Clay-eating: Details on the new detox trend

Celebrity Shailene Woodley says she eats clay for its detoxifying benefits. How safe is clay-eating? A dietitian weighs in. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — What’s the best way to detox your body? Claims are muddier than ever.

“Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars” actress Shailene Woodley has been in the news recently, promoting more than her two blockbusters. She’s been vocal about one of her favorite things to eat: clay.

“Clay binds to other material in your body and helps your body excrete those materials that are not necessarily the best for you, like toxins and heavy metals,” Woodley told David Letterman when she guest-starred on the “Late Show” in May.

Woodley spoke on the ancient practice of clay-eating around the world, and its benefits to pregnant women in particular.

But before you go digging in your backyard for a handful of dirt, Janet Helm, registered dietitian and blogger with Nutrition Unplugged, says you’re better off heading to the drugstore.

“Many ancient cultures practiced clay eating — ancient Greeks, Native Americans; it was popular in Africa,” Helm says. “There are a lot of minerals in soil


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