I’m sure you’ve heard of many ‘cleanses’ that promise miraculous results. There’s the Master Cleanse, made famous by singer Beyonce. There’s the oldie but goodie Apple Cider Vinegar Cleanse. The you have actress Shailene Woodley, who notably eats clay everyday. But clay is one of the less crazy fads (and that’s saying a lot, as it can cause lead poisoning).
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Recently YouTuber Chubbyemu, a University of Illinois adjunct medical professor, shared a video where he recounted the story of a woman who eventually went braindead after attempting a soy sauce cleanse. She was under the impression that this was a healthy, safe colon cleanse.
Yes, you read that correctly.
A cleanse involving 879 mg of sodium per tablespoon of soy sauce. The cleanse that she was following instructed her to drink 1 liter of soy sauce in a two hour period, all in the name of detoxification.
That’s more than half of this big boi you can get from wholesale stores:
This, of course, led to some pretty bad health issues.
‘CG’, as she is referenced in Chubbyemu’s video, was a 39 year old woman who was in poor health. She had lost 25lbs in a short three weeks, making her vitamin deficient before she decided upon this trendy ‘fad’. Her husband stated she had been eating only white bread and canned fish for nearly 6 months.
This sounds a lot like disordered eating, right off the bat. She’s created imbalances and deficiencies in her body before she began this soy sauce cleanse. She had also recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital for delusions that the government had poisoned her. Reading a hoax-like and malicious article, she believed that the sodium she consumed would stay only in her colon and pull all the toxins the government had poisoned her with to it, which her body would then evacuate.
The ‘cleanse’ is correct in stating that sodium pulls water and substance to it. The soy sauce brought huge amounts of salt into her stomach, which began sucking water from her muscles and organs. It’s this tiny kernel of truth that makes these types of hoaxes so dangerous. They establish a truth to gain trust.
She developed Central Pontine Myelinolysis, a condition characterized by rapid sodium deficiency correction that leads to damage of the protective sheaths around nerve fibers.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explain Central Pontine Myelinolysis as such:
Central pontine myelinolysis (CPM) is a neurological disorder that most frequently occurs after too rapid medical correction of sodium deficiency (hyponatremia). The rapid rise in sodium concentration is accompanied by the movement of small molecules and pulls water from brain cells. Through a mechanism that is only partly understood, the shift in water and brain molecules leads to the destruction of myelin, a substance that surrounds and protects nerve fibers. Nerve cells (neurons) can also be damaged. Certain areas of the brain are particularly susceptible to myelinolysis, especially the part of the brain stem called the pons.
To put this in perspective, 5.8 grams of salt is the recommended daily intake. 40 grams of salt is considered fatal. The liter of soy sauce CG consumed contained over 200 grams of salt.
Four days after attempting the soy sauce cleanse, she was unable to speak, swallow, or move, even after they took measures to correct the level of sodium in her blood.
Watch Chubbyemu, who is a doctor despite the silly name, explain it here:
Most cleanses turn out to be just a waste of time. CG was unfortunately not so lucky. INSIDER gives us some insight into why cleanses have become popular in the first place by speaking with a dietician:
“Going on a cleanse gives people something that they can control — it makes them feel like they’re making up for their ‘mistakes’ in eating,” registered dietitian Rachael Hartley told INSIDER. “It’s sort of like a coping mechanism to deal with shame that someone feels for eating in a way they think is bad.”
“Our body is able to cleanse or detox itself by using normal bodily functions,” Hartley said. “When we breathe, when we go to the bathroom, when our liver is functioning — the body does all the cleansing and detoxifying itself. There’s no need to follow a certain diet plan to do that.”
“Most of the detoxes I’ve seen are very inadequate in fat and protein and carbohydrates as well,” Hartley said. “[They’re] just inadequate in calories.”
The work of detoxifying is primarily done by your liver and your kidneys. Unless there’s something wrong with those organs, they’re going to keep on filtering out waste and toxins whether you eat a salad or a double bacon cheeseburger.
Or in other words:
Do yourself and others a favor — don’t torture yourself with unappetizing cleanses and then promote them to other gullible people. Just eat good foods and work out. Better yet, listen to your doctor. Their 12 years of school and residency trump your 20 minutes on the internet.
So, @BeauDuran, according to #science, I guess that #cleanse will do more harm than good. Let's forget I mentioned it. Thanks to @FeliciaConnects for helping me live my #truth. #sticktothefacts https://t.co/HeDXsC30gR
— Clare Lane (@clareifying) November 28, 2018
— Food Science Babe (@foodscibabe) November 27, 2018
Cover image via YouTube