Which of the following is true of products claiming to offer your body a quick "detox"?
A - Companies making "detox" claims tend to use different definitions of "detox."
B - Companies don't provide convincing scientific evidence that backs up their "detox" claims.
C - The word "detox" is often just a code for "skin cleansing" or other unremarkable action.
D - Products claiming to offer "detox" properties cost more than otherwise similar products.
E - All of the above.
If you chose "E," you're right. That, anyway, is what British researchers working for the nonprofit Sense About Science discovered when surveying face creams, foods, beverages, foot pads and other products claiming to offer their users a detox experience. Such claims were consistently inconsistent, unproven, misleading and the products more expensive.
The urge to "detox" is understandable. Regular readers of The Daily Green are all too familiar with the legion of suspect chemicals average Americans encounter in their home, in the air they breathe and in the food they eat. So if a product whether it's a face cream, an energy drink, colon cleanse or a foot pad promises to remove toxic substances, there's a natural appeal for concerned consumers.
The old adage applies: Buyer beware.
The group making the claims has been criticized by environmentalists because it promotes genetically modified crops. Sense About Science is funded in large part by the pharmaceutical industry. So there's reason to view its conclusions with some skepticism.
Still, according to the information promoted by Sense About Science, a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, along with enough sleep and a glass of water, is more likely to "detoxify" your body. The underlying message: Let the liver, colon and kidneys do their natural work. Whether or not their findings are biased, that's sound advice.
It's true that products for sale in Britain may not be the same as those for sale in the United States, but there's no U.S. law regulating the use of the word "detox" in products, so many if not all of the same criticisms are likely to be relevant.
The Sense About Science group that did the work includes physiologists, biochemists, doctors and pharmacists, and the group will be campaigning to promote its findings. Among its messages:
According to Sense About Science
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