Does detox water work for weight loss ?

detox water

What is detox water

You have probably come across this term “detox water” while searching the internet for quick weight loss products. To the best of our knowledge, no randomised controlled trials have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of “detox water” diets in humans. This is an area that deserves attention so that consumers can be informed of the potential benefits and risks of detox programmes. Currently there is no medical literature on this planet that tells you what “detox water” is or what it’s made of. However, the word “detox” is short for detoxification and the Google definition is “the process of removing toxic substances” or “medical treatment of an alcoholic or drug addict involving abstention from drink or drugs until the bloodstream is free of toxins.”

The people who are promoting detox water for weight loss define detox water as “infused water” that helps flush your system of toxins and improves your health —-but the catch is they say “the main ingredient is water.” According to the detox water promoters, you can make your own detox water simply by adding or “immersing” fruits, vegetables and herbs to water. Furthermore, according to these marketers of “detox water” who are all trying to sell you their “detox water” products detox water, they say “detox water” have zero calories and water detox has many additional health benefits, including:

  • “Improves your mood”
  • “Flushes toxins from your system”
  • “Fills you up so you don’t eat as much junk”
  • “Naturally helps your body release fat cells for water weight loss”
  • “Keeps food moving through your system”
  • “Keeps your organs healthy while you’re sweating”
  • “Reduces muscle fatigue while working out”
  • “Helps you recuperate faster from a workout”
  • “Keeps you from feeling groggy in the afternoon”

The marketers of “detox water” usually throw in a scientific study – to make themselves sound credible – like this one systematic review 1) on water consumption and body weight outcomes that appeared in the 2013 edition of the American Journal of Nutrition. If you take the time to read this article 2), you’ll find that it’s a study on “plain tap water” the one you get from your home tap and it has nothing to do with “detox water.” In fact that same article pointed out that:

“the increasing prevalence of obesity may be connected with the shift from the consumption of water to sugar containing beverages such as soft drinks and fruit juices. Although the causal association is still arguable, sugar containing beverages were proposed to be the dietary risk factor for obesity with the most consistent evidence in children. Thus, increasing water consumption to replace sugar-containing beverages could prevent obesity. Drinking water instead of drinking sugar-containing beverages was shown to reduce the total energy intake with the subsequent meal in adults. Further short-term effects of water consumption include increased satiety, reduced feeling of hunger and slightly increased energy expenditure as the result of a proposed  water-induced thermogenic effect.”

We agree with the research authors of that systematic review 3) that showed increased water consumption has the potential to reduce body weight (despite the weak evidence due to the poor quality of the studies being reviewed) and we have written extensively on this subject matter here:

The bottom line is — we all need to drink water. Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up roughly about 60 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive. Without water, humans would die in a few days. All the cells and organs need water to function. If you do not get enough water each day, the body fluids will be out of balance, causing dehydration. When dehydration is severe, it can be life threatening.

The Dietary Reference Intake for water is between 91 to 125 fluid ounces (2.7 to 3.7 liters) of water per day for adults. However, how much water you need depends on your size, activity level, and the weather where you live. Clean and safe drinking water is critical to sustain human life. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly.

For example, water:

  • Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
  • Keeps your temperature normal
  • Lubricates and cushions joints
  • Protects sensitive tissues

Lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. Plus you don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

But there isn’t any convincing evidence that “detox water” or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health. Weight loss on a detox water may be because tap water have no calories and by increasing your water consumption may lead to certain people (especially older but not younger) to reducing their calorie intake 4), 5). In the 2 interventional studies 6), 7) indicating that water consumption may reduce weight, the middle- to older-aged participants were also instructed to drink 500 ml water before each main meal. Another potential mechanism of water consumption on body weight is the so-called thermogenic, energy consuming effect of ingested water. In 2 experimental studies 8), 9) the consumption of 500 ml of water increased the metabolic rate and resulted in excess energy expenditure by 100 kJ in normal-weight adults and 95 kJ in overweight adults, including the energy needed to warm the water up to body temperature. However, the thermogenic effect of water consumption has not been confirmed by other experimental studies and appears to be minor 10), 11).

If you want to protect yourself from environmental hazards or control your weight, visit the resources that are reputable and reliable. There’s information supported by research that can help you reach your goals.

Here are some trusted sources:

Body Weight Planner.

To find out about how many calories you should eat to lose weight according to your weight, age, sex, height and physical activity, you can use a FREE online app Body Weight Planner 12)


To find out about the 5 Food Groups you should have on your plate for a meal, you can use a FREE online app ChooseMyPlate 13)

SuperTracker website:

To find out What and How Much To Eat, you can use a FREE, award-winning, state-of-the-art, online diet and activity tracking tool called SuperTracker 14) from the United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion 15). This free application empowers you to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce your risk of chronic diet-related diseases. You can use SuperTracker 16) to determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling.

  • BMI Calculator Adults.
  • BMI Calculator Children.

To find out about your body mass index (BMI), you can use a FREE online BMI calculators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – for Adults 17) and for Children 18)

For Women and Weight Loss go here: The Office on Women’s Health 19)

For Weight Control in general go here: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health 20)

For Healthy Weight Loss go here: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 21)

For Tips on Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program go here: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health Information Center. 22)


Safety Concerns

Red Flags for Fraud:

  • CURE ALL! For unrelated diseases
  • QUICK FIX! Within days
  • ANCIENT REMEDY! Or a secret formula
  • REVOLUTIONARY! Or new science
  • AMAZING RESULTS! Difficult to verify
  • MY TUMOR SHRUNK! Unproven testimonials
  • ACT NOW! Limited availability
  • LOSE WEIGHT! No diet or exercise

The risks of fad dieting

The weight-loss industry is worth more than $Billion in America. However, it is important to realisz that not all diets work and some can also be potentially harmful. Going on a very restrictive fad diet can lead to:

  • slowing of the body’s metabolism (how quickly you burn kilojoules), meaning you will put on weight more easily in future
  • constant feelings of hunger, leading to food cravings and an increased appetite
  • rapid weight loss followed by rapid weight gain
  • an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • less muscle tissue and lower bone density
  • headaches, insomnia and fatigue
  • lower body temperature
  • constipation and/or diarrhea.

Most of the weight you lose on a fad diet is water and lean muscle, not fat. That’s because when you eat too little, your body breaks down muscle to get enough kilojoules. It is easier for your body to get kilojoules from muscle than from fat.

  • To maintain a lower weight permanently, it is better to change your eating behavior in a way you can keep up long term.

Some of the products and procedures used in detox/cleansing programs may be harmful to your health.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission have taken action against several companies selling detox/cleansing products because they contained illegal, potentially harmful ingredients; were marketed using false claims that they could treat serious diseases; or (in the case of medical devices used for colon cleansing) were marketed for unapproved uses 23), 24). You may want to visit the FDA’s Health Fraud Scams Website here 25): Health Fraud Scams at
  • Drinking large quantities of juice may be risky for people with kidney disease because some juices are high in oxalate, which can worsen kidney problems.
  • People with diabetes should follow the eating plan recommended by their health care team. If you have diabetes, consult your health care provider before making major changes in your eating habits, such as going on a detox diet.
  • Diets that severely restrict calories or the types of food you eat usually don’t lead to lasting weight loss and may not provide all the nutrients you need.
  • Colon cleansing procedures may have side effects, some of which can be serious. Harmful effects are more likely in people with a history of gastrointestinal disease, colon surgery, kidney disease, or heart disease.
  • Detoxification programs often include laxatives, which can cause diarrhea severe enough to lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

How to lose weight healthily

The key to healthy weight loss is to focus on a healthy lifestyle with plenty of regular exercise and a balanced diet with foods mainly from these 5 healthy food groups:

  • different colored vegetables
  • fruit
  • whole grains
  • lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • milk, yogurt and cheese, mostly reduced fat.

You should also drink plenty of water, and limit your intake of foods that contain saturated fat, added sugars, added salt and alcohol.

Tips for losing weight

  • swap foods high in fat, sugar and salt with foods from one of the 5 healthy food groups
  • cut down on takeaways – eat leftovers from last night’s meal instead
  • eat regularly and plan ahead with healthy snacks
  • choose smaller portions
  • eat breakfast
  • enjoy a wide variety of foods
  • exercise for 30-60 minutes every day
  • eat plenty of fiber to fill you up
  • eat more vegetables.

References   [ + ]

Health Jade