felicitycurtain

An informed view of all things food

Isagenix – the way I see it.

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The hot topic of water coolers worldwide, Isagenix has been garnering a great deal of interest since its establishment in 2002.

Isagenix is a US-based company marketing dietary and weight-loss supplements. They draw a yearly revenue in excess of $300 million, and employ over 200,000 sales representatives. Their advertising is heavy on testimonials, and they advocate ‘cleansing’ alongside their line of shakes, bars and snacks.

Being an innate sceptic, I’m wary of any company selling food replacements for big bucks. Particularly when they use what I think of as ‘nothing’ descriptors, like nutritional cleansing, cellular replenishing, and youthful ageing – what do any of those actually mean!?

But of course, you can’t judge a book by its cover, so I delved into the world of Isagenix to find out the facts. The way I see it there are just a few flaws…

  1. Isagenix is what’s known as a multilevel marketing company – similar to Herbalife, a company that I’ve had my own negative experience with. This means that those distributing the products are nothing more than salespeople, often ones who have often been coaxed into the position to make a little extra money on the side from their day job. Nothing too wrong with that, except that they’re totally unqualified to be providing what’s essentially health advice – and they only make money on successful sales, giving them a vested interest in pushing the products on consumers.
  2. The products are marketed on the basis of shoddy evidence, all of which is drawn from self-funded, inconclusive and very short-term studies.

    Take this study for example, which examined weight loss in obese middle-aged women, by using a one-day-a-week intermittent fasting program. On these days, one group consumed an Isagenix shake, while the other group consumed the same number of kilojoules, but made up of normal food. Though there was initial advice given from dietitians, the remaining meal choice was up to the participants, and food intake was self reported.

    The results were positive for the Isagenix group, as they ended up losing an extra kilo compared to the control group, though it has to be pointed out that the Isagenix group actually consumed around 250 calories (~1000kj) less than the control group, accounting for the extra weight loss. There’s also a pretty big question mark around the idea that intermittent fasting was part of the research, considering it has absolutely nothing to do with Isagenix!

  3. Our bodies do not need to be cleansed. Contrary to the pseudoscience and scaremongering Isagenix employ, our internal organs will not “become clogged and deteriorate” if we don’t detox! Isagenix liken the human body to an air conditioner that needs its filter changed (via a cleanse, of course), but as I’ve explained before, our liver, skin, kidneys, intestines and lymphatic system all work to detox our bodies daily, and they do a great job of it.
  4. Isagenix is expensive. Purchasing a ‘suite’ of their products could set you back upwards of $500 for a months supply, and the trick is that you’ll have to keep paying for it to keep losing, or to maintain your weight loss. If something only works while you keep paying, is it worth it?
  5. The weight loss is circumstantial. As Isagenix involves replacing a number of meals with their own low kilojoule shakes, it’s unsurprising that weight loss follows. No miracles here, simply calorie restriction.
  6. What’s even in these products? According to Dr Harriet Hall, a self-confessed sceptic with a particular interest in debunking alternatives medicines, Isagenix have thrown in just about every nutrient and herbal supplement they could get their hands onto. Over 240 ingredients feature in Isagenix products, some of which are useless, some of which are potentially harmful – and as a mixture, there’s no way of knowing how they may interact.
  7. The products have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Australian government body in charge of regulating medicinal products. What this means is that the products are unverified for safety, yet freely available to anybody.

So, that’s how I see it. Sadly, the speedy weight loss, alongside (in my opinion) a combination of placebo effect and perhaps a boost in previously deficient micronutrients, are enough to have followers singing its praises.

Results from the Australian Health Survey this year revealed that on average, less than 7% of us reach the recommended 5 serves of vegies a day, yet so many of us are willing to fork out hard earned money on short-term fixes like Isagenix. So please, save your cash and run a mile if faced with nothing descriptors, like ‘nutritional cleansing.’

 

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11 replies

  1. Love this post Felicity!

    I know someone who’s recently started this (despite what I’ve said to them about it) so I’d love for them to have a read of this

  2. I love this article Felicity.
    I’m definitely a Isagenix skeptic and even more so after reading this! Thank you!
    It’s baffles me that people will fork out so much money for a “quick fix” solution when they could simply (and cheaply) just switch to eating more whole food and less processed crap!

  3. Can I ask you how long have you been in the health industry trying to help people? I have been doing this for over 34 years now, and I am sorry to tell you this, if you think for just one moment that fat lazy people will suddenly start eating healthy and exercising regular, then you will be sorely disappointed. The reason they are fat and lazy is because they can’t be arced looking after themselves…. Ask most to spend any time or money on their health, they won’t… tell them to educate themselves on industrial farming, chemicals in food, chemicals in water etc. they won’t, and they can’t be bothered… So when something like Isagenix comes along and its easy and it gives them more energy and its better than they were doing, why the hell would you stand on your podium telling them THERE ARE NO QUICK FIX SOLUTIONS you have to want to do…. I’ll see if your still singing from the same hymn sheet in 10 years…. I just had a 22 year kid get told by his Doctor that he needs lap band surgery because he’s 30kg overweight, that’s his Doctor a qualified GP telling him this. What he needs to do is eat good healthy balanced meals and excise regulary. But he won’t, because he is too lazy…
    However he will make a shake twice a day and cleanse, A huge improvement on what he is currently doing. So please don’t try and tell me or others that Isagenix is bad….
    Also NO ONE from ISAGENIX gives dietary advice, I don’t even though I am qualified to do so. If people ask me what to do for their meals I will offer advice… And it will only be Organic products all fresh… so when they see the time and money needed for that, then ISAGENIX suddenly looks appealing…. A huge improvement on their prepackage processed crap that they have been eating for the last 20 years…
    And to say that people do not need to Detox, OMG where the hell are you living….. Do you honestly think that our bodies were designed to cope with the man made chemicals that we are putting into our bodies everyday…All the Insecticides, Pesticides, Herbicides, Cleaning Chemicals, Heavy Metals, Colorings, additives, yea etc etc… You need to spend a lot more time at the sharp end dealing with type 2 diabetes… Then you might appreciate what companies like ISAGENIX are trying to do…
    Do you get offended because the shop you buy your produce from makes money??? Do you get offended because his landlord is making money??? Do you get offended because his electricity company is making money??? Do you get offended because the company that fitted out his shop made money???? NO? then why do you get offended because someone who is using the product, likes the product and then recommends the product, Isn’t it better that your friends are making money from your purchase than some multinational who’s CEO is on 4 million a year, does he upset you as much, as a few people earning a couple of hundred dollars or more each week…
    Sorry RANT over…
    I just get very upset when people in the HEALTH INDUSTRY knock anything that is working and more importantly HELPING, it may not be perfect but it’s a damm sight better than what they were doing… I lost my Mother at 48 to type 2 Diabetes related illness, my father dies at 52 to type diabetes… I did my first Physical Training Course in 1976 and my first Dietician course in 1979… (Smoking was considered cool back then, and it wasn’t bad for you) So if I can save just one person from what my parents went though I will… I have helped Hundreds over the last 30 plus years, and to be perfectly honest with you the results that I am getting from ISAGENIX have been nothing short of spectacular, once people start to feel better and they see light at the end of the tunnel, they automatically start eating healthier, they start buying organic vegetables, fresh meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruit etc. I found with most ISAGENIX is a stepping stone to a healthy lifestyle, and if it wasn’t there they would have never made the switch over from the dark side… Anyway good luck to, but please don’t knock anyone that is trying to make improvements in their lives, its hard enough for them…
    Kind Regards
    Andy

    • Andy,
      Do I smell a troll?
      GTFO. How dare you. Even if you have a different opinion what gives you the right to talk to someone like that?
      Dieticians are trained not to fat shame and understand that obesity is a complex issue. Maybe you would like to read some of felicity’s other articles?
      Maybe your “dietician” course didn’t cover professionalism?

      Felicity, I’m sorry that someone feels the need to respond to your (awesome) article in this manner. It just proves your point though!

      Kind regards

  4. Andy – where did you do your dietitian course?

  5. Andy,
    I am genuinely sorry to hear that you lost both of your parents so young, but take this as your opportunity to honour them by caring for the health and well-being of those dear to you and encourage them to eat fresh organic non-GMO foods, to drink adequate pure water daily to flush the toxins from the body, and to stop wasting their money on the ISAGENIX garbage.
    If you were aware of just one-tenth of what I uncovered whilst a naive Distributor I doubt you would be able put the rubbish down your own throat again without puking at the very thought of how you have been scammed by the well-oiled marketers.
    Kind regards,
    Sue A.

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