Thinking about trying Isagenix? Read my unbiased review of Isagenix, where I take a close look at the 30-day Isagenix Cleanse, its ingredients, and learn whether it’s a healthy, sustainable way to lose weight or just another fad diet.
As a Nutritionist, I get so many questions about Isagenix - Is Isagenix healthy? Is having a cleanse day good for you? Are meal replacement shakes healthy? So, I decided to review the Isagenix 30 Day Weight Loss System in detail, and share my take on whether the system and products are healthy or not.
My intention behind this review is to empower you make the right choices for your health. I want to encourage you to be an ingredient detective. This means questioning everything, reading labels and Googling anything you don’t understand so that you have all the information you need to determine whether a product is right for you or not.
If you’re thinking about trying Isagenix, read this blog post first and make an empowered decision.
Isagenix is a network marketing company - and I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with network marketing. The problem is that these companies are marketing their shake or supplement as something you need every day, which just isn’t true. And we’re all so different -- no one food, supplement or dietary plan is going to be right for everyone.
The other issue with network marketing companies in the health space is that there are a lot of people out there without any relevant qualifications giving nutrition and health advice, without any really understanding of nutrition or the human body, which in my eyes is just not really responsible.
Plus, people seem to have blind faith in these companies -- so while one product from a certain company may actually be ok in terms of its quality and ingredients, other products may actually contain much more nasty ingredients. So we can’t just take their word for it, we always want to check what’s in each individual product before using it.
I’ve also had friends in similar programs who’ve told me that they were heavily encouraged to take before and after photos, because this is what SELLS the products! This promotes an unhealthy obsession with body image and weight loss, and in my eyes that’s a potentially harmful message, which doesn’t encourage people to focus on how they feel and put their health first.
Isagenix 30 Day System
Ok, so let’s move onto the product now. So I had a look on the Isagenix website and came across their 30-day weight loss system, which I’m going to run through with you now.
For an entire month, you’re replacing 2 meals with a meal replacement shake -- these meal replacement shakes contain around 240 calories. So, you’re only having one meal per day for an entire month. The meal, shakes and supplements equate to between 1200 and 1500 calories a day - which is actually more in line with the energy needs of an infant. This is just not enough to fuel the energy needs of a full-grown adult.
And then every Sunday during this 30 days, you have a “Cleanse Day” and restrict your calories even more to just a few hundred calories and consume only Isagenix products all day long.
Fasting can be incredible when done the right way. But the best things to consume during a fast are broth, filtered water and high quality supplements. I also think it’s also really important to do any sort of cleansing or fasting under the supervision of a practitioner.
So, the marketing for this Isagenix cleanse claims you’ll lose weight, satisfy cravings and improve muscle tone.
Yeah, you’re probably going to lose weight initially, because you’re pretty much starving yourself.
Plus, if you’re restricting calories to this extent, your muscle is more likely to be wasting away than “getting toned”.
But the problem here isn’t just about the severe calorie restriction -- you’re swapping out two meals a day for a shake, and this shake contains some pretty crappy ingredients.
The meal replacement shake is the IsaLean Shake. Before I go into detail on the ingredients in this product, I want to start by saying I really really dislike meal replacement shakes.
They’re just another quick fix. Meal replacement shakes might help you lose weight in the short term, but you never actually learn how to cook or make healthy choices if you’re swapping out meals for shakes. As soon as the 30-day cleanse is done, the weight is probably going to pile straight back on. If you want a lasting transformation in your weight and health, it’s really important that you learn to prepare healthy food, and learn how to make healthy food choices on a daily basis.
Now I’m going to run through the ingredients in the IsaLean shake. I’m only going to pick out some key ingredients here to be aware of, there are SO MANY that I just can’t go into that much detail on all of them!
Ok, so -- the actual protein part of this shake is made up of whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate and low-heat nonfat milk powder.
These are all made from dairy, and dairy can be inflammatory for a lot of people. Especially when it’s highly processed. The quality of dairy is so important - so if you want to consume dairy, organic and full fat is always best -- and the ingredients in this shake are not organic or full fat.
The milk protein concentrate and low-heat nonfat milk powder, which are some of the main ingredients in this shake, are basically milk that has been highly processed to remove the fat. A peer-reviewed scientific journal article in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition explained the processing methods of milk protein concentrate as heat treatment, high-pressure application, microwave heating, ultrasound application, and enzyme and salts modification. And the processing probably looks pretty similar for the nonfat milk powder, minus the heat treatment. Highly processed dairy is really not something we want to be flooding our bodies with every day.
(Please note: There is a dairy-free IsaLean shake, however many of the other ingredients are similar to those outlined in this blog post.)
The next two ingredients, isomaltooligosaccharides, and fructose, are sweeteners. There are a few other sweeteners in here too, including maltodextrin, apple juice powder and stevia. So one serve of the shake contains 11g of sugar, or almost 3 teaspoons of sugar. And if you have a few of these shakes a day, plus the other supplements which form part of the 30 Day System, this actually adds up to quite a lot of sugar. And if you’re going to eat sugar, I’d much prefer that it came from something you really enjoy, like fruit or even a quality dark chocolate.
The next ingredient I want to chat about is sunflower oil, which sounds kinda healthy, right?! Well, unfortunately, it’s not. If it was cold pressed and organic, it’d probably be ok -- but in this case, conventional sunflower oil is highly processed and can be really inflammatory on the body.
Because you’re having shakes instead of food, the shakes have been fortified with vitamins and minerals. This again sounds like it should be a good thing, but there’s a huge difference between quality supplements that are easily absorbed and used by the body, compared to synthetic supplements that may do more harm than good.
Folate is a great example here. Folate is really important for our health, but this shake actually contains folic acid, which is synthetic and not used by the body in the same way as natural forms of folate. Excessive intake of folic acid has actually been associated with the development of cancer.
Instead, we can get folate from dietary sources like lentils, asparagus and spinach, or choose a supplement with the active form of folate, known as “5-methyltetrahydrofolate” or “5-MTHF” on the label. We really want to avoid any products that say “folic acid” on the label.
Ok so I’ve only gone into detail on one product here, and there are 8 products which form part of the Isagenix Weight Loss Program.
But I’ve had a look at the other products too, and they contain many similar ingredients. The IsaFlush is just a magnesium supplement, which for some reason contains maltodextrin, a sweetener, which seems a little unnecessary.
The first ingredient in the AMPED Hydrate electrolytes is sugar, and there are more synthetic vitamins in there.
So, you may not be a nutritionist, but you now have the power to do your own research, and make empowered choices that are right for your health, and that will give you results in the long term.
If you want to lose weight the right way, eat more real, nutrient dense foods. Learn to prepare your own healthy food, and set aside time for meal prep each week to make it actually happen.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything, and still can’t lose weight, then it’s really important to identify the root cause of what’s really going on for you -- only then, will you get the results you’re after.
Did you find this helpful? Would love you to share your thoughts in the comments. If you’d like to lose weight the sustainable, by learning to eat real food and getting to the root cause of your symptoms, head here to book your free Functional Nutrition Strategy Session.