Detox water for weight loss recipes are all over the Internet. But do they work … at least any better than just drinking regular water?
You’re feeling blissed out after getting a full-body deep-tissue massage. Especially since you can’t wake up in the morning without struggle and need the relaxation.
Massage is said to be detoxifying. However, this scientific article says it’s not only NOT detoxifying, it can be slightly toxic.)
But can the glass of spa water (e.g. pure water with slices of cucumber and strawberries) that your therapist hands you also aid in detoxification? Can it even help you lose weight?
Or, like the science article debunking detoxifying massage effects, is detox water for weight loss also pseudo-science?
The short answer: a little bit of both.
Researchers know that certain foods can play a role in the very complex detoxification process. But they don’t know entirely how it works.
But for millions of people around the planet, clear-cut scientific evidence that spa water works for cleansing and slimming doesn’t seem to be all that important.
In fact, according to Google Search data, there is a huge growth in premium water. One of the reasons: the desire for “a more enhanced hydration experience.”
In other words, people get bored drinking regular water. And with so many detox and cleanse products on the market, it was only time before “detox water for weight loss” became a thing.
What is detoxification?
Want to know if drinking spa water for flushing gunk out of your body is legit? And for losing weight?
Before examining the evidence (or lack thereof), let’s first look exactly what the detoxification system entails….
According to Harvard Medical School, detoxification is mainly a medical procedure. The procedure rids the body of dangerous, life-threatening substances. Think an overdose of alcohol, drugs or poison.
As opposed to sipping spa water after a massage or making your own infusion at home, traditional detox procedures are only done in a hospital or clinic. Furthermore, infusion beverages containing berries and lemon slices are not the standard treatments in medical settings.
Typically, if a patient has, say, heavy-metal poisoning, drugs are given to the patient. Not a mint-pomegranate infusion.
Harvard, along with other mainstream medical institutions, suggest the human body does a good job detoxing on its own. Even if you’ve had a couple too many drinks, your kidneys, liver and other organs will purge “environmental insults” on their own.
Water and detox
Yet, maybe Khloe Kardashian’s Instagram posts about detox water for weight loss does in fact have some merit.
After all, your liver and kidneys need adequate hydration. If they don’t get it, they can’t effectively aid the body’s natural detoxification process.
The liver picks up toxins from the blood. These toxins then are able to be dissolved in water.
From this point, the kidneys help filter out the water-soluble garbage. So is making your own homemade H2O infusion at home going to further aid this process?
Most scientists and health professionals say no.
Instead, what will help you lose weight and flush out toxins is the following:
- Eating a mostly plant-based, low-sugar diet
- Limiting meat, especially if it’s not grass-fed or organic
- Getting regular exercise
- Sleeping enough
If you’re doing all these things but are still gaining weight, drinking cucumber-strawberry water probably won’t help. Instead, go see your doctor.
However, maybe there is something to adding some fruit or leafy greens to agua.
This research, in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, says:
There is preliminary evidence to suggest that certain foods have detoxification properties.
However, the conclusion also says the majority of these studies have been performed in animals.
Water and weight loss
But perhaps you’ve heard that there are studies proving that drinking water can lead to losing weight.
And you’d be correct to bring that up. There are some studies on humans (like this one) that show it can in fact lead to weight loss.
Research shows that drinking water keeps you full in between meals. In addition, it also can increase the number of calories you burn.
Thus, if water can not only keep you full and help you burn more calories, what’s the harm in making your own detox water for weight loss?
There’s no harm at all.
In fact, adding nutrient-dense fruits and veggies may contribute even more to your health. However, many researchers and medical professionals believe flushing toxins is a misleading claim.
But maybe these spa drink naysayers need to read this study.
Best Detox drinks
The research says that there are four primary detoxification systems. And several foods influence these systems.
This table from the study lists several foods which activate detoxification enzymes. The foods include:
- Black raspberry
- Chicory root
Maybe all the recipes for detox water touted by celebs and bloggers do in fact aid in flushing out toxins? And when your body is better able to get rid of pollutants, theoretically, you should be able to lose weight easier.
Furthermore, results from this study show that the following drinks aid in the toxin-removal process:
- pomegranate juice
- red wine
- Concord grape juice
- blueberry juice
- black cherry juice
- açaí juice
- cranberry juice
- orange juice
- iced tea beverages
- apple juice
However, many of these drinks contain lots of sugar. 100% fruit juice is better for your health than soda, however, you might have trouble losing weight if you drink lots of juice.
How to detox with water
It’s really easy to make detox water for weight loss. All you need are your favorite veggies and low-starch fruit.
Chop veggies such as cucumber and fruit such as lemon into small slices. Add them to a glass pitcher of cool pure water. Then keep refrigerated.
It’s best to consume within a few days. After a few days the liquid will taste stale and pungent.
The following are some of the popular combinations [SOURCE]:
- Cucumber and mint
- Lemon and ginger
- Blackberry and orange
- Lemon and cayenne pepper
- Watermelon and mint
- Grapefruit and rosemary
- Orange and lemon
- Lemon and lime
- Strawberry and basil
- Apple and cinnamon
- Strawberries, Grapes, Lime, & Mint
- Lemons & Cherries
- Pomegranates & Mint
- Blackberries & Mint
- Lime, Apples, and Basil
What is the purpose of detox water?
Remember, even if there’s not a ton of evidence to support it, the point of detox water should be getting you to drink more water.
There are other claims of health benefits from it. Some are dubious. For example, making the pH of the body more alkaline.
Another health claim is improving elimination. This one might have merit.
If you start your morning by drinking two glasses warm water with lemon, you may feel a sudden urge to evacuate your bowels.
Indeed, if you feel sluggish, constipation can be a factor. This makes drinking spa water one of best ways to wake up in the morning easier.
Be aware, though, that most detox water is served cold. According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, drinking warm liquid is better for digestion.
Another common claim about drinking this beverage is it will make your skin look better.
It might be true that by drinking more h20 in general, your skin will look healthier. But it’s not like if you drink it with some fruit slices, your acne will magically disappear.
Detox water for weight loss
Making your own great-tasting water is a great way to make sure you’re getting adequate hydration. But there’s not enough evidence to suggest that adding a handful of blueberries, pomegranates or lemon wedges to your water will help your body flush out toxins. Nor will it enhance weight loss.
Thankfully, your body does a miraculous job getting rid of harmful matter on its own.