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Monday, May 18, 2009

Cleansing Part 2: Detox Diets and Fasting

I was informed my first part wasn't long enough, so I'll try make this one a bit more long-winded.

As I mentioned in part 1, Colonic hydrotherapists believe that the foods you eat inevitably "rot" in your large intestine, and poison you from the inside (called autointoxication), thus requiring a "flush" on the inside. Believers of 'detoxification' have a similar view, that our regular food we eat contains 'toxins' and to rid ourselves of them we must go on a specifically tailored diet that purges our body of these toxins, this is the 'cleansing' mentioned in the title of this 'rant'.

autointoxication
n. Self-poisoning caused by endogenous microorganisms, metabolic wastes, or other toxins produced within the body. Also called autotoxemia.

The theory of autointoxication actually came from the ancient Egyptians, the same people who used incantations to magically cure diseases. The ancient Greeks also had a similar belief in autointoxication which was a part of their theory of medicine called Humorism.
Humorism was believed until the advent of modern medicine around the nineteenth century and as modern medicine advanced more evidence piled up against this theory of autointoxication.

Detoxification has come under many guises over the years, but now are generally referred to as 'detox diets'. Some examples of various detox diets over the years are: Grapefruit diets (yes Weird Al Yankovic wrote a parody about grapefruit diets, water fasts, total fasts, Raw food diets, fish diets, lemonade diet, special "anti-toxin" tea diets and so on and so forth.

From Wikipedia
"Some proponents of detox diets emphasize it as a lifestyle rather than a diet. Others have touted spiritual and psychological benefits of regular detox dieting."

As soon as I hear something like "spiritual and psychological benefits, alarm bells start to ring, I smell bovine feces! Though not all detox-ers will believe this crap, they should know that their 5000 year old pseudo scientific beliefs are associated with new-age religious beliefs.
The problem with believing the detox-con artists is that their reasoning behind the whole concept of detoxification is a hoax. Perhaps they feel inadequate as medical practitioners (modern science and medicine holds the trump card), so they feel the need to create their own imaginary disease called "toxins" and they are the only ones who hold the key to the cure. Autointoxication was disproved in 1919 and again in 1922 as I mentioned in part 1 about colonics so their only premise for detoxification is a strawman that was burned nearly a century ago.

I can imagine how horrifying it is to find out that your body poisons itself, but if it were true the human race would have become extinct thousands and thousands of years ago says Vincent F. Cordaro, M.D., an FDA medical officer. "A person who retained wastes and toxins would be very ill and could die if not treated. The whole concept is irrational and unscientific."

Fasting goes by the same principle as detox and colonics, but all that happens is you starve yourself and shock your digestive system. Fasting IS prescribed in modern medicine, but not for detoxification purposes, If you are undergoing certain surgeries, you are not allowed to have food in your digestive system. Certain medical tests also require a short term fast for example cholesterol tests (note by short term I mean around 12 hours, not days).
Longer term fasting or juicing can be dangerous, and potentially fatal, any detoxer promoting medium term fasting or longterm juicing needs a slap with a wet fish.

1 comment:

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