top of page

Activated charcoal diet

Activated charcoal diet

Concept or Theory Behind this Diet:

Activated Charcoal: A Bad Diet

The Activated Charcoal Diet is not a diet in the traditional sense, like the Mediterranean or Paleo diets, where a specific meal plan or food group restrictions are outlined. Rather, it refers to the practice of consuming activated charcoal, often in the form of supplements or powders, with the belief that it can provide certain health benefits.

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that is processed at high temperatures to create a substance with millions of tiny pores. This gives activated charcoal a large surface area, enabling it to adsorb (bind to) substances such as chemicals, toxins, and gases, which is why it's commonly used in emergency medicine to treat certain types of poisoning or overdose.

Claims Made

In the context of dieting and wellness, some advocates claim that taking activated charcoal can provide a detoxifying effect, helping to cleanse the body of toxins, reduce bloating and gas, improve skin health, and even aid in weight loss. These claims largely come from the substance's adsorptive properties and its use in medical detoxification settings.

Unsupported by Science

There is limited scientific evidence to support these health claims. While activated charcoal can be effective in acute poisoning cases under medical supervision, its benefits in general wellness, detoxification, and weight loss are not well-studied or proven.


Moreover, there are potential side effects and risks associated with consuming activated charcoal, especially without professional guidance. These include constipation, black stools, and potential interactions with medications. Activated charcoal doesn't distinguish between "bad" toxins and "good" substances, so it can potentially adsorb beneficial nutrients and medications, reducing their effectiveness.

In my opinion (Dr. Holland) the activated charcoal diet is a dangerous gimmick and I warn patients to avoid it.

bottom of page