Do a quick online search for “detox water” and you’ll come up with thousands of videos, recipes and even water bottles that claim to flush fat from your body and rid your body of toxins.
So can this be? Is there really a special “detox water” that can do this?
Sorry, but no.
Many of these detox waters include natural, mild diuretics like cucumbers or lemon, which may make you feel like you are flushing out fat but the reality is you are only losing a bit of excess water weight that isn’t permanent.
The truth is no water (no matter what kind of magical fruit peel it has in it) can flush out fat or detoxify your system. That is what your kidneys, liver, skin and even your lungs do- they are constantly working to ‘detoxify’ your body.
Cleanses can’t do this either.
Here are a few quotes from a great article, “You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth.” published in the December 2014 issue of the Guardian that addressed this very topic (well worth a read if you are interested in learning more):
“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.”
The article goes on to say:
If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention. “The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak,” Ernst says. “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”
“Detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.”
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge proponent of drinking plenty of water and recognize that staying hydrated offers many health benefits such as improved energy, brain function and it even helps your bowels run smoothly.
And, in fact, there is some evidence that it could aid in weight loss – not by flushing out fat but by helping you eat less. One significant study found that subjects who drank 2 cups of water before a meal ate less calories than those who didn’t. We also know that eating water rich, high volume foods like broth based soups, salads, fruits and even oatmeal can help with the fullness factor and may also assist you in eating less calories overall.
Now if adding lemon or cucumber slices to your water helps you enjoy it, drink more and even temporarily release a little excess bloat, go for it! Just don’t expect to magically flush out fat or detoxify your body because of some special recipe or water bottle.
The bottom line? The best way to stay healthy is to eat and sleep well, exercise regularly, and of course, drink enough water (don’t forget that you also get hydration from water rich foods, so you don’t necessarily have to chug an excess amount of water to do this either).
Check out the full Guardian article and let me know what you think in the comments below!