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Debunking detox

06 January 2009

Fruit and veg

There is no evidence to prove that the products which claim to help people detox their bodies actually work, according to new research involving a University scientist.

Dr Haley Gomez, of the School of Physics and Astronomy, is part of team which investigated whether or not 15 different detox products available on the market today including diets, tonics and supplements, are needed.

The group, which also included Neil Young, a Cardiff PhD chemistry student, found little or no evidence to back up the detox claims made by products. In the majority of cases, producers and retailers contacted by the team were forced to admit that they are renaming mundane things, like cleaning or brushing, as ‘detox’.

Dr Gomez said: "Our body promises to remove all potentially harmful chemicals, provided they are not in excessive amounts, without needing anything more than a balanced diet. We found that the body is the best way to detox, and there is no need to splurge on expensive products or faddy diets. Benefits come from eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep."

The investigation started as a campaign to unpick science claims made by products which have little or no scientific meaning. The group’s latest findings are published in a Detox Dossier, which includes transcripts of conversations with manufacturers about their products, and a pamphlet promising to debunk detox, and are available at the Sense About Science website.

The researchers were part of Sense About Science's ‘Voice of Young Science’, a group of early career scientists who want to stand up for science in public. Sense about Science is an independent charitable trust promoting good science and evidence in public debates.

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