Nutrition tip: Detox - Health Trend or Marketing Gimmick?
Nutrition tip: Detox - Health Trend or Marketing Gimmick??
A basic detox, green detox, skinny detox, soul detox and even a digital detox is a health trend with many positive effects in terms of cholesterol, blood sugar, complexion and so much more. Is this statement true, or is it really just a marketing gimmick? (Foto: ©wmaster890)

What does "detox" mean?

There is no clear definition of detox. The word is derived from “detoxification”, which is the removal of toxic substances from the human body.

Which toxins are meant?

Toxins could be environmental impacts due to pollutants or pesticides, poor nutrition and health-threatening behaviours such as smoking or alcohol consumption. These things are said to form “slags” in the body, which can then be removed by using different “detox cures”. The term “slag” originally comes from metalworking and actually refers to the residues from burning or smelting processes. So, slags don’t really exist in the body, but we do take in toxins. What happens to them?

The body takes care of detoxification

The human body has many possibilities to cope with exposure to harmful substances. The most important detoxification organs are the liver, kidneys, intestines, skin and lungs. The liver converts toxic substances into non-toxic substances. These are converted, released into a special part of the blood circulation and secreted through the kidneys or intestines. Urea, medicines, drugs, alcohol and poisons are excreted, for example. This means that a “detoxification” of the body through special diets (teas, smoothies, juices, soups and dietary supplements) is not necessary. Which products are still advertised?

Detox Juices

Smoothies in all variations, homemade or bought, are a classic amongst the detox products. These green, red and yellow fruit and vegetable juices are on the menu in detox diets. An example of this is a “juice cleanse”. In this detox, a smoothie is drunk five times a day for a number of days. In the evenings there is a glass of almond milk. There are no scientific studies to prove that poisons can be specifically removed from the body by doing this. There is nothing wrong with occasionally replacing a portion of fruit or vegetables with a smoothie. The important thing is the quality of the raw materials (e.g. the nitrate content in spinach leaves). An excess of phytonutrients can also lead to health problems. Wild herbs or plants may contain phytochemicals (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) that, when taken in high doses, may cause severe liver dysfunction.

Detox teas

Even different detox teas, like "Super Clean Detox, Sleep Well Detox etc." are often mostly simple herbal teas.

"Discharging" with zeolite

There are also environmental toxins (heavy metals, dioxin, PCB) that can accumulate in the fatty tissue. Numerous medical publication databases have failed to find meaningful studies that provide scientific evidence of detox products. Also that zeolite powder (an aluminium silicate mineral) is said to have a detox effect is based on blank assumptions. According to the Novel Food Regulation, zeolite is an unauthorised food ingredient because the data on health safety is inadequate.

Lack of definition

There is no single medical definition for the products that are marketed as detox production, and without a clear definition there is no scientific evidence.

What does a "low-pollution" lifestyle look like?

A relatively “low-pollution” lifestyle includes a balanced diet, plenty of exercise and a low intake of potentially harmful substances.
These include:
  • Moulds
  • Heavy metals like mercury (wild mushrooms, fish from coastal waters, lean fish usually contain less heavy metals than fatty fish), lead (meat, sausage, drinking water from old lead water pipes) and cadmium (cigarette smoke)
  • Harmful residues from plant pesticides
  • Benzopyrene (cigarette smoke, charcoal grill)
  • Nitrates (spinach, chard, leafy vegetables)
  • Alcohol


The detoxification of the body by following special detox diets (teas, smoothies, juices, soups etc.) is not necessary because harmful substances like urea, drugs, alcohol or other toxins are broken down by the detoxification organs and then excreted. As long as there are no scientific studies to substantiate the health benefits of detox products and no clear definition exists the term remains a myth.

If you would like to know more about detoxing, we recommend the following websites: or

The Kornspitz® team is always happy to hear from you. If you have any questions, requests, suggestions or tips, please send an email to

Mag. Gerda Reimann-Dorninger
Nutrition Scientist

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