Fact or Fiction: Do Fruit Detoxes Really Work?

Feel sluggish, constipated, and bloated? Some naturalists claim your body is full of toxins–the stuff inside your body that can cause everything from intestinal discomfort to cancer. Getting rid of these toxins is essential to your health, and there are limitless ways to do it–from water fasting to a fruit diet.

Can fruit help you detox and feel better? Let’s look at the evidence surrounding this claim. The Low Down on Fruit Detoxing Using fruit to detox has been popular for years, and the reasoning makes sense. According to Rice University, fruits are usually rich in something called antioxidants, molecules that inhibit molecular oxidation. Oxidation produces free radicals, which can cause cell damage or death.

By proxy, many alternative doctors believe that going on fruit detoxes, or fasts, can help the body’s cells from dying. Some even believe that antioxidants in fruits serve another purpose: The removal of food and environmental toxins from the digestive system, which can contribute to diseases, the most common being cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Theoretically, fruit detoxing does make sense. Since antioxidants can help inhibit molecular oxidation, this could mean that increasing your antioxidant intake could reduce cell damage or death. This primarily relies on correlational evidence, which is only sometimes reliable. During my work with a supplement company, the president believed that antioxidants must be the key to preventing this process.

However, scientists know that correlational evidence alone isn’t enough to justify any claim, especially one that claims fruit detoxes can eliminate toxins. This is because many factors can manipulate correlational proof, so it’s hard to say what influences the results.

Scientific Evidence: Weak at Best To figure out if the antioxidants in fruits can help detoxify the body, we’ll need to set aside the correlational evidence and look at studies that directly study the effects of antioxidants in the human body.

Unfortunately, the results aren’t just unsatisfactory–they’re wrong. A review reported by Public Health Nutrition showed that randomized trials did not show a consistent benefit from the use of antioxidants, specifically on diseases correlated with those haywire free radicals–cardiovascular disease and cancer. In some problems, antioxidants were indicated as causing harm in specific subgroups. Studies generally found little benefit to excess antioxidant intake, therefore blowing the fruit detox theory out of the water.

While further observation is needed, there isn’t concrete evidence that upping the body’s antioxidant consumption is mainly beneficial. Therefore, consuming fruits in mass quantities to detox is a waste of time.

However, correlational studies show that getting your fill of fruits and vegetables isn’t bad; it improves health markers. But simply because correlational studies show this doesn’t mean that antioxidants must be the cause. Fruits and vegetables are filled with many excellent, essential health components that naturalists often ignore.

If you want to eat a lot of fruits, that’s fine–don’t expect it to be a toxin buster.

Sources: “Antioxidants and Free Radicals,” Rice.edu “A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence for the Antioxidant Hypothesis,” Journals.cambridge.org

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