drinking water is a fantastic way to flush toxins out of your system,” says Emma Finch who studies Food and Nutrition at Brescia University College, “but people who restrict or even stop their food intake for days at a time and replace that with only detox drinks are starving their body of the necessary nutrients it needs to survive. Additionally, there haven’t yet been any conclusive studies yet that show if detox drinks can help with weight loss.”

So what does this mean? The good news is you don’t have to boycott detox waters just yet. The study shows that there is preliminary evidence that suggests that certain foods such as coriander, nori, and olestra contain detoxification properties, although this research isn’t conclusive yet. Detox waters are still a great way to get people to drink more water, making it flavourful and fun. Just be aware that throwing a few strawberries and a mint leaf in your water bottle and letting that diffuse for an hour or two probably won’t “make your body fat melt away” as the trend implies. Most importantly, detox drinks should be used only as a supplement to a healthy diet, not instead of food.

Drinking lots of water is healthy, but be aware that the research in detox diets is an area that is currently lacking. There have not yet been any large, conclusive studies that have proven the benefits that detox drinks boast. This is an area that deserves more attention so that consumers can further inform themselves on the potential benefits and risks of detox drinks.

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