Detoxes, diets, and celebrities
Mia Smith, Contributor
This article contains references to disordered eating. Please read with care.
Detox culture has been an issue in society for decades. But are these juicing cleanses real? Or are they just juicing the people that are taking them?
Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Katy Perry and many others have sworn by these fast ‘effective’ cleanses. But these cleanses are doing more harm than good for many people.
These fad detox and body cleanses have been and continue to be a major source of false information for young people everywhere.
By definition, detox culture promotes calorie restriction and limits food intake. Both of which can— if done in a not health conscious way —lead to different types of disordered eating.
I recently spoke to Timothy Caulfield, author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?
Within his research, Caulfield underwent the “Clean Cleanse” 21-day detox program made by Gwyneth Paltrow.
The marketing for these cleanses claims that they may “reset your system” and “remove toxins,” yet there is no proof at all for any of those claims.
He goes on to say that this “Clean Cleanse” in which he took part was indeed a crash diet— as are most cleanses Caulfield revealed.
During his time with the cleanse he said his mood drastically changed, his friends and family even started saying he was miserable to be around—this is in addition to other symptoms such as bad breath. It slowly became real to Caulfield that this was not an enjoyable experience.
Caulfield did state that he did lose drastic weight during his time with the cleanse— only to gain it all back in the following weeks.
There is a psychological toll that people tend to take when beginning these crash diets. They are marketed to feel like, and genuinely believe that they are doing something good for themselves. Caulfield states that when these “cleanses” come to an end, you feel like you have accomplished something. They market using “pseudoscience and false promises.”
The rise of social media has shifted the game in terms of diet and detox culture. The rise of body positive influencers has increased drastically. But, so has the rise of misinformation.
Social media and online platforms are growing worse and worse by the day in the way they are spreading false information and to an increasingly younger audience.
Is social media making detox and diet culture better or worse?
The topic of social media is a broad one. Although the idea of body positivity across platforms has improved over the years, there is still toxic misinformation getting thrown around consistently.
An example of a good personality online is a big influencer across TikTok and Instagram right now—Spencer Barbosa. She has been very open about her journey with self love and growing to love the body in which she was given.
Barbosa has opened up about the fact that her first large platform video was posted when she was 16-years-old and features her drinking apple cider vinegar everyday as a method of weight loss. She documents her journey throughout.
She has since become a large advocate for self-love to her 1.8 million followers on Instagram and 9.8 million followers on Tik Tok.
“You do not exist to lose weight. You were not born with your insecurities, you were taught them,” Barbosa said in a TikTok video posted on Jan. 19.
Social media: the good, the bad and the ugly
Although celebrity detox trends continue to decrease in today’s digital age, the rise of online videos and posts is underway. People are consistently posting ‘what I eat in a day to lose weight,’ videos.
These are doing more harm than good. Many times when influencers are posting these videos they have absolutely no scientific evidence to back that these are effective. Many times they are not eating enough and then spreading that as an effective weight loss tool to a large audience.
I also spoke to University of Calgary Communications student, Darci Miller, about the body toxicity that has been spread online.
“Conversation surrounding bodies and diets have become so normalized and prominent on social media that it could potentially be used as a positive but also can lead to an enhanced spiral for someone who is already suffering from disordered eating,” said Miller.
Making the right decision for you
When it comes to diet, focus on the science informed basics. Before people attempt a diet or “cleanse” it is key that the appropriate research is done. You could be doing more harm than good to your body.
“Don’t be fooled by those magical promises, it is about a healthy and sustainable diet that works for you,” emphasized Caulfield.
In Caulfield’s article he explained that science is the only source you can trust when it comes to choosing a diet, you need scientific evidence to back up your decision on what best suits you.
The only person who can decide the right diet that works for you is yourself.