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So detox is toxic? I knew it all along.

Byline: Fiona McIntosh

LEAST surprising news of the week is that detox diets don't work.

Shame no one told Gwyneth Paltrow.

On her website GOOP, she rabbits on about her January detox which eliminates the following bad guys from her diet - dairy, grains, meat, shellfish, all processed foods, nuts, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, condiments, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and soda.

What's left? Fresh air?

Gwyneth adds helpfully: "If your bowel movements get sluggish, you can accelerate things by drinking half a cup of olive oil."

Failing that, you can also accelerate the elimination of toxins from your stomach by reading her weekly newsletter.

Gwyneth says she has her own diet detox doctor (don't we all?). I am sure detox doctors get paid handsomely to make us feel crap about life. Which is what the detox industry is all about.

Every year we spend a billion pounds paying for our Christmas guilt with vile pills, evil goo and starvation diets that make us see stars. We know it's all rubbish, but we still get sucked in, shelling out a fortune for a bottle of hope.

As I write, a packet of detox gel capsules the colour of rancid meat are sitting on my desk. They promise to detox my body in 10 days by "enhancing my immune system with anti-oxidant support" and "inhibiting a key step in fat synthesis".

In English, this translates as "you've been ripped off, sweetheart".

My bathroom is littered with half-finished packets of natural laxatives, a horse hair brush hanging limply on the shower (to stimulate the removal of cellulite... yeah, right) and revolting fibre drinks that are meant to clean you out faster than a bill from Gwyneth's detox doctor.

None have made a blind bit of difference to my lumpy thighs.

So the news out this week that most of these potions and paraphernalia not only don't work but can be bad for you should be cast in stone - or at least stuck on the fridge door.

Don't buy this rubbish.

It doesn't work. Three hundred scientists have pulled apart 15 top-selling detox aids, from drinks to foot patches, and found in most there is no scientific evidence at all that they rid your body of toxins.

Some of them can even be dangerous.

Yet to date, there's little or no regulation beyond common sense. Only last month mother of-five Jacqueline Henson died after drinking four litres of water in less than two hours, causing her brain to swell.

Another detox dieter, Dawn Page, was left brain-damaged by The Amazing Hydration Diet, and won out-of-court damages from the nutritionist who advised her to keep drinking large quantities of water because it was part of the detoxification process.

That would be the process that literally drowns you. I have friends who've gone on detox diets so extreme they're left hallucinating, and others who've spent four weeks shovelling brown rice down their gobs, only to find they're heavier on January 31 than they were on January 1.

Yet extreme health freaks and pseudo medicos who are no better than snakeoil salesmen and rip-off "health" companies continue to peddle this rubbish because they know, as sure as the sun rises in the east, there are enough desperate fools out there to believe it.

Well, enough's enough.

The only detox diet I'll be following this month is the Get More Sleep And Move Around More diet.

I won't be giving up chocolate or the occasional glass of wine and, as for Gwynnie, I hear her pureed organic carrot and ginger sludge makes a great enema. As for my packet of foul green pills, it's in the bin.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 11, 2009
Words:607
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