Charcoal: The New Detoxing Miracle to End Belly Bloat??

Lipman believes activated charcoal has its place for a certain consumer, and it’s something you can try from time to time if you suffer from persistent digestive symptoms like gas and bloating — just talk to your doc first, especially if you take medications that the charcoal might mop up instead of allow the body to absorb. “I don’t think it’s all bad,” he says. “For relieving gas, I think it can absolutely work.” 

But if you’re looking to purify and detox? You’re better off opting out. “Charcoal is still something you’ve got to be careful of,” Lipman says. “It’s just not a substance you want to be using in great quantities over time.” 

Mullin agrees, saying the body’s internal processes aren’t something you should tamper with — especially when there’s insufficient scientific data on long-term effects, like with activated charcoal. “We talk about pharmacologic strategies and surgeries are complicated, but purging your system can have consequences,” he says. “Cleansing has risks, too.”

Keri Gans, MS, RD, author of The Small Change Diet, says you really don’t need activated charcoal (or a liquid diet) to cleanse your body. “The claims here can usually be achieved by simply cutting the processed junk food from your diet,” she says. “Our bodies already have the necessary tools to detox. It’s what the liver does everyday. Feed your body right, with adequate hydration, and it’ll do its job.”

Gans suggests opting to fuel up with high-fiber fruits like oranges, raspberries and apples; high-fiber veggies like spinach, kale, beets and carrots; and daily whole grains like oats, barley and quinoa to keep your digestive system primed. Think of it as an all-natural detox to ring in 2015.

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