Detox Water is a Myth and Here’s Why

You’ve been invited to a fancy dinner. You put on your hottest dress, strap on a pair of heels, and wait to get picked up by your date. On your way to the country club, you realize your mouth is super dry—your date must be hotter than you remembered. When you arrive at the club, the first thing you do is pour yourself a glass of water. But wait, why are there so many different waters to choose from? And why are there different fruits and spices in each of them?

Welcome to the latest fad diet: detox waters. In the past, people who wanted to add some flavor to their water simply added a lemon slice or some other kind of fruit. Now, inspired by celebrities like Khloe Kardashian, Beyoncé, and recent episodes of Housewives, so-called “detox waters” are on the rise—but for no good reason.

Similar to juice cleanses, some detox water fad diets suggest you stop eating and just drink the waters to “flush the toxins out of your system.” This logic, however, doesn’t make sense: your body naturally gets rid of toxins itself, according to Joy Dubost R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. No need for the extra “help.” No matter how hard you’re trying to lose weight, you must get a decent amount of nutrients each day to avoid dangerous effects. Passing out and feeling weak and nauseous are never worth it just to go down a dress size. Our bodies need food to function, and the best way to diet is to eat a healthy amount of nutrient-dense calories.

Other detox water diets are more realistic and encourage eating along with drinking these fancy water recipes. Besides encouraging you to drink water—which is an important part of staying healthy—detox water recipes don’t have any proven nutritional value, but also won’t have any negative effects on your health, says Dr. Donald Hensrud, a nutrition researcher at the Mayo Clinic. They may look fancy and trendy, but unfortunately, they don’t really do anything to improve your health.

So go ahead and drink those detox waters—those fancy fruits and spices may add a boost of flavor that makes you want to keep drinking. Just don’t expect the water to actually “detoxify” your body or instantly drop three dress sizes.


by Sarah Basile