Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Detoxify? You'll have to try harder

kw: observations, opinion, nutrition

Very early this morning (~1am, Wed, Mar 5) I finished a midnight phone call, a fortunately rare occurrence. Being a bit jazzed, I read a little, then turned on the TV. I saw the last half of an Oprah interview of Dr. Oz. Two of the segments interested me the most, because they overturn ideas Dr. Oz had once promoted.

First, twin teenage girls, a pair who say they drink lots of water to keep their skin in top shape, were tested for that proposition. One had to double her water intake, the other one could only drink the minimum needed to avoid a "dying of thirst" feeling. So one went form drinking a liter daily to two liters, the other to just under a half liter.

Measurements were made, before and after a period of several days, of skin flexibility and several other measures of general health. The result? No difference whatever, except that one twin went to the restroom lots more often. Dr. Oz explained, "Even a piece of steak is 65% water after cooking medium-well", and that fruits are typically more than 75% water. We get lots of water in everything we eat, unless someone has their morning Wheaties without milk.

Secondly, a common "detoxify your blood" diet uses lots of juiced vegetables and things my brothers and I used to call "lion milk" (a concoction our mother tried on us for a while). Twelve young women were split into two groups of six. The members of one group were forced (and after a while, it took a bit of force) to detoxify almost exclusively, the others ate a more ordinary, but healthy, diet. I don't recall the term, but I think it was two weeks. The result? No difference between the two groups, based on before-and-after blood work.

Again, Dr. Oz had a possible explanation: Our body is quite good at eliminating waste and toxins, if we simply refrain from taking in any new ones.

Bottom line: modest measures typically accomplish nearly all of the good.

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