I had a different post planned, but after last week’sAdvocarepost I received an overwhelming number of requests for a review of the Isagenix 9 day cleanse program. Like Advocare, Isagenix is a multilevel marketing (MLM) company and its product sellers are not required to have any education in nutrition what so ever. Just like Advocare and every other MLM supplement company, they have the best scientists in the world developing their all “natural” products. The term “natural” is widely used in food labeling and marketing with inconsistent definitions, and the lack of standards in the USA means that the term really means nothing. Let’s take a look at what you are truly getting with these products.
The 9 day cleanse consists of 4 ‘cleanse days’ and 5 ‘shake days’.
For breakfast, the cleanse days start out with their “Cleanse for Life” product. With each serving of Cleanse for Life you receive only 20 calories at a cost of $2.87 to $5.74 per serving! The main ingredients include water, alfalfa (extremely cheap plant) and fructose (sugar). They also throw in some synthetic vitamins like cyanocobalamin. Synthetic vitamins, but they are all “natural”? Now I know the label says “ionic alfalfa”. What exactly does that mean? Do you really think Isagenix created some alfalfa super-food that in really small amounts drastically improves human health? Or, do you think it is a clever marketing gimmick? When has man ever improved on the nature that God, Mother Nature, or whomever you believe created?
“Isagenix Snacks” are to be eaten for a mid-morning snack on cleanse days. These contain mostly fructose (sugar), powdered milk, and more alfalfa. These snacks are only 30 calories and cost about $1 per serving. People are paying $1 for what is essentially a tiny shot of dehydrated chocolate milk. With this, Isagenix recommends a “Natural Accelerator” capsule. The ingredients in this capsule are decent, but insanely overpriced. A drink I like to make and do recommend is mixing a tablespoon of lemon juice and Bragg apple cider vinegar in a pint of water. Add a couple shakes of cinnamon, tiny dash of cayenne pepper, and a few drops of liquid stevia. It tastes great and is a very inexpensive ‘cleansing’ drink. Sorry Isagenix distributors, there is no reason to buy those pills.
You are instructed to consume another serving of Cleanse for Life late morning and Isagenix Snacks early afternoon.
Following the system guide, mid-afternoon you are to take another Cleanse for Life serving which consists of a whole 20 calories. It is now mid afternoon and you have consumed a total of about 120 calories at a cost of at least $10. The evening finishes off with another serving of Isagenix Snacks and Cleanse for Life drink. Depending on what exact protocol you follow with Isagenix, you will have spent between $15-$25 on about 170 calories worth of “food.” Basically, you will have paid to fast for a day. The protocol requires 4 of these fasting days in the 9 day program. If you only consume 170 calories for 4 days, of course you are going to lose weight! It has nothing to do with the products. If you eat 170 calories of twinkies a day for 4 days, you will lose weight. The weight loss associated with these products is not because of the products, but due to the fact that people are starving themselves!
For the 5 non cleansing days you add the IsaLean Shake 3 times per day and a small meal (400-600 calories) for lunch and dinner. This looks a lot like SlimFast. A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and then a sensible meal. A wise person would choose a sensible breakfast, a sensible lunch, and a sensible dinner. This shake is low quality and nothing I would pay money for. The shake’s ingredients include fructose (sugar), milk proteins, synthetic vitamins, and their alfalfa for $3 a pop.
Take this shake into Walmart or K-Mart and compare it to the protein shakes available there; you will be shocked at how similar they are. The shake consists of 240 calories, so on shake days you are consuming about 1750 calories. Again, more calorie restriction. During the 9 day cleanse you will definitely lose weight, not because the products are healthy and cleansing you, but because you did 9 days of serious calorie restriction.
Most of the weight loss seen during the cleanse is not because of burned fat; it is because you are still going to have bowel movements and empty yourself without adding anything back in. In other words, you lose a lot of poop weight. When you go back to your regular eating habits that weight is going to come back and then some. After 9 days of very low calorie consumption, your body is going to want to store fat to get ready for the next period of starvation. It is an innate, genius survival mechanism that does not apply in the USA today. For 99.9% of human existence we did not have immediate access to food. When you go through a period of very low calorie intake your body will look to store energy as fat to survive when that time comes again.
This is only a small sampling of the products they sell, but as bad and expensive as these are I would not pay for any product from this company. If you would like to do a shake for a meal, try this: Put some Kale (most nutrient dense plant), frozen fruit, liquid stevia,raw eggor two, some nuts, and some coconut milk or water (water if looking to lose weight) into a blender. Blend it up and you have a very nutrient dense, great tasting, inexpensive shake.
I have found that when people become Isagenix salesman they do have very good short term results. They are very motivated to create their “story” so they can make more money selling products to others. The best and healthiest long term strategy for health and proper body composition requires choosing the proper foods, drinks, and exercise, forever.
Plan for slow gradual improvements in body composition. If you were to lose ONLY 1 pound a week through healthy lifestyle choices, that would be 52 pounds by the end of the year! The wise always think long term, not quick gains or immediate gratification.
Isagenix distributors have been sending me this study which they claim shows how effective isagenix is at burning fat and reducing visceral fat (fat around organs). Let’s take a look at what this study tells us.
The study was funded by Isagenix (immediate red flag) and took 60 obese women and put them on a calorie restriction diet for 8 weeks. Of the 60 women who started 54 finished the program. Half of the group was given a 240 calorie isagenix shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and then a 400-600 calorie dinner (sounds like slimfast). The second group was instructed to eat 240 calories worth of food for breakfast and lunch and then have a 400-600 calorie meal. Their meals weren’t given to them in a controlled setting or even measured for calorie content. The participants were just asked about what they ate. After the 8 weeks here are the results;
BMI was the exact same for both groups. The isagenix group lost 2 more pounds than the control group. So, if a person buys 8 weeks of expensive isagenix shakes they might lose 2 pounds more than if they just cut back on meal portions over an 8 week period!
There was only a 2 cm reduction in the waist circumference measurement. A waist measurement can NOT tell you whether you have lost subcutaneous fat (fat between the skin and abdominal wall) or visceral fat (fat around organs). It just tells you your waist circumference. To make the claim that it was a visceral fat reduction is intentionally misleading and false. What this study does is help to reinforce that fact that these products are a waste of money and you are much better served spending it on quality whole foods!
Update: Since writing this post I publisheda book giving people the answers to permanent weight loss the smart way. You won’t find any magic shakes or overpriced pills…. but you will find a step by step plan that will give you the tools to get healthy and lose the unwanted weight!You can get it here for 95% less than a month of shakes.