The Isagenix diet is a popular meal replacement weight loss program. It’s used by customers worldwide looking to drop pounds quickly.
Although the Isagenix system claims to be a “groundbreaking path to healthy weight loss,” many health experts argue that this product doesn’t live up to the hype.
This article will review the Isagenix diet, including how it works, foods to eat, what to avoid and whether it’s a safe way to lose weight or just another fad diet.
Rating Score Breakdown
- Overall score: 2.75
- Fast weight loss: 4
- Long-term weight loss: 2
- Easy to follow: 4
- Nutrition quality: 1
BOTTOM LINE: The Isagenix diet will cause weight loss if done correctly. However, it is almost entirely made up of processed and prepackaged foods that are high in added sugar. It may be a decent short-term solution but not a good long-term investment.
Isagenix is a meal replacement weight loss system manufactured by Isagenix International, a multi-level marketing company that sells supplements and personal products.
The Isagenix diet consists of shakes, tonics, snacks and supplements sold through the Isagenix website.
Their most popular programs include a 30-day weight loss system and a nine-day weight loss system.
The 30-day starter pack is promoted as a way to:
- Lead dieters to “experience consistent weight loss”
- “Satisfy cravings for unhealthy food”
- “Support the body’s natural detoxification system”
- “Improve muscle tone”
The 30-day system includes:
- Isalean Shakes: Whey- and milk-protein-based meal replacement shakes that contain 240 calories and 24 grams of protein (along with many other ingredients).
- Ionix Supreme: A tonic that contains a blend of sweeteners, vitamins and adaptogens that is advertised to speed muscle recovery, “support clarity and focus,” and “normalize the body’s systems.”
- Cleanse for Life: A liquid blend of sweeteners, vitamins and herbs claimed to “nourish the body’s detoxification system” and “eliminate stubborn fat.”
- Isagenix Snacks: Chewable, flavored tablets made of sweeteners, milk-based protein and other ingredients.
- Natural Accelerator: Capsules that contain a blend of vitamins and herbs that are supposed to help dieters “boost metabolism and burn fat.”
- Hydrate Sticks: A powder meant to be mixed into water that contains sweeteners, electrolytes and more vitamins.
- IsaFlush: A supplement containing a form of magnesium and a blend of herbs purported to improve digestion and “support a healthy gut.”
Both systems come in dairy-free options for those with allergies or dietary restrictions.
How Does It Work?
The plan consists of shake days and cleanse days.
On shake days, dieters replace two meals per day with Isalean shakes. For the third meal, they’re encouraged to choose a “healthy” meal containing 400–600 calories.
On shake days, dieters also take Isagenix supplements (including IsaFlush and Natural Accelerator) and can choose Isagenix-approved snacks twice a day.
One or two days per week, dieters are encouraged to complete a cleanse day.
On cleanse days, dieters abstain from meals and instead consume four servings of the Cleanse for Life drink, small amounts of fruit and Isagenix-approved snacks like IsaDelight Chocolates.
The cleanse days are considered a type of intermittent fasting, an eating pattern where dieters cycle between periods of fasting (restricting calorie intake) and eating.
After dieters complete their 30-day plan, Isagenix encourages them to either start the same system over for another 30 days or try another Isagenix system like the Energy System or the Performance system.
Summary The Isagenix weight loss system is a 30-day program that consists of meal replacement shakes, supplements, tonics and snacks. It incorporates one or two “cleanse” days every week, which use fasting techniques to promote weight loss.
The biggest draw of the Isagenix diet is that it can help you lose weight quickly.
This is because the diet restricts calories and strictly controls what you consume in the form of portion-controlled shakes and snacks.
Whether you’re eating meal replacement shakes or whole foods, if you create a calorie deficit, you’re going to lose weight.
The Isagenix website cites several studies showing that the plan does indeed lead to weight loss. However, it should be noted that all of these studies were funded by Isagenix.
A study in 54 women found that those who followed the calorie-restricted Isagenix meal plan and completed one day of intermittent fasting (cleanse day) per week lost more weight and experienced greater fat loss after 8 weeks than women following a heart-healthy diet.
However, the women consuming the Isagenix meals received calorie-restricted, pre-portioned meals while the women following the heart-healthy diet did not.
Plus, the women following the Isagenix plan reported greater adherence to the diet than the women in the heart-healthy diet group (1).
Had the study been designed so that both groups received the same amount of calories in portion-controlled foods, the weight loss results would have likely been the same.
A typical Isagenix meal plan can range from 1,200–1,500 calories on shake days and only a few hundred calories on cleanse days. So, for people going from consuming an excess of calories to a calorie-restricted plan like Isagenix, weight loss is inevitable.
Nevertheless, the same can be said for switching to a calorie-restricted, whole-foods diet.
Summary Isagenix uses calorie restriction and intermittent fasting, two weight loss interventions that have been proven effective in many studies. However, research on the program itself is limited.
Other than weight loss, there are some other benefits of following the Isagenix plan.
It’s Calorie- and Portion-Controlled
Many people struggle with controlling the portion sizes of meals and snacks. Choosing large portions or going back for seconds can lead to weight gain over time.
Following a pre-portioned meal plan like Isagenix may help reduce the chances of overeating for some people.
However, dieters following the Isagenix system still need to choose a healthy, portion-controlled meal once a day.
This could be difficult for some dieters, especially if they are feeling hungry from consuming low-calorie shakes at other meals.
What’s more, once you stop following the plan and continue eating normally, the freedom to choose your own foods after being restricted for 30 days may lead to overeating.
This is why learning to eat in a healthy, sustainable way that works for your lifestyle is so important.
The Isagenix Plan Is Convenient
The Isagenix system is delivered right to your doorstep, which is convenient for those living busy lifestyles.
The prepackaged, portion-controlled design of Isagenix products can save dieters time and make choosing meals a breeze.
However, in order to build a healthy relationship with food and learn what nourishes the body, cooking and experimenting with different foods is key.
Relying on shakes and processed snacks to sustain you is not a good choice when trying to build lifelong healthy habits.
Summary The Isagenix system is convenient and portion-controlled, which could be helpful for some dieters with limited time. Nevertheless, you still need to build healthy habits.
Although the Isagenix system is convenient and may result in weight loss, there are some major downfalls to this plan as well.
Isagenix Products Are High in Sugar
Almost every product included in the Isagenix weight loss system has sweeteners listed as the first or second ingredient.
On a shake day, a person following the Isagenix plan would consume 38 grams (nearly 10 teaspoons) of added sugar just from the Isagenix products alone.
Added sugars should be kept to a minimum to promote optimal health.
Multi-Level Marketing and Peer Health Counseling Can Be Dangerous
Isagenix uses multi-level marketing, meaning they rely on customers to sell and market their products.
Isagenix “associates” are usually former customers who sell Isagenix products to peers looking for a way to lose weight quickly.
However, these associates also provide nutritional counseling and support to new clients, often with no nutritional or medical education to speak of.
Isagenix coaches counsel clients on cleansing, weight loss and more, which could be extremely dangerous.
Medical background, age and any history of disordered eating are just a few of the many important pieces of information that need to be considered when choosing an appropriate weight loss plan for an individual.
Isagenix Products Are Not Real Food
One of the most obvious downfalls of the Isagenix system is that it relies on highly processed products.
The best foods for both weight loss and overall health are whole foods like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates.
Isagenix products are loaded with herbs, vitamins and minerals to make up for the lack of real food in their weight loss system.
Yet no product compares to the benefits of real, wholesome foods and the synergistic effects of the powerful nutrients they contain.
It’s Expensive and Unrealistic for Long-Term, Healthy Weight Loss
Another limitation of the Isagenix system is that it is expensive.
A 30-day weight loss package costs $378.50, which breaks down to about $95 per week. This does not include the cost of the non-Isagenix meal that you eat each day.
This is extremely expensive for most people and not realistic to continue long-term.
The Company Makes Some Dubious Health Claims
The Isagenix website says that the products support “whole body cleansing,” “eliminate fat” and “flush out toxins.”
Although this might draw in potential customers, there is little evidence to support these claims. Your body is equipped with its own powerful detoxification system including organs like the liver, kidneys and lungs.
Although a small amount of evidence suggests that some diets do support the body's natural detoxification system, any bold claim of ridding the body of excess toxins is likely a sales gimmick (10).
Summary The Isagenix diet relies on processed foods that are high in sugar, which is not good for your health. Plus, it’s expensive and uses peer counselors that may not be qualified to deliver health recommendations.
Foods to eat when following the Isagenix plan include products manufactured by Isagenix and high-protein, low-sugar foods for the one meal each day.
- Isalean Shakes (can be consumed hot or cold)
- Ionix Supreme Tonic
- Cleanse for Life
- Isagenix Wafers
- Hydrate Sticks
- Isalean Bars
- IsaDelight Chocolates
- Slim Cakes
- Fiber Snacks
- Isalean Soups
- Isaflush and Natural Accelerator Supplements
Dieters can also choose foods like almonds, celery sticks or hard-boiled eggs in place of Isagenix snack products.
When choosing their whole-food meals, dieters are encouraged to select balanced meals high in protein and low in sugar.
Meals revolving around lean proteins like chicken and seafood, vegetables and healthy carbohydrate sources like brown rice are encouraged.
Suggestions for meal ideas from the Isagenix website include:
- Zucchini noodles with grilled shrimp
- Grilled chicken and vegetables atop brown rice
- Pesto salmon with brown rice and grilled vegetables
- Chicken, black bean and vegetable lettuce wraps
- Avocados stuffed with tuna salad
Summary The Isagenix meal plan includes Isagenix products like Isalean shakes and one healthy, whole-food meal per day.
When following the Isagenix 30-day plan, some foods are discouraged.
Foods to avoid include:
- Fast food
- Processed meats like bacon and cold cuts
- Potato chips and crackers
- Deep-fried foods
- Fruit juice
- Instant foods
- Refined carbohydrates like white rice
- Cooking oils
- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
Interestingly, Isagenix urges dieters to forgo added sugar when following their plan, yet the majority of their products (including beverages) contain added sugars.
Summary Foods to avoid when following the Isagenix plan include fast food, refined grains, alcohol and added sugars.
Here is a sample menu for both a “shake day” and a “cleanse day” when following the 30-day weight loss program by Isagenix.
- Before breakfast: One serving of Ionix Supreme and one Natural Accelerator capsule.
- Breakfast: One Isalean Shake.
- Snack: Isagenix SlimCakes.
- Lunch: One Isalean shake.
- Snack: One serving Ionix Supreme and one Isadelight chocolate.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables and brown rice.
- Before Bed: One Isaflush capsule, taken with water.
- Before breakfast: One serving of Ionix Supreme and one Natural Accelerator capsule.
- Breakfast: One serving Cleanse for Life.
- Snack: One IsaDelight Chocolate.
- Lunch: One serving Cleanse for Life.
- Snack: 1/4 of an apple and one serving Cleanse for Life.
- Dinner: One serving Cleanse for Life.
- Before bed: One Isaflush capsule, taken with water.
Summary Isagenix shake and cleanse days revolve around consuming Isagenix products and Isagenix-approved meals and snacks.
Following the Isagenix diet includes purchasing the Isagenix 30-day weight loss system and stocking your fridge with healthy options for non-shake meals and snacks.
Here is a sample shopping list for the Isagenix weight loss system:
- Isagenix products: Isalean shakes, Isalean bars, Isalean soups, Cleanse for Life, etc.
- Isagenix-approved snacks: Almonds, SlimCakes, fruit, fat-free Greek yogurt, Isagenix Fiber Snacks, etc.
- Lean proteins: Chicken, shrimp, fish, eggs, etc.
- Vegetables: Greens, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, etc.
- Fruits: Apples, pears, oranges, grapes, berries, etc.
- Healthy carbs: Brown rice, beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, butternut squash, oats, etc.
- Healthy fats: Avocados, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
- Seasonings and condiments: Herbs, spices, apple cider vinegar, etc.
Summary Foods to purchase when following the Isagenix weight loss system include Isagenix products, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
The Isagenix weight loss system is a popular method to lose excess pounds quickly.
While it may help with weight loss, there are also many downfalls to following this program.
Isagenix products are heavily processed, loaded with sugar and very costly. Plus, Isagenix relies on non-experts to counsel dieters on weight loss and overall health.
While Isagenix may work for short-term weight loss, the most healthful and proven method of sustaining a healthy weight involves following a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods.