Will a Colon Cleanse Help Weight Loss?


I am seeing so many ads for Acai Berry Colon Cleanse to help with weight loss and increased energy. I want to know the truth about this product. All of the testimony sounds convincing, but I assume it is all written by the company selling it. Is it a scam or is it really healthy and good for you? Do you know anything about it?

I am looking to lose 40 pounds and would like help getting started, with the first 5-10 pounds being a more rapid loss. I recently bought a good quality elliptical and loved on how to maximize my workout.

As with any product, the advice should always be “buyer beware”. At the risk of sounding cliche, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t know much about the specific product you’re talking about; an internet search brought up several different products, none of which seemed overly legit to me. And, as you may have heard, some of these companies have recently been sued by Oprah and Dr. Oz for claiming they endorsed the products when they haven’t (I notice quite a few mention Rachel Ray, too, although I doubt she’s actually given an endorsement either).

To me it sounds like these companies are taking two buzz words, “acai berry” and “colon cleanse”, and putting them together to sell products. Yes, acai berries are good for you, but the reason for this isn’t directly related to the colon or weight loss. Acai berries are valued because they are very high in antioxidant nutrients, meaning they are full of free-radical scavengers, preventing free radical damage to cells. Free radical damage can cause inflammation, which may lead to weight gain, but this isn’t likely to be the root cause of the weight issue. I’ve never come across any evidence to suggest that consuming acai berries leads directly to weight loss.

And yes, colon cleansing is a good idea, particularly correcting the good bacteria to bad bacteria ratio in the digestive tract. But again, there is no guarantee that this will lead to weight loss. Cleansing is something that is undertaken for the purpose of correcting unhealthy imbalances and allowing the body to heal itself. It is part of an overall process that, taken by itself, may or may not bear results. If you’re overweight then weight loss may be a nice side effect to bringing your system back into balance, but this isn’t something undertaken in a weekend – we’re really talking about a lifestyle change.

In my opinion, a cleanse has more to do with what you’re eating and eliminating from your diet than it does with what supplements you’re taking. This is why I’m not generally a fan of the “cleanse in a box” idea. This isn’t to say that there aren’t good products out there and that supplementation isn’t necessary, I just think that the focus is in the wrong place. How can one expect to cleanse anything if they’re still exposing themselves to the same stuff that made them “dirty” in the first place?

You don’t necessarily need someone holding your hand through the whole process, but getting some advice from a holistic practitioner is recommended. And consider reading some books on the subject. Buying a “cleanse” from a health food store on a whim in order to lose weight is, I think, misguided. You really need to have the guidance of someone who knows what cleansing is for, how it works and what you can hope to accomplish with it. I recommend Dr. Mark Hyman’s books or those by Donna Gates or Sherry Rogers (there are many other books too, these are just the ones I tend to like). Going in to the process with knowledge instead of blind hopes is not only safer, it’s likely to make the process more effective.

In my experience, there is no miracle product. Yes, cleansing is a good idea and is in fact a necessary step down the road to true health. But if you’re going to do a cleanse find out all you can on the subject first. Try to avoid going for products advertised on the internet making promises that sound too good to be true. A cleanse is a process, not a magic pill.

The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.

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