Try the detosh diet
spiked editor Mick Hume in The Times (London).
- May I take a moment of your time to recommend my January detosh diet?
It is a recipe for cutting out all the fat-headed tosh and codswallop about the need to ‘detox’ after the Christmas holidays.
The detox lobby becomes obese at this time of year, when you can scarcely move for celebrity-endorsed detox diets, treatments, books and lifestyle regimes. The assumption is that we need professional help to rid our rotten bodies of all the poisons and harmful chemicals accumulated during the season of overindulgence.
Yet as leading scientists and clinicians brought together by the charity Sense about Science pointed out this week, there is no real foundation to the detox industry’s claims. Despite their emphasis on ‘natural’ treatments, the detox merchants seriously undersell the human body’s natural capacity to ‘detoxify’ itself through our own organic gut, liver and kidneys — available free from parents everywhere. If you do want to give your liver a hand, the advice is to steer clear of the magic potions and drink some tap water.
Some experts seem perplexed as to why so many people are willing to turn to these useless detox treatments now. But why wouldn’t they believe the claims of the detox quacks? After all, we are continually lectured by respectable authorities and government agencies about the need to cut out ‘unhealthy’ food and habits. The January detox craze simply looks like a more intense outburst of the healthy eating/living obsession that we are force-fed all year round.
Presumably this is why, apart from the brave souls assembled by Sense about Science, many experts appear unwilling to rubbish detox in public. There is a feeling that, however dodgy their claims may be, these quacks can at least make us think about our unhealthy diet and lifestyles. In fact that is the worst thing about the entire detox industry — it encourages people to waste their lives gazing not just at their navels but up their colons.
Detoxification once referred to the process of removing some specific poisonous substance from the body. Now it has been expanded so far that such everyday foodstuffs as sugar or fat can be relabelled as toxins to be driven out like demons. On ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith’s New Year Detox on TV, people were guilt-tripped into confessing that they were killing their kids by putting salt on their food, or guaranteeing themselves an early heart attack by eating take-aways. If such poisonous self-loathing is now considered the key to healthy living, I’ll take the detosh option, thanks.
At the risk of provoking the mayor to reach for the green ink again, I feel I must defend the honour of the Notebook. The ‘not an event, a public order problem’ announcement was made by Judith Woodward, the mayor’s key adviser on major celebrations, before New Year’s Eve 2002.
She also reportedly told the London Assembly: ‘We will not have fireworks and we are trying to ensure that we do not get hundreds of thousands of people turning up in Central London to celebrate it.’
If Mr Livingstone disagreed with that official view, he need not have waited three years to say so. Since that debacle, the Mayor’s office has been embarrassed into doing something for New Year’s Eve — especially with London’s Olympic bid under way while still trying to contain the ‘public order problem’, aka the public. As a solution they have hit upon the ‘spectacular ten-minute fireworks display’ — great for the global TV cameras, but over almost before it has begun.
The last thing anybody in their right mind would actually want is for Mr Livingstone to organise another of his dire Musically Correct festivals on New Year’s Eve. Although, come to think of it, if they are worried about public order problems, that might be one way to keep people off the streets.
Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)
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