A New Start
After Christmas comes the anti-Christmas.If the festive season is all about filing up on the things you like that are bad for you，then the new year is the ’detox season’-when people across the western world adopt special diets to lose weight and get rid of the vague feeling that they have spent the last few weeks poisoning themselves.
But are detox diets really necessary?After all，the body itself gets rid of unwanted substances.That’s what the liver and kidney are for.
“The detox fad-or fads，as there are many methods-is an example of the capacity of people to believe in and pay for magic despite the lack of any sound evidence1，”says Martin Wiseman，professor of human nutrition at the University of Southampton in the UK.
Most of the pills，juices，teas and oils that are sold for their detoxifying effects on the body have no scientific foundation for their claims，according to the research.People would be better off having a glass.of water and going to bed early.
Detox diets may be magic rather science，but they are the kind of magic which many people want to perform.That may have something to do with the western diet in general.
Scientists and dieticians argue that the benefits people feel are not due to their body getting rid of excessive toxins but are due to changing from what is likely to have been a‘poor’ diet.
Having fewer headaches，for example，is probably the result of being fully hydrated due to drinking so much water and better skin may be due to eating more fruit and vegetables.
Detox diets may also be dangerous，as they may deprive vulnerable groups-pregnant women，for instance，or growing teenagers-of the kind of nutrients they need.
Yet their popularity continues to rise.This may be something to do with the way that food works within many western cultures2.Generally，a country’s food develops along with its economy and society.Food becomes part of a person’s cultural identity.
In some countries，this link has been broken.In the UK，for example，rapid industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries saw millions of people move from the countryside to the towns interrupting the development of a national cuisine.The United States，a country of immigrants from many different places，has found it hard to develop a national cuisine.In both places，comparatively few people cook for themselves and food supply is dominated by big processing and agribusiness companies.
Detox diets are more popular in these countries than in places like France and Italy，where strong links between food and national culture remain，and where far more people regularly cook for themselves instead of buying processed foods.
Perhaps detox diets are successful because many westerners have lost trust in what they eat.On the other hand，they may help re-introduce people to the kind of food that is necessary for a healthy diet.And after learning that，they won’t poison themselves in the first place.
This would mean radical changes in the way that people eat across the west.And that would be an unwelcome development for the food industry.From the business point of view，it is much better to sell people the problem and then sell them the solution.
detox/5dI:tCks/v.& n.解毒、去毒 fad/fAd/n.风尚