We’re not sure what Gwyneth Paltrow thinks “detoxing” means, but we really hope it doesn’t involve flushing your colon with coffee. The lifestyle guru connects with her followers via her website, Goop — and the site’s “Health and Beauty Detox Guide” currently advises readers to buy the Implant-O-Rama, an at-home DIY coffee enema device retailing for $135.
Detoxing in and of itself is a flawed concept — even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agrees. “There isn’t any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health,” according to the agency’s “’Detoxes’ and ‘Cleanses’” page.
But while belief in detoxing is the overarching error, recommending a coffee enema seems next-level irresponsible. An enema involves injecting a liquid or gas into the colon through the rectum, usually to try to stimulate a bowel movement. Coffee is rumored to be an effective stimulant. So (not so) naturally, coffee enemas were born.
Enemas, which have been around since the 1800s are not, and never will be, a good idea to try at home. The practice was largely condemned by the American Medical Association in 1919, and more recently, The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology called them “not merely useless but potentially dangerous” after the procedure experienced a resurgence in popularity.
Adding coffee to the equation only makes things worse. “Reports of three deaths that may be related to coffee enemas have been published,” warned the National Cancer Institute.
Implant-O-Rama claims that the enema “can mean relief from depression, confusion, general nervous tension, many allergy related symptoms, and, most importantly, relief from severe pain.” The company offers the glaring caveat that their claims are “not necessarily based on scientific evidence from any source.”
This isn’t the first time Paltrow’s site has recommended that its readers shove something up their holes that doesn’t belong. The celebrity’s company famously received a public complaint in 2017, after endorsements such as this one encouraged readers to put jade eggs in their vaginas to “help connect the [heart] chakra to with the yoni” and, more alarmingly, prevent uterine prolapse.
To ensure that we weren’t missing anything, we asked a doctor what they thought of the coffee enema suggestion. “Coffee enemas can cause numerous side effects,” Donnica L. Moore, MD, told The Daily Meal. “Rectal burning or perforation; infections (including sepsis, which can be life threatening); severe electrolyte imbalances (which have actually killed two people); colitis, and heart failure.”
Moore added, “Drinking coffee, on the other hand, may facilitate bowel movements in a much safer and enjoyable way!”
Yeah. Sorry Gwyneth, but we’re going to go with that option first.
If you’re too grossed out at this point to even think about a cup of coffee, try one of these healthy morning drinks instead.