Is the Isagenix Diet an Effective Way to Lose Weight?

The pros and cons of shake-based nutrition

Losing weight can be frustrating and a struggle. When results don’t happen fast enough, it causes many people to consider using diet products to speed up the process. At the same time, there is hesitancy and concern about the effectiveness and safety of taking weight loss supplements.

Being hesitant about taking supplements is good because it causes you to think. It motivates you to care about your health and learn more about a product before using it.

Isagenix is one of many weight loss products on the market. The creators claim to offer science-backed supplements that work. They make incredible health claims that sound good, but are they true? 

Before taking Isagenix, it will be important to learn if it’s really effective and safe for weight loss or just another expensive fad diet.

What Is the Isagenix Diet?

The Isagenix Diet is a supplement plan that promotes weight loss. The program includes cleanses, shakes, bars, and pills that claim to naturally detoxify and help you burn fat.

The Isagenix program was founded in 2002 and is a multi-level marketing company. This means the company offers money to consumers to sell their products and once you become a distributor, you recruit additional salespeople to make a profit. You also make money through direct sales to customers. In other words, the company is based on a pyramid selling strategy.

According to the Isagenix website, their vision is to impact world health and free people from physical and financial pain. Evidently, taking their supplements can make you healthy and selling their products can make you rich. 

The Isagenix 30-Day System is one of the primary products promoted on their website. It’s marketed as a cleansing and fat-burning starter program that can be used long-term for healthy weight loss. The cost is not cheap and retails for about $379 dollars per month.

How Does It Work?

Isagenix offers a variety of supplement programs based on specific goals. Some of their plans include supplements for performance, healthy aging, and personal care. Weight Wellness is considered their primary program for weight loss.

The 30-Day Isagenix System is marketed as a long-term flexible weight loss program. This appears to be the most popular among the seven different options available. The program consists of shake days along with two cleanse days per week. 

The program works by replacing two meals per day with an Isagenix shake (240–280 calories). Your third meal would include a healthy meal between 400 and 600 calories. This equates to only 1,160 calories daily and considered a very low-calorie diet.

Cleanse days are recommended one or two times weekly. Instead of using shakes or eating a meal, you consume four small servings of Isagenix Cleanse for Life drink. You are also allowed to eat a tiny amount of suggested fruits and Isagenix-approved snacks.

The cleanse days are meant to flush your body of toxins and considered a form of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between eating and fasting (not eating).

The program also includes taking supplements said to help with cleansing and weight loss. These include an Isagenix fat burner capsule called a Natural Accelerator and Isaflush laxative capsule used for cleansing.

According to the 30-Day System, you will experience consistent weight loss, satisfy unhealthy food cravings, and improved muscle tone. Isagenix claims to provide healthy weight loss and support the body’s natural detoxification system. However, this claim or any of their product claims have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Isagenix Products and Ingredients

Isagenix offers many products, with the 30-Day System being the most popular. The supplement bundle contains shakes, cleanses, snacks, fat burners, and other items that claim to help you achieve and maintain weight loss results. 

The following is a list of products and ingredients included with the 30-Day System:

  • Isalean Shakes: Meal replacement drink containing a blend of whey and casein (milk) protein. It also includes vitamins, minerals, sugar, and other additives. Each shake is approximately 240 calories per serving, 23 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat, and 16 grams of sugar.
  • Cleanse For Life Drink: A blend of aloe vera, herbs, some B vitamins, and sugar promoted as a fundamental component during cleanse days. The drink claims to support detoxification, metabolism, and immune systems. 
  • Ionix Supreme: A liquid blend of herbs, vitamins, and sugars marketed as a tonic with Adaptogens for improved energy, stamina, and mental performance.
  • Isagenix Snacks: Small chewable wafers that contain sugar, a protein blend, electrolytes, and other ingredients. 
  • IsaFlush: Capsules containing magnesium as a laxative and primary active ingredient along with an herbal and mineral blend. The product claims to balance your digestive system and improve nutrient absorption. 
  • Natural Accelerator: Fat burning capsules containing green tea as the primary active ingredient. The blend of vitamins and herbs claims to boost metabolism for improved fat burning.
  • AMPED Hydrate Sticks: Vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and sugar in powder form ready to mix in water. It’s advertised as a sports drink to stay hydrated and refreshed during your workout.

Is It Effective for Weight Loss?

Isagenix can help you lose weight but not in a healthy way, according to nutrition experts. The program restricts calories so you are eating next to nothing and instead consuming portion-controlled shakes and snacks. You’re not learning how to eat a balanced diet containing real food for sustainable weight loss.

Any restrictive diet will cause weight loss because you’re creating a caloric deficit. It doesn’t matter if the calories are coming from whole foods or meal replacement shakes. If you don’t eat enough, you will lose weight, period.

Your body requires a certain amount of calories for healthy weight loss. On average, a female should consume about 1,500 calories daily to lose one pound per week. It’s recommended the average male consume about 2,000 calories daily for the same result.

The Isagenix 30-Day System falls way below the average daily recommended calories for healthy weight loss. Shake days can range between 1,160 to 1,500 calories and only a few hundred calories on cleanse days.

Isagenix does use caloric restriction and intermittent fasting shown to promote weight loss, but the methods and products remain questionable. 

Is Isagenix Sustainable?

Restrictive diets like Isagenix are just not sustainable according to nutrition experts.

Because the program is very restrictive, it falls into the category of a fad diet. Fad diets by definition are diets characterized by highly restrictive or unusual food choices. They also make weight loss and other health claims without sufficient evidence to support their promises.

The Isagenix program restricts calories and limits necessary fuel to your body. It can leave you feeling hungry and potentially nutrient deficient.

Restricting too many calories can also work against you. Your body recognizes the need for calories or energy to run efficiently. Without sufficient calories, the body shifts into survival mode by slowing metabolism to preserve fat stores to be used as energy in the future. This eventually leads to the inability to lose weight, frustration, and yo-yo dieting.

Restrictive diets like the Isagenix program set people up for failure because you’re not eating real food. Instead, you are consuming diet shakes and supplements as your main nutrition. This is not realistic or sustainable long-term. Studies show that approximately 95 percent of dieters regain their weight plus more from diets like Isagenix.

The Isagenix diet doesn’t teach lasting change. In other words, it doesn’t help you develop healthy eating strategies that are sustainable. The best and proven method for healthy weight loss is eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich whole foods. 

Pros and Cons

Isagenix does offer a structured program that limits calories and provides portion control. This could be considered a plus for those who struggle with overeating and portion sizes.

The convenience of pre-packaged food products delivered to your doorstep is another allure for dieters using Isagenix. Having meals ready to go saves time and accommodates busy lifestyles.

One of the cons of the Isagenix diet is it not being real food. The products are highly processed, containing lots of sugar and additives.

The Isagenix diet attempts to make up for a lack of real food nutrients in their weight loss program by loading their products with herbal blends, vitamins, and minerals. According to nutrition experts, there is no replacement for nutrients that come from consuming whole foods.

The 30-Day System doesn’t teach you how to eat real food as a healthy lifestyle. Once you have completed the diet, you are left without nutrition education for sustainable weight loss.

Isagenix also uses a multi-level marketing or pyramid sales strategy where the distributors not only sell the products but provide nutritional counseling. The problem is most of these associates offering support and advice lack nutrition and/or medical education.

Also, get ready to fork over lots of cash because the 30-Day Diet System is very expensive.

Pros

  • Limits calories and provides portion control

  • Convenience of pre-packaged food

  • Saves time and accommodates busy lifestyles

  • Variety of supplement programs 

Cons

  • Highly processed, containing lots of sugar and additives

  • Not a replacement for nutrients from whole foods

  • Doesn’t teach how to eat real food as a healthy lifestyle

  • Very expensive

Biased Research

Isagenix makes scientific claims that their product is an effective and healthy way to lose weight. The program also claims to flush out toxins, support whole body cleansing, and eliminate fat. Their website also includes a disclaimer stating these claims are not evaluated or supported by the FDA.

Research has been conducted on calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, but Isagenix proudly makes reference only to select studies that support their products and weight loss philosophy. They refrain from telling you Isagenix has funded the research or that some of their affiliates are part of the research panel.

A study published in the Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology examined how a low-calorie intermittent fasting diet affects toxins in the body after weight loss. Participants included 43 obese men and women following a restrictive diet combined with intermittent fasting for 10 weeks. Results suggested the diet significantly improved antioxidant status and body composition. This study was funded by Isagenix International, LLC.

Other published research examined caloric restriction and intermittent fasting effective for weight loss. The study participants included 54 obese women split into two groups. One group consumed a liquid diet (Isagenix) and the other a healthy food-based diet. Cleanse days, caloric restriction, and pre-portioned meals were provided to the liquid diet group but not the food-based group.

The study concluded that the liquid diet (Isagenix) group experienced greater weight loss than the food-based diet group over an 8-week period.

Reasons to Be Skeptical of the Research

  • The research was funded by Isagenix International, LLC.
  • One of the researchers has a consulting relationship with the sponsor of the research, lsagenix, LLC.
  • The healthy food-based diet group did not receive the same calorie-restricted, pre-portioned meals as the liquid diet (Isagenix) group.
  • In order to be fair and gather accurate results, the study design should have included the same amount of calories for both the liquid diet (Isagenix) and healthy food-based diet groups.

Regardless of Isagenix using intermittent fasting and calorie restriction as part of their weight loss plan, the program itself lacks sufficient research to support their claims.

Should I Take It?

Taking Isagenix or any weight loss supplement is a personal choice, but there are a few things to consider. 

All supplements, including Isagenix diet products, are not regulated by the FDA. This means there is no guarantee of the purity, safety, and effectiveness of the product.

Diet systems like Isagenix restrict calories and use supplements as your main nutrition source. This is not realistic or sustainable. You are not learning healthy eating habits if you are relying on shakes and processed snacks to sustain you.

A better and proven method for healthy weight loss is eating a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of whole foods. Consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods allows you to build life-long healthy eating habits and experience sustainable weight loss.

It’s also recommended to talk with your physician before taking Isagenix to make sure this is the right choice for you.

A Word From Verywell

The Isagenix weight loss system is a popular diet that restricts calories and uses supplements to sustain you. Studies show restrictive or fad diets like Isagenix don’t work and aren’t the best choice for healthy weight loss. Weight is initially lost and quickly, but is regained plus more in 95 percent of dieters.

Isagenix products can’t take the place of nutrients from real food, nor does the program teach lasting change. The best and proven method for weight loss is building life-long healthy eating habits by consuming a variety of nutrient-rich whole foods.

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