Over the past few years, I have had friends/family/clients, approach me about the Isagenix 30 day weight loss program. As an RD I think it is important to educate others about different diet fads so that they are properly informed. I can only provide what the research supports to date, but as this diet has picked up in popularity, I only find it necessary to break it down for you and in my opinion I have mixed reviews on it.
The Isagenix products contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function properly. The system is equipped with bars, snacks, supplements, and protein powders for their shakes. It may help you lose weight yes. It may be a great way jumpstart weight loss but is a quick fix. It does not teach you anything about nutrition! I do like the isalean shake as it has protein and is just a protein powder supplement and we know how great protein is at sparing muscles and keeping our metabolism revved. New research suggests that we should shoot for at least 20g of protein at each meal for satiety and weight management (Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp- Plantenga M).
On the contrary these products lack natural vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables and you also get no fiber unless you opt for their fiber snacks (but of course you have to pay extra for that). Most Isagenix packs cost between $250-500 for 30 days, when you could be spending those dollars on real food (http://www.ewg.org/goodfood/index.php). In terms of fiber though, You need 25-30 grams of fiber a day at least, so you may find yourself severely lacking in fiber with these products. I also worry about the high vitamin and mineral content of these products. The Ionix that comes in the 30-day pack has 2000% of your b12! Yes b12 is water soluble but if you continually take megadoses of vitamins you can end up with some serious side effects that you should be aware of. If you’re routinely taking megadoses, for instance, too much Vitamins C or zinc could cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Too much selenium could lead to problems including hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. The biggest and first side effects though will be brain fog, nausea, and diarrhea so be aware of these if you do decide to purchase isagenix.
Additionally, looking at their snacks I noticed that their IsaLEAN bars are somehow supposed to make you lean with 16 grams of added sugars! There’s a solid body of evidence that links excessive sugar consumption to heart disease and other ailments, such as type 2 diabetes. A study recently published in Jama Internal Medicine found that excessive added sugar, more than 20-25grams for females or 6 teaspoons, and 35-40 grams for males (9 teaspoons), led to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Please understand we are not talking about naturally occurring sugar we find in dairy and fruit, but sugar that has been added to foods and beverages, like it has in this Isalean product.
And if that’s not enough bad news already, you will also be severely lacking in Omega 3’s, which are omitted from their shakes as well or at least lacking sufficiently. If you want to obtain these, you will have to purchase ,for an additional cost, their IsaCrunch product or be sure to consume plenty of nuts, avocados, olive oil, salmon, etc that contain heart healthy fats.
So basically, if you want a well-rounded diet you will have to purchase most, if not all of their products (that contain a plethora of ingredients I never want to put into my body), for a hefty price, so I really hope you have a thick wallet if you decide to jump on the Isagenix bandwagon.
Positives: You dont have to schedule meals or plan, you can simply drink the shakes. Super easy and convenient.
Downside: No guarentee on taste, may get sick of this real quick, doesn’t teach the knowledge behind making healthy choices when cooking and eating out, is essentially a processed product, may not fill you up.
Great to jumpstart- but I always recommend real food and obtaining the knowledge necessary to make a lifestyle change.
Quanhe, Yang et al. “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults”. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 03, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563
Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp- Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87: 558S-61S.