Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Detox Your Brain, Not Your Diet

Detox diets are the latest food fad quackery, mystic nonsense that play on consumers' fears and ignorance. Oprah is partly to blame, as she so often is. She embarked on a much-publicized 21-day vegan detox diet. Then she ate her way through Italy, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Now has given ultra-huckster Mark Hyman, author of the UltraMetabolism series of cookbooks, space to spread his detox mishmash.

The bottom line is that quality is MUCH more important than quantity. Eating only whole, fresh, real food completely eliminates the need for calorie counting, or measuring fat grams or counting carbs.

This works for one simple reason — you eat not only calories but also information. Eat the wrong information and you give your genes instructions to make you fat. Eat the right information and you give your genes instructions to lose weight. This is based on an exciting new understanding of how food talks to your genes called nutrigenomics.

And it doesn’t work slowly over years, but literally in minutes.

Most doctors who aren't trying to huckster their books think that detox diets are phony. They say that the body simply doesn't work like this.

The BBC did a non-scientific test of a detox diet:
We took ten party animals to a country cottage retreat for ten days to see if a detox diet could recharge their internal batteries. The group was split into two and half the girls were put on a balanced diet, including red meat, alcohol, coffee and tea, pasta, bread, chocolate and crisps (in moderation), with the remainder following a strict vice-free diet.

Can a short, sharp shock really change the levels of toxicity in your body in just a week?

After testing the kidney and liver functions and measuring the antioxidant and aluminium levels in their blood we found there were no differences between the groups.

Of course, such a stunt test has no scientific value. But it is just as sound as the non-science that's used by the detox gurus to plug their books.

One thing most of the detox diets have in common is the magnification of dairy allergy as a problem. Very few adults have dairy allergies without knowing it, but claiming that it's a common problem that the detox diet can fix will cause the unaware to assume that any improvement they feel is the result of the elimination of that allergy.

Now it's certainly true that whole fresh food is usually good for you. And it's certainly true that most Americans eat too much of the wrong foods, dine at restaurants that pile too much fat and sugar onto plates, and snack unhealthily. You don't have to give up all food with a label to improve your diet over this. Most people who aren't food faddists can't afford to spend multiple times the money they spend today for exclusively fresh and unprocessed food, or spend the hours needed to cook these foods immediately before they spoil. Hyman and his ilk appeal to the idiot affluent, rather than the people with the documented health problems.

Don't fall for detoxing. Don't - and I know this is heresy - listen to Oprah for food advice. (You guessed it, her pet doctor Mehmet Oz is another food faddist.) Buy good foods that you can afford. Eat less, and exercise more. Don't expect your food to talk to your genes. Let your brain do its work.

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