What Is the Isagenix Diet?
- June 25, 2021
Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff
At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.
The Isagenix diet is a meal replacement program that promotes weight loss. The plan includes supplements, shakes, bars, and pills that claim to naturally “detoxify” the body and help you burn fat. The creators of the company state that Isagenix offers effective, science-backed supplements, but not all of the health claims are substantiated.
Founded in 2002, Isagenix is a multi-level marketing company. This means the company offers money to consumers to sell their products, and once you become a distributor you can recruit additional salespeople to make a profit. You also make money through direct sales to customers. In other words, the company is based on a pyramid selling strategy.
The Isagenix 30-Day System is one of the company’s primary products. It’s marketed as a cleansing and fat-burning starter program that can be used long-term for “healthy” weight loss. It costs a little over $400 per month and includes meal-replacement shakes and supplements that claim to help with “cleansing” and weight loss. These supplements include an Isagenix fat burner capsule called a Natural Accelerator and an IsaFlush laxative capsule. According to the company, the “cleanse days” on the plan are meant to flush your body of toxins as a form of intermittent fasting.
The company’s vision, according to its website, is to impact world health and free people from physical and financial pain. But not everyone may find these products accessible since they come at a high monthly cost. While Isagenix uses caloric restriction and intermittent fasting—which have been shown to promote weight loss—its methods and products remain questionable.
“Individuals on the Isagenix diet predominately eat highly processed meal replacement shakes and cleanses. These can contribute to excessive added sugar intake, and don’t teach long-term meal planning skills. Experts agree this is not the path to sustainable weight loss.”
—Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH
The Isagenix 30-Day System consists of five shake days and two cleanse days per week. On shake days, those who follow this plan replace two meals with an Isagenix shake (240–280 calories) followed by one regular low-calorie meal consisting of 400 to 600 calories.
On cleanse days, instead of using shakes or eating a meal, you will consume four small servings of the Isagenix Cleanse for Life drink, along with a very small amount of suggested fruits and Isagenix-approved snacks.
The following products are included in the Isagenix 30-Day System bundle, which contains shakes, cleanses, snacks, fat burners, and other items that claim to help achieve and maintain weight loss.
- Isalean Shake: A meal replacement drink containing a blend of whey and casein (milk) protein. It also includes vitamins, minerals, sugar, and other additives. Each shake is approximately 240 calories per serving, 23 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fat, and 11 grams of sugar.
- Cleanse For Life Drink: A blend of aloe vera, herbs, some B vitamins, and sugar promoted as a fundamental component during cleanse days. The drink claims to support detoxification, metabolism, and immune systems.
- Ionix Supreme: A liquid blend of herbs, vitamins, and sugars marketed as a tonic with adaptogens for improved energy, stamina, and mental performance.
- Isagenix Snacks: Small chewable wafers that contain sugar, a protein blend, electrolytes, and other ingredients.
- IsaFlush: Capsules containing magnesium as a laxative and primary active ingredient along with an herbal and mineral blend. The product claims to balance your digestive system and improve nutrient absorption.
- Natural Accelerator: Fat burning capsules containing green tea as the primary active ingredient. The blend of vitamins and herbs claims to boost metabolism for improved fat burning.
- AMPED Hydrate Sticks: Vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and sugar in powder form ready to mix in water. It’s advertised as a sports drink to stay hydrated and refreshed during your workouts.
Any restrictive diet will cause weight loss because you’re creating a caloric deficit. It doesn’t matter if the calories are coming from whole foods or meal replacement shakes.
Limits calories and provides portion control
Convenience of pre-packaged food
Saves time and accommodates busy lifestyles
Variety of supplement programs
Highly processed, containing lots of sugar and additives
Not a replacement for nutrients from whole foods
Doesn’t teach how to eat real food as a healthy lifestyle
Isagenix offers a structured program that limits calories and provides portion control. This could be considered a plus for those who tend to overeat and need to learn the right portion sizes.
The convenience of pre-packaged food products delivered to your doorstep can be a draw for some people.
Isagenix offers a variety of supplement programs based on specific goals. Some of their plans include supplements for performance, healthy aging, and personal care.
While the convenience factor of Isagenix seems appealing and you may lose weight, nutrition experts caution against this restrictive eating plan since you’re likely to regain the weight once normal eating habits are resumed.
The Isagenix diet is not real food. The products are highly processed, containing lots of sugar and additives.
The Isagenix diet may load its products with herbal blends, vitamins, and minerals, but it lacks real food nutrients. Isagenix also uses a multi-level marketing strategy where distributors not only sell the products but provide nutritional counseling. Most of these distributors lack proper nutrition and/or medical education.
The 30-Day System does not teach you how to eat real food as a healthy lifestyle. Once you have completed the diet, you are left without nutrition education for sustainable weight loss in the future.
The 30-Day Diet System is very expensive, clocking in at over $400 for all the monthly supplies.
Health Claims are Unsubstantiated
Isagenix states that its program is a science-backed healthy and effective way to lose weight. The program claims to flush out toxins, support whole body cleansing, and eliminate fat. But the website also includes a disclaimer stating these claims are not evaluated or supported by the FDA. Additionally, the company does not disclose that it has funded some of the research or that some of its affiliates are part of the research panel.
The Isagenix 30-Day System falls below the average daily recommended calories for healthy weight loss. Shake days can range between 1,160 to 1,500 calories and only a few hundred calories on cleanse days. Restrictive diets like the Isagenix program are not realistic because you’re not eating real food. Instead, you are consuming diet shakes and supplements as your main nutrition, which is not sustainable for the long term.
Isagenix incorporates intermittent fasting and calorie restriction as part of its weight loss plan, but the program lacks sufficient research to support the company’s claims.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods including fruits, vegetables, protein, low-fat dairy products, and grains for a healthy, balanced diet. Those on the Isagenix system only eat one meal a day (and no meals on cleanse days), so it is nearly impossible to consume enough nutrients sourced from real food.
Your body requires a certain amount of calories each day for a healthy rate of weight loss. The USDA recommends a reduction of 500 calories a day for weight loss. On a 2,000 calorie a day diet, that’s roughly 1,500 calories per day. But this number can vary depending on an individual’s sex, age, weight, height, and level of physical activity. Those who follow the Isagenix diet will have difficulty reaching the 1,500-calorie mark on shake days and will consume far fewer than that on cleanse days. To learn your individual calorie needs, use this calculator.
The Isagenix diet restricts healthy food groups and does not provide enough calories on shake-only days, and cleanse days eliminate almost all healthy foods entirely. It does not adhere to federal guidelines and is neither a balanced diet nor sustainable weight loss plan.
Replacing meals with Isagenix products will likely lead to weight loss due to the low-calorie intake, however, any weight loss experienced on the plan will likely be regained once normal eating patterns are resumed.
Though the Isagenix diet appears to have science-backed health claims, sufficient evidence is lacking. While research has explored the positive outcomes of both calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, Isagenix makes reference only to select studies that support its products and weight loss philosophy.
Cleanses, in general, do not effectively promote weight management. Health experts caution against most “cleansing” diets that make “detox” claims. Research shows there is insufficient evidence to prove that detoxification programs actually remove toxins from the body.
According to nutrition experts, there is no replacement for the nutrients that come from consuming whole foods. Restricting too many calories can work against you, since your body needs enough calories to run efficiently. Without sufficient calories the body shifts into survival mode. This can slow metabolism, which preserves fat stores to be used as energy in the future, leading a frustrating inability to lose weight. The Isagenix diet will likely cause weight cycling, also known as yo-yo dieting, which happens when weight loss is followed by weight regain.
Diet products such as meal replacement shakes and bars are a tempting option for quick weight loss results. But studies show that restrictive diets like Isagenix are neither an effective nor healthy weight loss plan. Isagenix products can’t replace the nutrients found in real, whole foods. While quick weight loss is possible on the Isagenix diet, it is not a strategy for long-term weight management. If you’re wanting to lose weight, talk to your healthcare team before starting a restrictive or low-calorie diet like Isagenix.
Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.
If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.