Anyone for some red cabbage mush?

From Bambi legged Vogue models to wobbly lady guts splashed across the cover of Heat magazine, you can’t pass a newsstand without being assaulted by the phrase ‘bikini body’. So it’s no surprise the Twittersphere is awash with women keen to minimise their waistline with a brand new spangly detox programme. “Reboot your metabolism” the adverts scream. “Kick start a whole new attitude to eating!” Sounds *almost* appealing when you put it like that.

But just because Gywneth Paltrow survives on macrobiotic bunny food doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy. Although people swear by the feel good factor that accompanies three days of cranberry flavoured starvation, several scientists have come forward to debunk the ‘healthy detox’ myth. David Bender, a leading emeritus professor of nutritional biochemistry,* dismissed the idea as ‘a marketing push’. He told the Telegraph that the idea of self healing and raised energy levels was ‘nonsense’ and the so called ‘accumulated toxins’ have no effect on metabolism. Basically the only healthy way to lose excess blubber or gain the energy of a baby lamb on a spring day is to eat a well balanced diet (yes, the kind with carbs) and do exercise. (The kind with running. Urgh.)

Apart from TV’s resident ketchup nazi Gillian McKeith (who falsified her nutritional qualifications for a prime time slot), I’ve never heard a health expert advocate raw food or celery puree diets. And who would take dietary advice from a woman whose hobbies include examining human excrement and forcing lurid pond scuzz cocktails down the throats of morbidly obese families? (By contrast the hundreds of scientists who’ve claimed detox diets are total bollocks ALL have degrees. Just saying.)

Nutritional value aside, my biggest bug bear with the detox fad is the price tag. Whilst some women might head to the local Tesco for a bag of oranges, the majority of programmes I read about involve paying upwards of £200 for a company to deliver a selection of juices and packaged meals to your door. Convenient perhaps, but doesn’t Sainsbury’s have exactly the same home delivery system for approximately a fifth of the price? If I wouldn’t spend this kind of money on food that actually fills me up, why would I pay to feel hungrier than an angry bear recently awoken from hibernation?

Assuming the extortionate cost isn’t enough to put you off, consider this: It’s fucking horrible. Remember that rumbly tumbly growly feeling you get when you’ve not had your Weetabix? Imagine that, but for a week. Or worse, a whole month. Humans are meant to eat food every day, not go through short bursts of deliberate starvation. Do you think the ancient Egyptians ever thought ‘cripes, my arms are looking jiggly in this loincloth dress, better stick to chick pea puree this week’? No. Exactly.

So in summary, I’ll say this: Life is too short to worry about whether some new fad diet will eliminate those squishy bits near your bum. And if you do feel the need for a sudden health kick, there’s better ways to do it than exchanging £300 for some bottles of liquidised grass with a fancy pants label. This summer I’ll be shunning detox diets in favour of spending time with the love of my life; cake. I invite you to join me.

*No, I don’t know what it means either.