And the wildly popular new health food comes from the summer camp fire pit: Charcoal. Should you be seeking out charcoal-laden ice cream/pizza/kale smoothies to improve your health?
Proponents say that it has the ability to pull toxins from the body and improve symptoms of everything from anxiety, to tissue toxins, to flatulence. That should be your first clue… name one other thing that can have such a broad impact. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Here are the facts:
- Activated charcoal doesn’t really come from a random campfire. It is a carefully heated and then oxygenated wood substance, usually coconut fibre, that has a negative ionic charge.
- This treatment also creates a huge surface area in each molecule, meaning it can bind to things many times its weight, shape and size, like liquids and multiple other substances.
- It has been used as a “natural Immodium” to sop up liquid in the bowel and calm the cramps of diarrhea.
- Activated charcoal has been used medically in overdose cases to absorb and remove actual, real toxins like drugs and heavy metals in accidental ingestion. If the emergency room can’t get you to chuck it up, it will help you push it out.
That said, as a food additive in small, consistent doses, it seems to be best at removing cash from wallets.