Ever have one of those moments when you say, “ugh?”

I’m in the middle of one. The truth is that I struggle, too, with health and fitness. I’m not ripped, nor am I a fitness model. I’m on this journey just like everyone else.

Sometimes you feel like you need a detox. But according to the NIH, there are no real health benefits to juice cleanses or detox diets. All you detox is your wallet.

So how does science say we should go about cleaning ourselves up when we feel sluggish? A Google search gives you all kinds of ways, from drinking lemon water, to flushing your system, to watching Dr. Oz. No wonder we are all hoodwinked. Even Google Scholar is very little help.

Klein and Kiat (2015), while mostly adding to the voice that detox diets don’t work, ask at the end of their manuscript a bigger question. Why might we be drawn to detox diets? What is it about the promises of detox that make them so very popular? A cursory search reveals little, but my guess is that it is the promise of feeling better coupled with the placebo effect that makes us drawn to detox. This article suggests that some products add snake oil techniques to make the product look like it’s “working.” As someone who works with populations vulnerable to scam, that in and of itself makes my blood boil and my TMJ flare.

But…what about my beloved sweat cure? Surely all that sweat is detoxing me, right? There seems to be some evidence for sweat containing higher levels of heavy metals such as Metallica and Iron Maiden (not really – they were looking for arsenic, cadmium, and mercury). But what about that extra glass of wine and the absolutely delicious apple-cranberry pie my evil friends purchased yesterday? Interestingly enough, most of the literature on exercise and alcohol withdrawal that I found is geared towards chronic alcoholism. Anything about sweating off a hangover was purely anecdotal.

So, I guess the trick is that there isn’t one. If lemon in your water makes you feel more healthy, go for it – but don’t expect it to melt your fat away.

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