Spoiler alert: I didn’t make it all 3 days.
Pinvaluate is a feature in which I test out Pinterest health and fitness pins that seem to good to be true. Maybe one of these days I’ll find one that works. Until then…
After a weekend of delicious, delicious camping over the Fourth of July holiday (Hot dogs, and s’mores, and cookies, and candy, and alcohol…oh my), it was time to return to the real world. If I was ever going to do a detox drink, now was the time to do it.
As a disclaimer, I am skeptical of detox drinks in general. They all just seem to fall into the category of “if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.” If you have ever had success with a detox drink, please contact me. I’d love to hear your story.
At the end of this post, I’ll give my take on why I think people think they work…but first, my experience:
I first pinned this because it was just too click-baity to pass up. It was only three days. There was nothing in it that was going to kill me…nothing extreme; just apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.
Apple Cider Vinegar is actually one of the only vinegars that is alkaline in the body instead of acidic. This is one of the purported benefits by those that choke down a tablespoon of it every morning–that it restores the alkalinity of the body. But you know what else helps to restore the alkalinity of your body? Raw leafy greens…go eat some kale. Or collards. Or swiss chard. AND you’ll get the vitamins and minerals that ACV lacks. So while ACV isn’t going to harm you, and may even help you, it falls into the category of “there are better things out there.”
Cayenne pepper is often included in detox drinks because it causes the body to sweat, which some believe leads to detoxification (the same idea behind a sauna). Maybe? I do know that cayenne has other health benefits such as aiding in digestion and being anti-viral.
Lemon is a great source of Vitamin C. So there’s that. It also has some research backing up the idea that it helps slow the digestion of certain foods, leading to better nutrient absorption, which in turn leads to less bloating. But as most people know, lemon juice is very acidic so it can also erode the enamel on your teeth if you drink it regularly.
So while the ingredients don’t fall exactly into the realm of “junk science,” I’m still skeptical about anything advertised as a magic potion.
The process is to drink the concoction 3 times a day for 3 days, preferably before meals. The claim is that the drinker will consume less food over the day while the brew magically whisks away toxins already in the body.
I went into it expecting to gag at the first taste. Honestly, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. A little sour, and it smells like an Easter egg, but definitely palatable.
By halfway through the glass I was sweating from the cayenne. By the end of the glass I was having to plug my nose to get past the vinegar smell. But I did it. The first glass down.
I managed a second glass that evening before dinner.
And then I hit a wall. That evening I felt MORE bloated than normal and my stomach hurt (probably because I drink a lot of water on the regular, so I was adding more liquid to that. Also, I don’t like spicy food so my digestive tract was dealing with an onslaught of cayenne pepper that it’s not used to as well). The next morning, I couldn’t do it. I could not force myself to choke down another glass first thing in the morning.
So I quit…I’m a detox drink quitter.
I can’t really say if THIS detox drink works or not…because I didn’t follow the process through. But here’s why I think people THINK they work:
First, detox drinks are generally pretty low calorie and you are filling your stomach with it multiple times a day. Your stomach muscles have what are called “stretch receptors” in them that send “full” signals to your brain when they are stretched. So if you are stretching it with a low calorie drink, you are consuming less calories over the course of the day, leading to weight loss.
Second, detox drinks usually require you to drink A LOT of liquid over the course of the day which causes you to pee…a lot. Most people are chronically dehydrated and so the body isn’t used to the sudden increase in fluid, leading it to discharge most of it and then some. This leads to water weight loss and a feeling of less bloat.
The danger I see in detox drinks is when the drink supplants the nutrient dense foods you should be eating over the course of the day. This can lead to a whole host of problems. Additionally, if you already drink enough water and add MORE liquid on top of that, you run the risk of a condition called hyponatremia– basically your body has diluted and peed out all the salt in your cells. Sodium is important for cellular function, so hyponatremia can lead to cell shut down.
Bottom line: IF you are going to detox–this one is only three days and doesn’t contain anything crazy. But I still don’t see the point…
(Remember…if you have had success with detoxes, get in contact with me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear your story!!)