If you haven't heard of bentonite clay, benefits include speeding up your weight loss and helping you detox your way to looking younger. Wow! Now, we all baked mud pies in the yard when we were little kids, but we didn't actually want to eat them, right? So the latest wellness trend taking over Hollywood is a bit of a surprise: A-list beauties like Salma Hayek are reportedly consuming bentonite clay (which is formed from volcanic ash and dug up from the ground) to detoxify and slim. In fact, Zoe Kravitz, who co-starred in the HBO series Big Little Lies, has said drinking clay helped her drop 20 pounds for a role.
Though it sounds like a new-age idea, the practice of consuming clay dates back centuries. Native cultures from the Andes, Central Africa and Australia have long ingested clay to prevent food poisoning and ease digestive distress.
Modern-day alternative-health experts recommend the clay for its rich stores of minerals, including magnesium and calcium, which they claim can power up cellular metabolism. Enthusiasts also believe clay has a negative electrical charge that allows it to bind to the positively charged ions in toxins and heavy metals so they can be removed from the body. That's good news for slimming because when the liver has fewer toxins to process, it has more energy to burn fat for fuel.
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But for all its purported benefits, medical scientists caution that bentonite clay is often little more than processed dirt--and that it can be contaminated with heavy metals, toxins, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Case in point: In 2016, the FDA
warned consumers about two companies selling bentonite products that contained potentially harmful high levels of lead.
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Yikes! We asked FIRST wellness columnist [Jorge Cruise] to weigh in on the bentonite clay detox trend. His take? The risks may outweigh the benefits.
"I'm a fan of clay face masks, but when it comes to consuming clay, the risks may be too great. If you try the remedy, make sure to drink plenty of liquid to flush your system. And consult your health-care provider--especially if you are on any medications, since clay can bind to the active compounds and reduce their efficacy.
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Still want to try clay? Consider Juice Generation Pure Earth ($4, for a 1 oz. shot
JuiceGeneration.com). It contains high-quality clay that is on the FDA's "Generally Recognized as Safe" list. Salma Hayek's company, Juice Generation, sells clay-based drinks--and the star is said to be a big fan herself!
"Soy is not a health food," Gwyneth's health coach Dr. Frank Lipman said. "If it's not fermented, I don’t recommend it. And again, most soy is genetically modified. For some people, grains in general. It's tricky after sugar and gluten. You've got to find a way where it doesn't feel like you're on a diet and you don't feel deprived."