DocQ: Don’t be seduced by promises of instant health


At the beginning of a new year, after the excesses of the holiday season, there’s often a lot of talk about detoxifying, starting to live a healthier life, finally fixing your diet, starting to use that gym membership, and shedding those extra kilos. All admirable ideas, but there’s a reason you haven’t done this yet isn’t there? It’s hard!!! Faced with what seems like hard work, we’re easily seduced by advertising for products that promise instant health.

Detox your way to instant health?

I have a particular gripe with ‘detox’ products. There are hundreds of different products available which claim to rid your body of harmful toxins. Usually someone wearing a white coat who sounds a bit medical endorses the product, or a beautiful celebrity. (See how detox made them gorgeous? — hmm more like appetite suppressants, laxatives and Photoshop!).

The truth is that our liver and kidneys filter our blood around the clock of substances which are not supposed to be there, and that is all the human body requires. It’s a beautiful natural system that has worked well for thousands of years. There’s no detox product that will make these organs work any better. In fact, If you have liver or kidney disease, they may make you unwell. The greatest health benefit of any detox treatment is the accompanying advice — to avoid alcohol, eat fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid processed food — and there’s no doubt that people often feel better after a few days of this! But you can’t sell that as a product, can you?

Superfoods for instant health?

Next, let’s look at ‘superfoods’. Chia seeds, coconut oil, goji berries, acai — the list gets longer every time I look. The claims regarding the benefits of these foods are outrageous and totally unproven, and tend to be based on unscientific assumptions and personal testimonials. Companies promoting concentrated supplements containing these ingredients often use sciencey-sounding phrases in an attempt to sound legitimate. But let’s get one thing quite clear: none of these “super” foods do anything special in your body.

Some market Chlorophyll as a source of oxygenation for your body. No, it isn’t. It’s part of a plant’s photosynthesis machinery, whereby oxygen is generated into the atmosphere. But we don’t absorb oxygen through our gut. We breathe it in. Eating chlorophyll is not going to make you more oxygenated.

The real answer for good health

Seeds and berries contain essential amino acids and can be a good healthy source of protein and vitamins. In fact, the humble sunflower seed contains almost every nutrient needed for life! But ultimately, they are all simply a form of nutrition. If you eat a diet high in fresh produce, green vegetables, seeds, and fruits you will obtain the nutrients and fibre you need.


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