What Is the Purium Diet?

Purium diet

Verywell / Debbie Burkoff

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

The Purium diet is a 10- or 30-day cleanse that promises to increase your energy, improve sleep, and reset your metabolism. Proponents of the program claim it can help you lose up to 20 pounds.

Purium was co-founded in 2004 by David Sandoval and Amy Venner-Hamdi. While both have worked in the nutrition and wellness space, neither is a registered dietician or certified nutritionist.

Purium is a multi-level marketing company that sells shakes, supplements, powders, and other products related to diet, detoxing, and weight loss. Meal replacement shakes, supplements and minimal fruits and vegetables make up the "Ten-Day Cleansing" program, which is a shortened version of the "30-Day Ultimate Lifestyle Transformation" plan.

While both diets are only meant to last for a set duration, neither are likely to promote sustainable weight loss. Nor do they teach healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

What Experts Say

"The Purium diet is a very-low-calorie plan which promises quick weight loss. It consists of just 600 calories a day, which experts warn is not healthy or sustainable. Even over just 10 days, people may experience side effects like fatigue and irritability."
Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

What Can You Eat?

Those who follow the 10-day plan can expect to consume three shakes a day, supplements every few hours, and a tart-cherry drink at the end of the day. The plan also allows for small portions of "flex foods." You may drink up to 72 ounces of water daily, along with some other approved beverages. The 30-day plan is similar, with the exception that just two out of three meals are Purium-based.

What You Need to Know

The Purium 10-day cleanse for weight loss claims to activate the hormone adiponectin to burn fat, build muscle, and aid the body in detoxifying and cleansing the digestive tract.

According to Purium, its shakes and supplements flood the body with nutrient-dense, low-calorie superfoods, helping to break addictions to foods containing sugar, salt, carbohydrates, and chemicals. On the 10-day cleanse, you'll consume about 600 calories a day.

The meal replacement shakes and supplements are spread out at two-hour intervals. Here's what a typical schedule on the 10-day plan might look like if you wake up at 7 a.m. Flex foods or beverages can be consumed at any three of these intervals.

  • 7 a.m.: 2 tablets Super Amino 23 and water
  • 9 a.m.: Power Shake (with 20 oz. water); 2 capsules Biome Medic; 1–2 capsules Super CleansR
  • 11 a.m.: 5 tablets Super Amino 23 and water
  • 1 p.m.: Power Shake (with 20 oz. water); 2 capsules Biome Medic; 1–2 capsules Super CleansR
  • 3 p.m.: 5 tablets Super Amino 23 and water
  • 5 p.m.: Power Shake (with 20 oz. water)
  • 30 to 60 minutes before bed: Apothe-Cherry (with 8–10 oz. water)

Fitness activities are not promoted in this plan. In fact, according to instructions, exercise should be limited to light walking and yoga. The instructions also recommend getting a good night's sleep each night while on the plan. Followers can also choose to have an additional flex food serving or a meal if they feel tempted to abandon the program.

Purium offers inspirational tips by text, support-group-style phone calls, and a Facebook group for people following these plans. All are optional.

What to Eat
  • Purium products

  • Certain fruits and vegetables

  • Certain flavorings

  • Certain beverages

What Not to Eat
  • Grains and starches

  • Meat, eggs, dairy products

  • Caffeine and alcohol

Purium Products

Both the 10-day and 30-day packs contain a Power Shake powder, Apothe-Cherry concentrated tart cherry juice, Super Amino 23 amino acid supplements, Biome Medic supplements for gut support, and SuperCleansR supplements to help "cleanse" the digestive tract.

Fruits and Vegetables

Three servings of a "flex food" or "flex beverage" are allowed per day. Flex foods include avocado, apple, watermelon, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, kimchi, and summer squash. For most of these, the serving size is one cup.

Flavorings

Flavor your flex foods with organic tropical oil, freshly squeezed lemon, Himalayan sea salt, raw honey, or fresh herbs and spices.

Flex Beverages

These may be consumed alone or mixed with Power Shake powder, but they count toward the three daily servings of food or beverage: hemp, almond, coconut, or oat milk; kombucha; organic vegetable broth; decaffeinated herbal tea; coconut water; and Purium green drinks.

Meat, Eggs, Dairy Products

Purium programs are vegan and no animal products are permitted. The instructions recommend avoiding meat, dairy, and processed foods for two to three days before beginning the cleanse.

Caffeine and Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol are not allowed on the program, and Purium recommends withdrawing from these in the days prior to starting your cleanse (or three to five days prior for coffee).

Any food that isn't on the flex foods list is off-limits. That includes all grains, processed foods, and fruits and vegetables including bananas, potatoes, corn, and winter squash.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Structured plan

  • Short-term weight loss

Cons
  • Cost

  • Extremely low in calories

  • Does not teach healthy habits

  • Not supported by evidence-based research

Pros

The quick weight loss and all-inclusive packaging of Purium diet plans might seem appealing. But be aware of the drawbacks to this program.

  • Structured plan: On this eating plan, everything is prescribed and set up for you. There are few decisions to make other than what flavor of shake you want or which flex food to eat (and even in those cases, your options are quite limited).
  • Short-term weight loss: By severely restricting your calories to just 600 per day, you are almost guaranteed to lose weight.

Yasmine Ali, MD

Diets that are less than 1,200 calories per day do not provide enough energy or nutrition for the necessary, basic biological functions of an adult human.

— Yasmine Ali, MD

Cons

If you're considering this plan, you need to be aware of the many concerns associated with it.

  • Cost: The 10-day package retails for about $279, and the 30-day plan is $439. However, you can receive a discount when you sign up for a rewards program and earn points. While everything is organized and planned, it still amounts to about $11 a day, according to Purium's website.
  • Very restrictive: "Diets that are less than 1,200 calories per day do not provide enough energy or nutrition for the necessary, basic biological functions of an adult human,” says preventive cardiologist Yasmine Ali, MD, MSCI, FACC, FACP. “Plus, severe calorie restriction sends the body into starvation mode, which makes humans hold on to weight rather than continue to lose it. These diets usually backfire for that reason, as well as for the fact that they are simply unsustainable." 
  • Does not teach healthy habits: When you drink meal-replacement shakes and take supplements for the majority of your daily food intake, there is no opportunity to learn healthy eating habits, smart cooking skills, or portion control. All of these are important to maintaining weight loss.

While Purium's cleanse and transformation programs promise weight loss, detoxification, and other benefits, high-quality evidence to support these benefits is lacking.

Is the Purium Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

When compared to federal guidelines for a healthy, balanced diet, the Purium diet falls short. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests eating a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats each day. Health experts also note that it's better to get nutrients from foods vs. supplements. On the Purium diet, most of the protein you consume is from powdered shake mix and the only other solid foods you eat are fruits and vegetables.

The Purium plan is also dangerously low in calories (around 600 a day) compared to the USDA's recommendation of 1,600 to 2,200 calories a day for females and 2,200 ti 3,200 calories per day for males. The USDA recommends a reduction of 500 calories a day for a sustainable weight-loss rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week. However, daily calorie needs vary depending on your age, sex, and activity level. Use this calculator to determine a calorie target that's right for you.

Although it may claim to offer complete nutrition, the Purium diet does not meet expert advice for healthy eating.

Health Benefits

Short-term weight loss is likely on the Purium diet. However, it may return quickly once you return to a normal diet. Health experts generally advise that severe calorie restriction from meal replacement shakes is not a healthy solution for long-term weight management.

Health Risks

The Purium diet claims that its products help to "detox" the body. However, this claim is not rooted in science. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) explains that while research is lacking, there isn't enough evidence to show that these programs provide any real "detox" benefit. And they may only provide some limited weight loss benefits in the short term.

In addition, severe calorie restriction can lead to fatigue and lightheadedness and even slow the body's metabolism. Very low-calorie diets (less than 1,200 calories per day) should only be followed under medical supervision. Those that follow a Purium plan for an extended amount of time could put themselves at risk for nutrient deficiencies.

"Detoxes" and "cleanses" are not recommended for anyone who has had or is at risk for developing an eating disorder, as these programs do not cultivate a healthy relationship with food.

A Word From Verywell

Most health experts agree that "detox" programs for weight loss that eliminate entire food groups or severely restrict your calorie intake are generally not successful for long-term health or weight loss. Many of these programs are not backed by scientific evidence and can be dangerous to health. These programs are generally best followed while under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

If your goal is weight loss, consider making an appointment with a registered dietitian and a personal trainer to put together a plan for sustained, healthy weight loss combined with regular exercise.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition. December 2020.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health andHuman Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025. Published December 2020.

  3. National Institutes of Health. “Detoxes” and “cleanses”: What you need to know. Updated September 28, 2020.

  4. Benton D, Young HA. Reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weightPerspect Psychol Sci. 2017;12(5):703-714. doi:10.1177/1745691617690878