Don't Be Fooled: 'Detoxing' Is Dangerous On So Many Levels

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If I have one more person slipping into my DMs trying to tell me all I have to do is sip on some magic tea to detox myself, I am going to scream. We are a society obsessed with the term “detoxing” and most of us don’t even know what it means. If we did, we wouldn’t be reaching for pills, bath soaks, or teas to get the job done.

Because the only thing we need a detox from is pseudoscience.

So unfollow those damn detox groups and stop spending your money on expensive potions that make you run to the shitter as you try and clench you butt hole. This isn’t how you cleanse yourself.

But hey, if your goal to always have an excuse to run out of the PTA meeting so you don’t have to listen to Karen talk about how you aren’t pulling your weight in the bake-sale department, detox away.


Stop telling people they can just sip on some freshly brewed crap and lose twenty pounds. While it’s tempting, it’s a big fat lie. And it can be an expensive and dangerous one too. There’s a right way to stay healthy, and it doesn’t come from downing these teas and blowing mud five times a day.

No doubt when someone hits you up wanting you to try their weight loss teas or supplements, it makes you feel shitty. Just seeing these products out there are enough to make anyone feel vulnerable. Enough with the pressure to be smaller or look a certain way. ENOUGH ALREADY. These products are contributing to the dangerous (and deadly) body image issues that many of us face.

Not only are they psychologically damaging, but they are physically harmful as well. Many of these so called “detox” teas — many of which are endorsed by celebrities — contain senna, which is an FDA approved laxative. Medline Plus advises not to take senna longer than two weeks, saying it can cause dehydration and make pre existing conditions like heart disease and gastrointestinal issues worse.

Also, just a guess here, but I’m pretty sure the very celebrities endorsing these “skinny” teas that can cost anywhere for $50-$100 for a bag probably aren’t drinking them. And you bet your ass if they are, they also have a personal trainer, chef, stylist, and a team who makes sure every photo is perfect.

So sure, while you are having the squirts, you might be thinking it’s because the tea elixir is squeezing out all the toxic enemies you’ve had in your body since your college drinking days. But it’s a giant scam. Don’t get duped.

A Teen Vogue article quotes Dr. Karin Kratina, a nutritional therapist, as saying, “The weight loss [from detox teas] is primarily, and probably all, water weight. If true weight loss occurs, it is because a caloric deficit also occurred from a change in eating habits.”

Scary Mommy spoke with Dr. Tarek Hassanein of Southern California Liver Centers who explained how these detox teas and herbal supplements that are being used as alternative medicines are actually causing toxins and problems to the liver.

“Nineteen percent of reported acute liver failures are induced and caused by herbal and dietary supplements,” Hassanein told Scary Mommy. For example, the use of Morning Recovery which claims to detox your liver and get rid of your hangover, contains DMH which is “a Chinese plant extract that’s known to have a number of biological effects in animal studies, but is difficult to absorb for humans and has poor bioavailability when ingested.”

So newsflash: some of these products are causing dangerous reactions in your body, not purging you of toxins.

“There are a lot of claims these products can detox the body, but there’s no proof,” says Dr. Hassanein, adding that our bodies detoxify themselves on a regular basis on their own. To best support this, Hassanein recommends drinking enough water and eating a balanced diet that includes fiber.

Dr. Yeral Patel MD, a functional medicine physician practicing in California also warns about the risks of over-the-counter detox products. “Any kind of detox kit or product you can buy over the counter, or from a Facebook group, probably contains ingredients that can cause adverse reactions and side effects. It’s never a good idea to try and detox without a medical professional.”

Yes, toxins are bad for our body, but our bodies already know how to flush them out by way of urinating and sweating. We can support this natural occurring process by not believing the things these detoxifying product claim to do.

So put down the detox tea, grab a healthy snack, and take the dog for a walk. Now that’s a detox plan we can all enjoy a lot more than overdosing on supplements of liquids that leave us with cramps and feeling like we want to hurt people.

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