Not according to research carried out by Sense About Science, a charitable trust with the admirable aims of "promoting good science and evidence in public debates". In compiling their "Detox Dossier", published today, they found the following:
1) No two companies seem to use the same definition of ‘detox’.Not surprising at all, but great to see these things exposed (Sense About Science has also previously done some debunking of the pseudoscientific claims made for products like shampoo). I particularly liked this example, given in a BBC website report on the research:
2) Little, and in most cases no, evidence was offered to back up the detox claims.
3) In the majority of cases, producers and retailers contacted by the young scientists were forced to admit that they are renaming mundane things, like cleaning or brushing, as ‘detox’.
4) They range in price from £1-2 for a detox drink to £36.95 for detox bath accessories.
"One researcher investigated a Garnier face wash which claimed to detoxify the skin by removing toxins. The "toxins" turned out to be the dirt, make-up and skin oils that any cleanser would be expected to remove, she said."
This is purely anecdotal, but all this reminds me of a person I used to work with (not at New Humanist, I might add), who used to proclaim the wonders of "detox", pomegranates, magic diets and all the rest. That same person was also paying for a course in how to perform Reiki. . .
Update: Thanks to reader Andy for pointing out that Bad Science author Ben Goldacre has of course written extensively on the nonsense that is detox. In fact he was on the Today programme this morning taking on someone from a company that makes something called "Detox in a Box". Read his blog on this and hear extracts from the Today programme here.