Monday, January 5, 2009

Doc Mocks Detox

Who says I couldn't be a tabloid headline writer?

Anyway, the airwaves and dead-tree media have been choc-a-bloc-a-detox (see? ok, fair point) with Sense About Science once again announcing to the world the ridiculousness of 'detox' diets and products.

In his post "Detox: Nonsense for the Gullible", David Colquhoun has nicely laid out the bones of the story, as well as the list of media outlets that ran the story.

One such place that picked it up was BBC Radio 4's flagship news program, Today. The interview was with science-behemoth Dr Ben Goldacre of Bad Science and Nas Amir Ahmadi, managing director of Detox-in-a box, now named Bollox-in-a-box, or indeed, Quack-in-a-box.

The interview can be found here, or even better, at Ben's own site, which has a marvellous discussion attached. During the interview, Dr Goldacre questions the validity of saying that detox can remove heavy metals from the body, claiming it is scaremongering and overcomplicates dieting and thereby disempowering. He questioned Amir directly as to what proof there was of detox removing cadmium from the body, to which the reponse was:
Well, we haven't actually made any claims on our website regarding cadmium or mercury, so I don't actually know what claims you are referring to.
The relevant quote from the Detox-is-for-cocks' website:

Detox is a bodily process that transforms health threatening toxic substances from our environment, diets, as well as our own bodies into something harmless or excreted.
Orange Couscous Detox Food - One of the most complex detoxification functions is against heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadminum [sic], nickel, arsenic, and aluminum.
... a quote that was removed at 10.02am this morning, about 100 minutes after the interview.

They have now updated their website to include an apology to Dr Ben:
We acknowledge that Dr Ben Goldacre was correct at the time of interview that the Detox in a Box website did contain the words '"One of the most complex detoxification functions is against heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadminium, nickel, arsenic, and aluminum" and apologise for not confirming this at the time. The website has now been amended to avoid any further confusion.”
I hope BBC Radio 4 will mention it in tomorrow's program.

What's immensely silly, is that the website still contains the claim about heavy metals, just without the list of them.
One of the most complex detoxification functions is against heavy metals.
An apology, but no understanding of the nonsense they are spouting.
Anyone who buys Detox-in-the-docks products or any detox product is a simple misguided fool and as always, there will be quacks ready to detox them of their money.

BPSDB

8 comments:

  1. "Husband and I are currently on a 2 week detox will significantly modified diet and pills. I decided to keep track of it out my website and share recipes that actually taste good while you detox (not all of them were good but anyway). I'm sure the biggest effect of the detox is the modified diet more than the pills but by laying down some cash for the pills it makes us stick to the diet.

    We are craving sweets like crazy but we are 25% of the way there. Read our journey each day over at

    http://www.confessionsofafoodie.com/category/detox-cleansing-diets/

    Sincerely,
    Foodie"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha - thanks Foodie.

    It is tremendous that you put yourself up for ridicule on a site that *specifically* says detox diets are a nonsense and a waste of time, yet you decide to leave a spam message for your junk science quack-filled diet!

    An excerpt from the site - fill you boots with laughter at the quackery:

    "I take a series of daily vitamins through a program called Women to Women. I’ve been on taking their vitamin/supplement combination (multi-vitamin, fatty acid complex, calcium-magnesium) along with their herbal cocktail–herbal equilibrium. I’ve had good results on these all natural products, so much so that I’m writing this information with no extra incentive to do so. The women-to-women website suggests doing a detox to rid the body of toxins, from the environment, cleaning products, and the foods we eat.

    They also suggest using a pro biotic to help clean out toxins already in your body more thoroughly. So I went to Wal-mart to see what they had. I found what seems to be the perfect for our plan of attack. It’s called Whole Body Cleanse; it’s a two-week internal cleansing program made by Enzymatic Therapy. It comes with three different “pills” for us to take. It is quite a lot of pills for us to take– 4 Fiber Fusion caplets in the morning, and at night- 4 fiber fusion caplets, 3 Laxative formula horse pills, and 1 Super Milk Thistle caplet. Along with my other vitamins and supplements, that’s 9 pills in the morning and 13 at night! I’m glad it’s only for 2 weeks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Foodie wrote, "I'm sure the biggest effect of the detox is the modified diet more than the pills but by laying down some cash for the pills it makes..."

    ...a nice profit for someone?

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's so funny, it's not even funny.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations to Ben and Sense About Science for starting this all off! We don't hear Ben's common sense enough on radio...or TV!

    I agree with Dr T that they still have that silly claim about heavy metals. All they've done is remove the list of specific heavy metals: the pseudo science is still there. She was shown to either not know what's claimed about her products on her website or an out-and-out liar. However, the public are still being misled by her.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey,
    Go ahead and ridicule me, so far I've lost a few of those holiday pounds and feel a heck of alot better. Didn't say that the pills may do much but it does help me focus on a solid healthy diet for these 2 weeks so it can't be all bad.

    Thank you Mojo for actually reading my comment instead of just a quick scan of the first blog entry. I applaud you.

    Sincerely,
    Foodie (or spam as you call me)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Go ahead and ridicule me

    See above

    Thank you Mojo for actually reading my comment instead of just a quick scan of the first blog entry. I applaud you.

    You do understand Mojo's comment about making money out of people's lack of understanding of the bollocks culture of detox? Of which you are one?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Detox is certainly a hot topic these days. People want to feel better, and it is natural to want a quick fix. I do not believe in quick fixes or on again - off again yoyo diets. But for all those skeptics out there trying a juice detox to jump start you into eating healthier and moving in the right direction when it comes to your health may not be such a bad idea. I would definitely not invest my money in any of the detox products out there. I just make the best use of the natural detoxing properties in fruits and vegetables...

    (I broke your link as I thought you'd be embarrassed about linking your detox site to this site which laughs at the detox concept - T

    ReplyDelete

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