Colon cleanse products promise big health benefits, but deliver nothing

So-called miracle cures come in all forms, and one long-discredited golden oldie has been making a comeback -- the colon cleanse.

The practice of cleansing the colon with water and laxatives dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who believed decomposing food in the intestines bred toxins. From the late 1800s to the 1930s, many physicians subscribed to the same notion, by then known as "autointoxication," and prescribed the use of colonic machines to irrigate the intestines until advances in science and medicine disproved the theory.

Nevertheless, colon detoxification made yet another comeback in the 1980s and continues to this day. This time, the various powders, herbal supplements and the most ubiquitous one of them all, Acai berry, promise even more than just the removal of toxins. Now, the advertised benefits of colon cleansing include mood improvement, higher energy levels, clearer skin, strengthened immune systems and, of course, the Holy Grail of all wonder drugs: weight loss.