A woman in the UK was awarded more than Â£800,000 (sh2.5b) last year after she suffered permanent brain damage while on a detox diet. The High Court heard Dawn Page, 52, began vomiting uncontrollably after starting â€œThe Amazing Hydration Dietâ€.
Page later had an epileptic seizure which damaged her memory, speech and concentration. Her nutritionist Barbara Nash denied any wrongdoing and the High Court ratified the settlement without mention of liability.
The court heard Page claimed Nash told her to drink large amounts of water and reduce her salt intake when she started the diet in October 2001. She told court that when she started vomiting. Nash told her it was a normal part of the detoxification process.
Less than a week into the regime, Page, a mother-of-two, was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon after suffering a severe epileptic seizure. Doctors diagnosed low salt levels in her body â€” known as hyponatraemia or water intoxication.
She has been left with â€œcognitive deficitâ€ which she says has forced her to give up work as a conference organiser.
Her husband Geoff, said: â€œHer life has been seriously affected, perhaps ruined, by this fad-type way of losing weight, which I can only say is a dangerous method of weight loss.â€
He said his wife had previously tried several other diets and had been told to drink four pints of water a day.
He said just days after she started the diet, she began to feel unwell and started vomiting. Things went from bad to worse, and within another couple of days she collapsed with the fit.
She is now on anti-epilepsy medication and mood-stabilising drugs. Appreciating and learning new things is difficult for her.
Detox diets are based on the theory that toxins from â€œunhealthyâ€ food and drink build up in the body and can lead to health problems.
Purging those toxins â€” through restricted diets, lots of water or using particular supplements â€” is meant to leave people feeling better and, often, thinner.
Dr. Andrew Wadge says: â€œAs a dietician, I frequently see people who have been given the wrong information by nutritionists or nutritional therapists,â€ she said.
But others believe detoxing can be beneficial if done properly. Ellie Kopiel, 55, detoxes about once a year by limiting her food intake, eating lots of fruit and vegetables and drinking about two litres of water a day.
Kopiel, a reflexologist from London, says: â€œI do it when Iâ€™m feeling a bit clogged up. The first time I did it I must have had a lot of toxins in my body and for the first few days I felt very weak, very nervy and very tired.
But now Iâ€™m more conscious of what I eat all the time so when I detox the most I get might be a headache.â€
Womanâ€™s left brain damaged by drastic detox diet