Read the product blurb for Isagenix, and you’d think you’d discovered gold –
“At Isagenix, our products offer a whole-body approach to health and wellness that is revolutionising youthful-ageing. From the inside out and the outside in, Isagenix products offer nutritional cleansing, cellular replenishing and youthful ageing.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
They mention health and wellness.
Hey, they even throw some science in there, and fancy terms – what’s not to like about “cellular replenishing?”
On the face of it, Isagenix seems like the solution to the obesity epidemic.
You’ll drop kilos, get healthier in the process, plus, it’s easy – all you need to do is take their products, and you’re on to a winner.
Why then, is Isagenix one of the worst things you could do for your health and body?
The Curse of Quick Fixes
For many people, dieting has always been a struggle.
You might have been there yourself. In fact, if you’re reading this, I’d guess you have.
Overweight, unfit and depressed with your weight, you start to feel a little desperate.
Along comes a new diet, supplement, or system, that promises radical results, and, being at rock bottom, you decide that this is it. You jump in, both feet first, ready to get super quick results, change your life, change your body and kick start your way to improved health and wellbeing.
Things start well……
Full of vim, vigour and enthusiasm, you get your starter pack through the door. It’s full of fancy tubs of pills and powders, all top of the range, including ingredients you’ve never heard of, but you’re sure they must work – all this stuff is clinically proven, right?
The first few days are a breeze. You might be a little lethargic or grouchy, and you miss your normal meals, but hey, it’s not forever right – it’s only 30 days.
As time goes by though, things get worse.
With no real food (most of these plans only allow 1 proper meal per day, or a couple of small snacks) hunger and cravings go through the roof.
The constant shake concoctions start to make you gag and splutter, as you choke yet another one down, and the pills stick in your throat.
And what happens when you get to the end of the plan? (And that’s a big “if.”)
You go back to eating “normally” – meaning how you ate before, binge on all the foods you’ve been deprived of, and end up in worse shape physically and mentally than you were before your cleanse.
(For more on why restrictive diets are such a terrible idea, check out – http://www.resultbasedtraining.com.au/pleased-to-meet-you-im-the-flexible-diet/ )
The Farce of the 30-Day Cleansing and Fat-Burning System
So what exactly does giving your hard-earned cash to Isagenix involve?
One of the most popular Isagenix systems is the 30-Day Cleansing and Fat Burning System.
The plan is split into two different days – shake days and cleanse days.
You kick off with two shake days, then two cleanse days. You then get another five shake days, another two cleanse days, then finish off the rest of the month with 19 straight shake days.
Here’s how the shake days go down –
- Wake up, drink some water, and take a bunch of Isagenix supplements.
- At mid-morning, you get a snack. Surprisingly, most of the approved snacks are made by Isagenix, though you can have six unsalted almonds if you wish.
- Early afternoon you get another Isagenix shake, or you can choose to have a 400-600 calorie meal. Beware, you’re only allowed one meal per day, so if you take this now, that means no more food until tomorrow.
- In the afternoon, you have another snack and supplement dose.
- For dinner, you have your 400-600 calorie meal (or just a shake if you chose to eat at lunch time) then round off the day with more delectable supplements.
The cleanse days are remarkably similar, with the main difference being, you’re not allowed your single 400-600 calorie meal.
But look on the bright side – you’re allowed a quarter of an apple or a pear if you start to feel tired.
Hopefully, the savvy dieters among you out there will already be questioning how healthy an approach like this is.
In total, we’re only looking at around 1,000-1,400 calories on the shake days. Bear in mind government guidelines suggest that no woman should drop her calories below 1,200 per day, and no man below 1,800, and we starts seeing big problems. (1)
The main issue with such low-calorie diets is that they simply aren’t sustainable.
While you won’t do any lasting physical damage by dropping your calories to this level for 30 days, the psychological impact can be catastrophic. Expect huge dieting rebounds, binges and cravings.
Does Detoxing Work?
“Detoxing” in the sense of cutting back on high-calorie junk food, eating more lean proteins, more healthy fats, more fibre, and more fruits and vegetables certainly does work.
It gets you into healthy habits, and creates a plan you can more or less stick to indefinitely.
Detoxing in the form of drastically slashing calories, taking a load of supplements and trying to cleanse your system, however, does not.
In fact, it could be downright dangerous.
According to a health report from the Harvard Medical School, detox diets can lower your basal metabolic rate (the speed at which you burn calories) to a worrying level.
Much of the weight loss achieved can actually be contributed to water loss, a drop in your glycogen levels (stored carbohydrate) and the fact that the frequency of your bowel movements increases.
Your body is actually incredibly efficient at detoxing and cleansing itself. Organs such as the liver, kidneys and skin all function to remove waste products from the body and keep you healthy.
If you really needed to detox, you’d know about it. And at that stage, you’d be in need of medical assistance, not a 30-day weight loss plan. (2)
Putting the Smackdown on Supplements
It’s tough to work out which Isagenix supplement to breakdown and explain the uselessness of first, so a general overview is likely the best approach.
First up – their meal replacement powder – IsaLean.
Unlike many other cheaper, generic brand meal replacements, this one is less than 50% protein. Considering protein is the most thermogenic macronutrient, and will keep you feeling fullest, this seems like a big faux pas. Secondly, it’s around 20% sugar, and contains a multitude of ingredients, including sunflower oil, magnesium stearate, thiamine mononitrate, and others that are equally as difficult to pronounce.
The Natural Accelerator, designed to speed up weight loss lacks any scientific backing.
The main ingredient – vitamin B3 – has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, but doesn’t directly help with fat loss in any way. (3) The second ingredient, chromium picolate, may help with craving reduction (which you’ll probably need following such a restrictive plan!) and the third main one – R-alpha lipoic acid does work well as an antioxidant, but that’s about it. (4)
Another popular product – the meal replacement bars – actually contain MORE calories than most other protein bars. With 18 grams of protein, 28 grams of carbohydrate and 9 grams of fat, this is far inferior to bars marketed as “protein bars” such as Quest, which contain on average the same amount of protein, but only 20 grams of carbohydrate and 6 grams of fat. Additionally, Isagenix’s pitiful 1 gram of fibre per bar falls far short of many cheaper bars, which pack their bars with more fibre to increase satiety.
The Wrap Up
The key to dieting is to find an approach that works for you, and that you can stick to. Any changes you make need to be made for life. Not just for 30 days.
The trouble with Isagenix (and other cleanse diets like it) is that even if you manage the 30 days, you won’t stick on the plan.
Additionally, most of the supplements and associated products you’re pressured into buying are
- unnecessary and lack scientific backing
When it comes to supplements, all you really need is a basic protein powder, some fish oils and possibly a multivitamin, and even these aren’t essentials.
And for your diet?
Forget anything that sets a timescale, or that eradicates real food.
Be inclusive, not exclusive with your food choices, count your calories, focus on nutrient-dense foods, and you’ll be in a far better place, and get long-lasting results.
Result Based Training
PS: Want to know how to work out your own nutrition plan for free? plus have 2 weeks worth of Personal Training at one of our Melbourne or Gold Coast Training Studio’s. Simply fill out the form below and lets get you the body of your dreams.