Isagenix Fraud: A Follow-Up by Dr. Hall

In a follow-up to her original article about whether Isagenix is a scam, Harriet Hall, M.D. prints some of the criticism she got and her responses. This article was originally published at the Skeptical Inquirer website.

Defending Isagenix: A Case Study in Flawed Thinking
Volume 35.1, January/February 2011

Do those who comment on blogs even read the articles they are responding to? Here is a case study in emotional thinking, ad hominem arguments, logical fallacies, irrationality, and misinformation.

The Internet is a wonderful medium for communicating ideas and information in a rapid, interactive way. Many online articles are followed by a section for comments. Like so many things in this imperfect world, comments are a mixed blessing. They can enhance the article by correcting errors, adding further information, or contributing useful thoughts to a productive discussion. But all too often the comments section consists of emotional outbursts, unwarranted personal attacks on the author, logical fallacies, and misinformation. It provides irrational and ignorant people with a soapbox from which to promote prejudices and false information.

To illustrate, let’s look at some responses to a piece I wrote about a weight-loss product called Isagenix, which is sold through a multilevel marketing (MLM) scheme. To quote its website verbatim, “The Isagenix cleanse is unique because it not only removes impurities at the cellular level, it builds the body up with incredible nutrition. Besides detoxing the body, Isagenix teaches people a wonderful lesson that they don’t need to eat as much as they are accustom [sic] to and eating healthy choices are really important and also a lot of the food we are eating is nutritionally bankrupt.”

I didn’t set out to write this article. It started when I received an e-mail inquiry about Isagenix. I posted my answer on a discussion list, and it was picked up and published at http://healthfraudoz.blogspot.com/2006/11/critique-of-isagenix.html. Sandy Szwarc, author of a blog titled Junkfood Science, approved of it and kindly reposted it (see http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2006/11/can-you-really-cleanse-your-way-to.html.)

As I write, the comments on the healthfraudoz website have reached a total of 176. A few commenters approved of what I wrote, but the majority tried to defend Isagenix. Their defense was irrational, incompetent, and sometimes amusing.

It was as if no one had actually read what I wrote. No one bothered to address any of my specific criticisms. No one even tried to defend Isagenix’s false claims that toxicity accounts for most disease, that the body protects itself from toxins by coating them with fat, and that internal organs become clogged and deteriorate if you don’t cleanse. No one offered any evidence that “detoxification” improves human health. No one tried to identify any of the alleged toxins or show that they are actually removed. No one tried to provide any rationale for the particular combination of ingredients (all 242 of them!) in Isagenix products. No one questioned my assertion that “no caffeine added” is inaccurate labeling because green tea, which is added, contains caffeine. No one commented when I observed that the amount of vitamin A in these products is dangerous and goes against the recommendations of the Medical Letter. No one offered any evidence that more weight is lost by adding Isagenix to a low-calorie diet and exercise. I offered some alternative explanations that might account for people believing that Isagenix is effective when it isn’t; no one commented on that.

The medical advisor on the Isagenix website argued that at five dollars per day, Isagenix is less expensive than open-heart surgery. I pointed out that this is a laughable false dichotomy: good health is not a matter of choosing between open-heart surgery and diet supplements. No one commented on that. Instead of rational responses, we got:

Testimonials

The greatest number of comments were testimonials: “I took it and I lost weight.” People claimed not just weight loss but a variety of improvements. Isagenix allegedly cured fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and hemorrhoids. It facilitated getting off sleeping pills and caffeine, balanced brain chemistry (what does that mean?), improved focus and mental clarity, allowed running longer marathons with less fatigue, saved a failing marriage, stopped irritability and crankiness, and kept an arm from getting sore after pitching.

“Made my son interact appropriately with peers, take care of himself, and want to be hugged and kissed,” claimed one.

“I made money selling it,” said another.

One person wrote, “My out-of-control Irritable Bowel Syndrome disappeared and I had the healthiest BM in about 6 years!… You can’t brainwash POO!!”

Two people commented that the Isagenix program provides motivation; one said he needs “structer” (structure?) to stay on a diet.

The plural of anecdote is not data. Two commenters appropriately objected to all this testimonial evidence. They pointed out that testimonials are unreliable and subject to post hoc ergo propter hoc error, that all the “it works for me” comments can be attributed to a low-calorie diet and exercise, and that the testimonials are almost exclusively from people who are selling the product.

Anti-Testimonials

Quite a few commenters reported that they had tried Isagenix and it either didn’t work or caused side effects, such as five days of violent diarrhea. One reported gaining a lot of weight while taking it; many reported losing weight just as well without it. Several reported credit-card disputes with the company and failure to get their money refunded. One reported that his parents are using Isagenix and it seems to be slowly killing them: they have decreased energy, declining health, mood swings, and poorer control of diabetes.

Rebuttals to Negative Testimonials

Supposedly the people Isagenix hasn’t helped haven’t been following the program correctly. Apparent bad reactions are just signs that it is working: “When one is cleansing out years of accumulation of toxins, chemicals, jet fuel, gasoline, arsenic, heavy metals, radiation poisoning-one will have reactions.”

‘Evidence’ That It Works

One commenter heard a doctor speak who cited all kinds of studies to support the theory behind Isagenix-that Isagenix cleansing can supposedly solve the problems of environmental toxicity, depletion of nutrients in the food supply, gastrointestinal malabsorption, and our incessant food cravings.

Here are some of the other commenters’ opinions, a few of which I’ve replied to in brackets.

A former Hare Krishna was impressed by the array of nutrients in the products and believed that the doctor on the website had integrity and cared about her patients.

Several people claimed that we need nutritional supplements because the ground has been depleted of nutrients.

“There have been many valid scientific research [sic] to back the claims of Isagenix.” [I couldn’t find any, and they provided no clues as to where to look.]

Others claimed that because lots of MDs are recommending Isagenix it must work; these MDs can’t all be quacks. [Apparently they can. Lots of MDs recommend homeopathy, and some of them believe in astrology.]

Some commenters pointed out that Isagenix has paid for independent studies. [Where are they? What did they show? If Isagenix was paying, were they truly independent?]

Mainstream physicians are starting to realize cleansing is important, other commenters claimed. [Not any of the ones who practice science-based medicine.]

One commenter proposed that cleansing makes sense because one of the main ingredients of pesticides and insecticides is estrogen. It makes women fat and casues erectile dysfunction in men. Toxicity is a bigger cause of obesity than most people realize.

Another commenter insisted that because these products are “designed and formulated by professionals and advocated by professionals,” they must work.

One MD commenter claimed, “I have the before and after pictures and the lab tests to prove it.”

Pseudoscientific claims peppered many comments, such as this one: “Most people only absorb 8% to 12% of what we eat-the rest is waste which we flush down the toilet. With Isagenix we can absorb up to 94% of what is ingested with less waste going down the toilet. Isagenix is full of good probiotics which help rebuild our digestive systems, fights candida. Isagenix also helps the body become alkaline, which is a healthy body. John Hopkins 2008 Cancer Report stated that cancer cannot live in an alkaline body only acidic bodies. Processed food makes our bodies acidic-thus the epedemic [sic] of cancer and diabites [sic] in the USA along with heart disease.” [This is all nonsense.]

Isagenix is food, many commenters insisted. Regular food is from depleted soils. Organic food made children behave better at lunch in a school study. Genetically modified food is lacking in nutrition. “The majority of people fill their stomachs with foods void of natural nutrition and the evidence supports that they behave poorly, learn less, misbehave more and commit more crimes than those who fill their stomachs with highly nutritious organic produce and meats.” [Wow! Instead of the Twinkie defense, criminals can claim their non-organic lunch made them do it!]

“Isagenix is a divine blessing in this toxic sick world.”

These people apparently expect us to believe unsubstantiated assertions.They have no concept of what constitutes scientific evidence or why controlled studies are needed.

Defense of Multilevel Marketing

“MLM is not a scam, but one of the last bastions of free enterprise.” Some commenters claimed that MLM is good because products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) don’t work, and that MLM is “the most legitimate business out in the world today.” All corporations are a pyramid anyway, they said.

But one commenter called MLM an “exploitative business model” and pointed out that the average yearly income for Isagenix distributors is only $116.87. Another pointed out that 97 percent of MLM schemes fail.

Personal Attacks on Me

“A Dr Harriet Hall wrote a very funny one sided arguement [sic] against [Isagenix] but omitted to inform the world how much money she has made conning patients into taking drugs she should know are harmful to you.”

Some commenters thought I was arrogant: “If it were up to know-it-all MDs like Harriet Hall, I’d still be in chronic pain.”

“To [sic] bad when you look up Dr. Hall in Washington no such person is licensed to practice medicine. Sad day when you have to lie to get people to pay attention to anything you say….” [It took me about one minute to locate verification of my license at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/providercredentialsearch/SearchResult.aspx.

One commenter questioned whether I am really a doctor and says I have a small brain and a big mouth.

One claimed I write only to feed my ego.

Another said I shouldn’t make comments without doing any research.

One thought I should try it for myself.

Another questioned why I didn’t learn more by attending a meeting for the product, interviewing company representatives, or talking to the press.

Some thought instead of writing for the public I should have contacted the doctors at the company and discussed my concerns with them.

“Don’t try to convince us, Dr. Hall, that you necessarily have ‘the answer.’” [Did I say I did?]

One alleged that I came to a conclusion without any research whatsoever; this is from a doctor who said, “Cleansing is now my first choice for my patients.” One wondered what research he did to make that choice.

“Going out of her way to trash Isagenix this way is pathetic.”

“PS ‘Dr.Hall’ your little family practice designation really doesnt buy alot [sic] of cred.”

“Real doctors don’t waste their time sitting on the internet making bogus posts about different health products…. could sign as doctor and no one would know.”

“This article is and the author is full of crap. I know it and he knows it.” [I know I’m not a “he.”]

Some commenters thought I didn’t know anything and I should just shut up.

“This is just another doctor that stands to loose [sic] their income by the masses becoming healthy.”

“What ever [sic] Dr. Harriet Hall is selling, I’m not interested.” [For the record, I’m retired and the only thing I’m “selling” is critical thinking.]

Some suggested that just because I went to medical school doesn’t mean I’m a smart person.

Kudos

A few commenters offered agreement and praise; they pointed out that no one had actually addressed any of the points I made or offered any evidence that what I wrote was wrong. They reprimanded other commenters for resorting to ad hominem attacks.

Attacks on the Medical Profession

Many of the commenters seemed to think that doctors know nothing about nutrition. Doctors just put bandages on problems: they sell pills that mask symptoms and wreak havoc on your body instead of treating underlying causes. They only want to make money. They want to keep people sick so they won’t lose their kickbacks. [What kickbacks?] There are lots of malpractice suits.

“Most MD’s [sic] will not even take the death dealing treatments they inflict upon the rest of the population.”

Some commenters claimed that even if evidence showed Isagenix worked, conventional medicine still wouldn’t adopt it because of competition from drug companies. Many doctors are typically overweight and/or out of shape. The majority of emergency department doctors are lacking skills in emergency procedures.

One person commented, “MD’s [sic] keep American’s [sic] addicted to drugs! MD’s also fancy themselves as God like. They think that being an MD allows them to keep American’s from seeking nutrition.”

“Our medical doctors have failed us,” one person lamented.

Another observed: “So sad that people in our medical profession have no idea what they are talking about!!!”

Attacks on Science

Commenters insisted that instead of listening to science, one should listen to one’s own body.

Some asked: even if it’s only a placebo, why not use it?

Western medicine is trying to “squash Eastern medicine,” one commenter believed.

Another warned: “Things work for different people. Chiropractic and acupuncture work. If you ask for everything to be backed by studies, they just tailor the studies to benefit industry. Research things for yourself and don’t be a sheep taking pills from an MD.”

Two commenters attacked the scientifically impeccable website Quackwatch, asserting that Stephen Barrett is literally funded by Big Pharma, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the FDA to produce disinformation aimed at discrediting alternative medicine. [He has no ties to any of those organizations.]

“See how herbs can treat people, not drugs,” one commenter advised.

“Did any of you see Sicko? If you did how could you possibly take one physicians [sic] ‘opinion’ about something she didn’t even try over the many testimonials.”

Some commenters felt they knew better than any doctor: “I choose to observe how my own body feels and reacts to what I ingest.”

“If you think its [sic] going to help it will,” one commenter suggested.

Some put forth that the real answer is to integrate Eastern with Western medicine.

“Oh, and I have found prayer helps me,” one Isagenix proponent added.

One commenter tried to turn the tables on me: “I feel it is unfair to say Isagenix is making unsubstantiated claims, and that it doesn’t actually help you at all……. isn’t that an unsubstantiated claim too?” [I didn’t claim that it didn’t work; I said there was no evidence that it did, and no reason to think it would.]

Attacks on the FDA and Big Pharma

Many commenters suggested that the FDA disclaimer about Isagenix is meaningless and believe we shouldn’t take FDA warnings seriously: “It is a terrorist organization that lies, cheats steals, and intimidates anyone who stands between them and the targets of their wrath.”

“Dr Hall if you think the FDA is doing a good job you must love some of the poison they approve, such as Aspartame.”

Some commenters erroneously thought doctors got commissions for prescribing drugs.

One even asserted that a conspiracy of J.D. Rockefeller is behind the pharmaceutical industry and that many prescriptions are made from manipulation of petroleum.

People die from drugs, commenters insisted.

“My doctor wanted me to start beta blockers, after much investigation I decided that I was to [sic] young to have my liver contaminated by these pills… .”

Many commenters assured us that natural remedies work just as well and are safer than prescriptions.

Several commenters fervently believed that pharmaceuticals are the ultimate money-making scam.

Off-the-Wall False Claims

“The FDA (yes, those great friends of ours) just recently put a new advisement out there that we will soon be required to irradiate ALL raw vegetables and fruits [it certainly did not!]. Do you all know what irradiation does to food? It not only kills ‘bad’ things like e. coli, but it kills nutrients from your foods as well.”

Try It for Yourself

Numerous commenters seemed to think the best way to determine if a treatment works is to try it yourself. But one commenter rightfully pointed out that the try-it-yourself argument is fallacious and condescending: “One does not have to experience snake venom to know to stay away from snakes.”

Haven’t Tried It But Plan To

Several commenters were planning to try it after reading the article and comments. One of these said he knows firefighters who use it and he “would rather have one of the firefighters doing brain surgery on me, than let the average physician tell me what is going on in my body.” [Wow! Does this guy even have a brain?]

It’s a Scam

Quite a few people agreed with what I wrote. Several were outspoken in calling Isagenix a scam.

“People would rather rave about this crap than admit that they were fooled into wasting their money.”

“Without even considering the science, common sense helped me spot this as bullshit.”

“Isagenix is a freakish cult perpetrated on the uncritical, by the unscrupulous, using the desperate search for the ever-elusive ‘easy solution.’”

One reported that a cousin and her boyfriend are “making a TON of money selling this stuff to all of you morons stupid enough to buy it and make them rich. ISAGENIX only ‘works’ for the people selling it. Diet and exercise WORKS for everyone!”

Concerns

A few commenters expressed concerns about the product. One commenter said the Isagenix company representative couldn’t answer questions about origin of ingredients and quality control. There have been no controlled studies. Where is the evidence? How do we know it is safe? Long-term results remain to be seen. How many can maintain this restrictive lifestyle for years? Why isn’t Isagenix being regulated by the FDA? “I am a little concerned about the way some people discuss this product in almost cult-like fashion. It makes me wonder if there are mind-control drugs in this stuff.”

Two Jokes

“I got a refund check from [the] IRS after starting Isagenix.”

“I have some magic beans for sale. Try eating right and exercising instead.”

Funny, Unhelpful, and Bizarre Comments

“Who cares whether it works or not. This stuff tastes like 9-day old garbage mixed with water from a sewer.”

One man took it on the recommendation of his chiropractor; he now distrusts both Isagenix and his chiropractor. “I have been feeling better ever since I stopped having my head wrenched and being put on a rack and practically decapitated week after week, except for the apparently permanent click in my neck that wasn’t there before.”

“We fertilize our soil with fake nutrients and usually do not replace with all 60 nutrients the plants need to be healthy so they are prone to diesease [sic-a disease that they die from?] and incests [sic].” [Gotta watch out for those incestuous plants!]

“I never hear anything from the medical field about elevating the PH level in the human body to keep in from being to acidic. That study was done by Dr Lioness Paulings medical reseacher and nobel prize winner.” [Errors in original. Lioness?!]

“Whoever started this blog is an idiot.”

“I am amazed at the amount of ingnorance [sic] on this Blog. Whom [sic] ever allows this should be ashamed.”

My favorite comment of all was “Dr Harriet Hall is a refrigerator with a head.” I don’t know what that means, but its whimsical imagery appeals to my sense of humor.

In looking back at this whole kerfuffle, it became clear to me that there had been a colossal barrier to communication. The person who had originally asked me about Isagenix, the blog owner, and I were all operating in the arena of science and evidence. Most of the commenters were operating in a whole different universe of discourse based on belief, hope, hearsay, and personal experience. Science is like a foreign language to them, and they were incapable of understanding my points. Pearls before swine…

Harriet Hall
Harriet Hall is a retired physician who lives in Puyallup, Washington, and writes about alternative medicine and pseudoscience for many skeptical magazines.

25 thoughts on “Isagenix Fraud: A Follow-Up by Dr. Hall”

  1. I’m entertained by Dr. Hall’s perplexed response to the madness that she’s unused to witnessing, but none of this is surprising when you consider that the people who get roped into MLMs are, as evidenced by their participation in the scheme, not very bright at all.

  2. Thank you for an intelligent article! It’s refreshing to read. I am so sick of all the quacky “health knowledge” out there. Why can’t people wrap their heads around the idea of eating a balanced diet, exercising often, staying hydrated, and seeking regular (and scientific-based) medical advice when necessary? It’s that simple. It may not be easy, but it is quite simple. I’ve heard from these people that “well, you can’t believe science.” Science isn’t some vague conjuring of rules pulled from some particularly charismatic icon’s head– it’s logic backed up by research. If Issac Newton is a quack, then quick, jump on the ceiling!

  3. Harriet, great exposition, but the responses show exactly why so many people lose money either as customers or distributors in “opportunities” which are low-grade, flawed, or plain fraudulent.

    The problem is that the average person-in-the-street is completely without the critical thinking skills or scientific training necessary to tell the difference between valid research and a con.

    For instance in the case of Isagenix, there should have been, as a minimum, genuine 3rd-party trials that were well-designed, randomised, double-blind, controlled, crossover studies by reputable scientists at reputable universities. This would test the results of a product only group, a placebo only group, a product/low-cal/exercise group, a placebo/low-cal/exercise group, a low-cal/exercise only group, and a control group. I would be prepared to bet a zillion dollars that this has not been done (not even as a mouse study), and yet this is the minimum to be able to take such claims seriously. People get sucked in again and again by low-grade, flawed “studies”, or worse still, get sucked in by a bucketload of testimonials.

    But that’s not the only reason distributors should avoid Isagenix. As a business analyst I feel it simply doesn’t stack up. There is totally inadequate product differentiation and quite literally millions and millions of competing distributors all basically saying the same thing and making the same claims.

    I’m sure Isagenix is making great money, but I’m sure the great mass of its distributors are not.

  4. kudos to you, Harriet for your article. I had someone try to sell me isagenix (it was like they were trying to get me to join a church) and as an exercise scientist, all of their claims sounded too good to be true–claims for the desperate lay person looking for a quick fix for an unhealthy lifestyle. As I research the internet for info about their products, it’s hard to find. All of the info out there seems like it is from someone associated with their company…It all seems biased and not scientific, reputable data. It’s really just annoying that people are buying into the claims and false statements w/out there being (as Christine S. said) a randomized, double blind control study by independent scientists. More power to the users of isagenix, but I’d like to see the scientific data to back up all of the claims before I’d become a believer…

  5. Regarding the last paragraph of Dr. Hall’s response, I would say that science and evidence is more reliable than belief, hope and hearsay. But that personal experience is its own form of evidence, however qualitative, and should not be dismissed wholesale. In the end, my life and body belong to me, not science; and science is surely there (or ought to be) to support human life, not to dismiss some humans as swine from (what comes across as) a sense of superiority. Science has often been superseded by better science or by improved interpretation. So I don’t denigrate the points Dr. Hall makes – so many things are a ‘sell’ these days, i myself am unconvinced by many of the comments and what seem like assumptions of leaps of faith – but I reserve the right to be the judge of whether i am healthier from a product or health regime or approach to living, than whether an elite group of people self-anointed in the light of their parameters of ‘science and evidence’ would agree with me or not, or approve or not (or indeed whether an MLM-er making 35% would approve too!). I have understood all her (not his!) excellent points, and am capable of doing so – but believe “pearls before swine” denotes an arrogance of approach (a kind of class-based game of point-scoring) that polarizes many less educated, erudite and well-off folk away from rational response, and into distrusting science and those who wave its stick as their know-all wand. i’ll end with a favorite quotation of mine, which in some way is relevant and is also not directly relevant: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift” Albert Einstein.

  6. What I find interesting is that this post does nothing to prove Isagenix doesn’t work. It attempts to only counter some of the claims made by Isagenix and its users, but for someone like myself who is looking for proof that it does not work is left wanting…

  7. I think what is more important, is that there is no proof that Isagenix DOES work. No one has scientifically proven that it actually works. End of story, I think.

  8. Actually I found this and I wont even link the website, I do NOT sell nor even use Isagenix at this time ( I am currently researching it for my own use ). “New York Chiropractic College of Seneca Falls, included two randomized, double-blind trials. They were presented recently at EB2010, the annual meeting of Experimental Biology in Anaheim, Calif.” The study was shown to (obviously) lower weight, but also lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Now although the study was funded by Isagenix it was an independent study by an actual scientist as opposed to Dr. Halls post, which again offers NO scientific evidence that it does not work, and in my opinion holds just as much water as the 100’s and 1,000s of posts from users/sellers that have actually found the product useful. Coming in and picking apart (what appears to be uneducated) posters comments does nothing but show her as an elitist who thinks she is smarter than everyone else, but at the end of the day it is just another opinion. Does this mean Isagenix is the best thing since sliced bread? Does this mean you should go buy Isagenix right now? I am not convinced one way or the other….

  9. The study you reference indicates that people lose weight when they have very low calorie diets, in this case – – replacing meals with silly shakes. This does not validate the shakes as being good or “working” in any substantive way. What is DOES validate is that low calorie diets cause people to lose weight.

  10. But why are they “silly” shakes? Again you are not, nor has the Dr. you quote, given me any reason to believe the shakes are “silly”. And I understand there are other low calorie diets out there (that may or may not work) but that does NOT equate to you being able to claim Isagenix does NOT work because of that. You seem like a smart gal so I am sure you can see why you can not in good faith make that claim. All you and Dr Harriet have done is prove that the world (as we all know) is full of stupid people, but have not even come close to proving that Isagenix does or does not work. Which is frustrating. But from my vantage point (after several hours of research) the “evidence” actually seems to be mounting on the side of Isagenix rather than against it. So far the biggest “problem” I can find against Isagenix is that it is “expensive” compared to potential alternatives.

  11. All meal replacement shakes are silly. You deprive yourself of a meal, and instead drink a sugary concoction with a bunch of vitamins in it. People are much better off eating a meal of fresh fruits and vegetables and taking a multi-vitamin.

    The shakes are further silly because they are unsustainable. Lifelong weight loss and a healthy lifestyle needs a system you can sustain. Silly shakes aren’t the answer.

  12. There are lots of reputable meal replacement shakes out there,(Slim-Fast, Shakeology, Special K, Medifast) some of those may be good, some may be not.
    But there are plenty of options, and not full of sugar as you claim. Have you even looked at the ingredients?
    Do you have a scientific study that proves otherwise?
    Because there are actually plenty of independent scientific studies showing that Slim Fast shake meal replacement program actually is sustainable and works.
    (by the way Slim fast has more sugar than Isagenix shakes)
    Once again it sounds like just an opinion versus any actual proof.
    It is really easy to copy and paste an article written by a Dr. But it is another thing to actually take some due diligence and go research things before giving ones opinion as fact.

  13. *********

    As far as vitamins go, well …to be nice, that is just a silly thing to think and say.
    In fact there are several studies that have shown little to no benefit to taking a multivitamin.
    The department of health and human services found: “regular supplementation with a single nutrient or a mixture of nutrients for years has NO SIGNIFICANT benefits in the primary prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataract, age-related macular degeneration or cognitive decline.”
    Another government study found “no evidence of any benefit from multivitamin use in any of 10 categories studied, including no differences in the rate of breast or colon cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots or mortality. ”
    I could go on here, but you get the point….
    Now of course that doesn’t mean you should not take a vitamin, some peoples diets and deficiencies can still benefit in ways from taking vitamins. But to just say eat some veggies and take a vitamin is just uninformed.
    Perhaps you could do a blog about the FRAUD of multivitamin companies. 🙂

  14. I’m sorry you misunderstood Charlie. I don’t take a multi-vitamin to prevent cancer, heart attacks, or any of those other ailments. I take a multi-vitamin to ensure that I’m getting nutrients that might not be in my daily food.

    My statement about eating and vitamins was very informed. You would be better off eating fruits and vegetables and taking a multi-vitamin than you would be drinking the Isagenix sugar shake.

  15. I’ve actually looked at quite a few of these shakes, Isagenix included, and there is quite a bit of sugar in them. It is not an opinion. It is a fact that it would be more nutritionally sound to eat a meal of fresh fruit and vegetables than it is to drink these shakes that are full of sugar and other additives.

  16. While there actually ARE real peer reviewed studies that support a well designed lifestyle with “dreaded” and much maligned nutritional supplements, these MLMs are unconscionable and tend to strip what little cash these gullible folks have in the first place. The claims are unsubstantiated and full of half truths and many lies.

    The most disgusting thing is the scamming these MLMers do by manipulating Google search engine results creating a virtual Potemkin Village with nothing but glowing reviews from lying scammers trying to promote their overpriced products.

    There is plenty of room for good people, and crucially – competent professionals – to put forth their knowledge, experience, and published peer reviewed studies. But these MLMs do nothing but prey on the false hopes and already thin wallets of an uninformed public. I praise this article and this doctor for pointing these things out!

  17. Yep I think Rich and the physician are absolutely right! LIVING on these shakes (not as a temporary diet but a “lifestyle”) is LUDICROUS! Granted, it is more difficult to find quality fresh fruits and vegetables in some areas and the pesticides (true poison) that must be cleansed from them is time consuming and it is more expensive to eat a healthy diet (that’s why poor people go to McDonald’s-they can afford it) but substituting a shake every day for life makes no sense at all and is NOT healthy.

  18. I think that people who defend Isagenix are doing it more harm than good and making everyone who sells AND uses the products look like brainwashed idiots. I take the products and they have helped me – along with eating better, exercising, and basically taking better care of myself – but they aren’t the end all, be all. I do not sell them because I feel weird doing so because I’m a questioner and some of the claims that distributors make are crazy and not backed up by science AND you basically need to believe the products are THE ANSWER for anyone and everyone and that’s just not possible) I like how easy it is to make a shake for breakfast or lunch and then have 2 well-balanced meals. Some days I have 2 shakes, one meal and one or two snacks, but I usually just have one meal replacement shake. They taste great (I wouldn’t drink them if they didn’t because I’m a major foodie), are fairly low in calories (but not as low as other MRS products – ViSalus shakes are 90 calories! That’s waaaayyyy too low) and include a lot of high-quality ingredients. I don’t believe the products can cure anything nor are they designed to, but they are designed to assist you in becoming healthier and they have done that for me. I’ve lost several sizes, have more energy (from the products, eating better and exercising, of course) and less discomfort. I have Fibromyalgia, but it hasn’t cured it…why? Because it’s not designed to cure anything and anyone who tells you any different is simply trying to sell you the products AND they are hurting themselves AND the company by claiming the products cure anything.
    There is evidence that toxins impede fat loss and unlike other contributors, I will provide links. Byron J. Richards is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, not a doctor. I trust nutritionist much more about weight loss and healthy eating a lot more than I trust doctors because most doctors don’t even have to take ONE nutrition class in order to graduate medical school and they don’t know a heck of a lot about nutrition, healthy eating or weight loss. Some doctors may take nutrition courses as part of their yearly CME’s, but not many do. Anyway, here’s the link I promised:
    http://www.wellnessresources.com/weight/articles/why_toxins_and_waste_products_impede_weight_loss_-_the_leptin_diet_weight_l/

    And another one just in case:
    http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/diabetes/toxic-fat.htm

    There’s a lot of information floating around the internet about toxins and fat loss, but even if you don’t believe it or the studies aren’t up to “scientific standards”, just eating less by having a shake a day in place of a larger meal will help you lose weight. I don’t do the 2-day cleanses because I have a chronic illness and low blood sugar and it’s not recommended for me so I just eat healthy and hope my body takes care of the rest.

    Take care!

  19. Sorry, Michelle, but “meal replacement shakes” are not healthy. We are meant to eat food, not drink silly shakes filled with chemicals and sugar. Skipping meals and instead having these shakes is ridiculous and not healthy.

  20. Dr. Thank you for the information. I know someone close to me that just had a stroke and had been on this product for a few days to a few weeks. Could it have anything to do with it? When I mentioned the possibility the person became defensive and said it was not related.

  21. Wow, I know someone who fairly recently began selling these products as well as using them herself, constantly raving about the results. She just had a stroke, and she isn’t even 30. I can’t help but wonder if this is related to Isagenix… especially after reading the comment above…

  22. Well I was Also on this product for 1 year. At first I felt amazing! Not gonna lie! Lost 20 PDs. I had health issues. But after a while I started to not feel well. I know the cleansing made me feel pretty crappy and then my hair fell out and had multiple symptoms. Long story short I have connective tissue disease. I can’t blame the product 100%. But I know it pushed me over the edge to flaring up. So people really should talk to homeopathic Dr before starting any regimen. And I feel they don’t give you levels of certain ingredients or amounts
    Which can be dangerous for some people with conditions they might not even be aware of.
    And I dislike they try to sell you the product like if it’s God and it’s the only way for wt loss and healing. also they do a “health screening ” which only Dr s should.
    It’s almost like a cult lol! Don’t talk crap about the product because it is ON.
    Anyway I was a distributed and I was obsessed with it.
    I guess we can all make mistakes in life.
    I just learned I won’t take anything without consulting a professional that is experienced in these types of supplements.

    Trying to recover..

  23. My wife has consumed the Isagenix “kool aid”. I’ve probably heard all of these arguments from her and her Isagenix buddies. I personally have no idea of the nutritional value of this stuff but I am able to read and see that sugar in various forms is a key ingredient. Sure, they disguise it with various names. But sugar is sugar.

  24. Trying to reason with people that believe in Isagenix is like discussing religion or politics. People lose their cool. It’s like all those chemicals they ingest brain washes them.

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