Detox Hype

Everybody’s talking about some detox or another.  ‘Going on a detox diet’ seems to be the ‘in’ thing these days; it’s a conversation topic for many.

And as you can imagine, being a nutritionist, I get that question a lot.  ‘How do I detox?’ or even more common ‘do you have a quick detox that I can do?’

A few weeks ago, I had a one-on-one consultation with a lady who wanted to see me for a detox programme.  She had read a lot about the benefits of detoxifying the body and felt that it might help with her current symptoms, which were mainly fatigue, weight gain, and skin conditions.

The reason I’m using her case as an example is because her issue represents that of many.  Her story will hopefully help others.

Should You Detox?

When people come in for a detox programme, they usually start by talking about all the benefits that they think they will get once the toxins are out of their body.

“What makes you think you have toxins in your body?” I would ask.

“Because I have all these skin conditions, I’m always tired, and I can’t seem to lose weight and I read somewhere that going on a detox diet can help with weight loss” they would reply.

As we go deeper into the conversation, I realise that a lot of people don’t really understand the detox concept very well.  In fact, I would go as far as saying that most people don’t know what a detox really is but are usually too embarrassed to ask.

Do you really know what a Detox is?

So, I explain that when you detox, you would be removing toxins from your body that you might have accumulated over months and even years.  We are in essence cleaning out the body from the inside out.  But what many people don’t realise is that the detox process is not always a mild one.  Some toxins are very hard to get rid of and their removal sometimes puts the body under a lot of stress.  “It’s not a walk in the park,” I would explain.

Toxins that enter our body are often not kept in the blood for too long in order to protect our vital organs.  If we have toxins in our system, our body would usually take them out of the blood and store them in fat cells away from the important organs.  That’s why many people feel worse when they lose a lot of weight quickly, because they would be shedding fat and toxins at the same time.  And as toxins come out of the fat stores, they must go through the body one more time, making many people depressed, cranky, and irritable in the process.

But this lady was very keen.  So we continued the discussion.

Mopping up the water

If you imagine there is a puddle of water in the room.  Detoxing would be like cleaning out that puddle and mopping the floor clean.  Now imagine that after you’ve cleaned the puddle, you come back a few hours later and there’s more water in the room.  What happened?

You’ve cleaned out the water but never really found the source of the problem.  And so it keeps coming back.  You would then have to go back and find the leaking tap and close it firmly.

That’s how I wanted to do it in her case.  It’s very easy to give a standard detox programme, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might end up cleaning a body that continues to be toxic.  That’s when you find that the detox programme has no long-term benefits and maybe even side-effects.

Find them first!

So, step one for us was to find the sources of toxins in her life.  If you think you are toxic, where do you think the toxins are coming from?  Before we do anything else, we have to close the tap!

With long-term fatigue, skin conditions and weight loss, I suspected that the toxins have been there a long time.  Skin conditions are usually the body’s last resort of getting rid of excess toxins.  The skin is often called ‘the second liver’ and is usually called on when the liver is overwhelmed.  So where are the toxins coming from?

“Maybe from cleaning products that we use in the household?” she said.

“Yes, maybe, but it seems there are other, stronger toxins.. let’s explore” I said.

As we brainstormed, I found that she had two mercury fillings in her teeth that dated back to primary school.  Bingo.

She was also a bukhoor (insence) addict and they would burn incense in their house every day to the extent that she sometimes can’t breathe properly and ends up opening the windows.  Double bingo!

She also had a mosquito allergy growing up so she used to buy the odour-less insect spray and spray it all around her room and her bed, even just before bed, for many years.  Triple bingo!

Combine that with aluminium-based anti-perspirants, toxic house-hold products, outside pollution, caffeine overload, inorganic fruits and vegetables and you have toxicity problem on your hands.

“I considered doing a detox from a book that I had but never got around to it” she added.

“If you had done a detox with all these active toxins, your system would have crashed” I said.

When you detox while you still have active toxins running through your system, you risk a severe reaction to the process.

Before You detox…

… remember this

1)     Brainstorm all the different sources of toxins that you might be exposed to.

2)     Stop the sources of toxins first.  For example, if you have mercury fillings, replace them; or if you smoke, stop smoking before you detox.

3)     Do not detox if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or considering conceiving in the near future

4)     Start with a mild detox programme that would take your current lifestyle, stress levels, and sanity into consideration.

For an individualised detox programme or a detox seminar, contact me through my website on


One response to “Detox Hype

  1. Thanks for this info! I have been considering some systems to detoxify, but I’ve never been the type of person to just jump with out doing my research on how to properly land! This was very helpful!

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