February 25, 2021

The OCU warns against excessive consumption of foods advertised as 'detox' | Society

The OCU warns against excessive consumption of foods advertised as 'detox' | Society



The Consumer Organization (OCU) has warned this Tuesday that ingesting excess products such as aloe juice, green tea supplements, seaweed, raw shitake mushrooms or misnamed drinks with detoxifying properties can cause damage. He also points out that the supposed virtues and limits of healthy consumption are still under investigation. As a general rule, the organization advises to take them moderately and sporadically, and within a varied diet. It is based on this in recommendations and, at the expense of publishing specific studies, also precautions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

In the case of aloe vera, the organization prevents against the excessive consumption of one of the components of the plant, aloin, to which laxative benefits are attributed. The substance, warns the organization, can be toxic from certain doses. It is, however, a generic advice, since the organization also reports that to date it has not been possible to establish what dose is toxic or what maximum daily intake is safe in humans.

The OCU has also valued the benefits of milkshakes and juices made with green leafy fruits and vegetables. He points out that the effects advertised as depuratives of the organism have not been scientifically proven. It also warns against its contribution of oxalic acid, a toxic substance present in spinach or kale, also known as kale. In this case, the EFSA indicates that a daily consumption higher than 180 milligrams of that compound increases the risk of kidney stone formation (a 250 milligram shake ration exceeds that limit), and its presence has been associated with the reduction of absorption of other minerals, such as calcium, iron or potassium. However, when these vegetables are eaten boiled, oxalic levels are reduced by between 30% and 87%. The organization also warns of the nitrate content, higher in these vegetables than in other vegetables.

The consumer organization also refers to "an increasing number" of cases of dermatitis in France due to consumption of raw or undercooked shitake mushrooms, a disease attributed to lentinan, a sugar present in fungi that is inactivated if cooked with heat. In the case of algae, it warns the association that its excessive intake can exceed doses of iodine tolerated by Westerners, less accustomed to their digestion than the eastern populations.

Lastly, he warns of the OCU of the excessive consumption of green tea concentrations sold as food supplements with supposed antioxidant properties. A dose of catechins (antioxidant compound present in that plant) higher than 800 milligrams daily is associated with liver damage. The organization notes that these recommendations do not refer to infusions or drinks made from green tea, which do not pose any danger.

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