An overwhelming number of products are marketed for their purported ability to cleanse and detox your body.
People around the world use different types of cleanses hoping to quickly lose weight or rid their body of built up toxins.
The It Works Cleanse is a two-day liquid cleanse program that promises to improve health by flooding your body with nutrients while promoting weight loss and removing toxins from your system.
This article reviews the It Works Cleanse, including how it works, its potential side effects, and whether it’s worthwhile.
DIET REVIEW SCORECARD
- Overall score: 1.0
- Weight loss: 0.5
- Healthy eating: 1
- Sustainability: 1.5
- Whole body health: 0
- Nutrition quality: 1.5
- Evidence based: 1.5
BOTTOM LINE: The It Works Cleanse is a two-day program consisting of special drinks, supplements, and diet tips that promises to rid your body of toxins and help you lose weight. Evidence to support these claims is lacking.
It Works is a company that sells nutritional supplements, beauty products, and more.
The company was started by Mark Pentecost in 2001. Like many other popular weight loss companies, It Works is a multi-level marketing business, meaning the company depends on non-salaried individuals to sell their products.
Both the company and the thousands of non-salaried distributors that sell It Works products make money from the sales. It’s important to note that the majority of these distributors have no nutrition education.
What is the It Works Cleanse?
The It Works Cleanse is a two-day cleanse sold by It Works distributors and on the It Works website. The two-day cleanse consists of four 4-ounce (117-ml) bottles of a liquid nutritional blend.
During the two consecutive days, those following the program drink one bottle of the It Works Cleanse before breakfast and dinner. You’re also encouraged to drink at least 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water and to “maintain a healthy, well-balanced” diet.
According to the It Works website, “bad” foods like saturated fats, white potatoes, packaged foods, and soda, should be avoided during the two-day cleanse.
To be successful, It Works also suggests that dieters follow arbitrary rules during the cleanse like avoiding eating “portions of food larger than the palm of your hand.”
The Cleanse drinks are meant to be used for two consecutive days every month as part of the It Works Wrap.Remove.Reboot System for maximum results. Aside from the drinks, this system also includes:
- The Ultimate Body Applicator. This is a body wrap containing a supposedly “powerful, botanically-based cream formula,” said to tighten, tone, and firm body parts. The wraps are meant to be used every three days.
- Greens Berry and ThermoFight. These are supplements, said to work synergistically to “alkalize” your body and “reboot and fire up” your metabolism. It’s suggested to take both supplements daily.
The body wraps are the initial Wrap step of the program, followed by the Cleanse drinks for the Remove step, while the third and last step includes the Reboot supplements to finish the system.
The It Works Cleanse includes a nutritional drink meant to be consumed for two consecutive days alongside other products in the Wrap.Remove.Reboot system.
The It Works cleanse targets customers who are looking to detox and shed weight quickly.
Though the website does not promise weight loss when using the cleanse, there are many testimonials available online of how the two-day It Works Cleanse resulted in drastic weight loss. Keep in mind that many of these testimonials are by It Works distributors.
That said, there is no evidence — aside from personal testimonials — that these products effectively promote weight loss.
The It Works Cleanse is not effective for weight loss
According to the It Works website, One 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of the Cleanse drink contains (1):
- Calories: 80
- Carbs: 9 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams — or 24% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Sugar: 13 grams — the equivalent of 3.3 teaspoons
- Vitamin B6: 400% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 500% of the DV
- Magnesium: 30% of the DV
- Potassium: 3% of the DV
The Cleanse drink is made from a proprietary blend of herbs that includes aloe vera, blue agave, and various extracts like beetroot, ginger, pineapple, and green tea. However, the amounts of these compounds in the drink are not listed.
Other ingredients include beet sugar, natural flavors, and preservatives — including sodium benzoate and sodium hexametaphosphate.
While some ingredients in the It Works Cleanse have been associated with weight loss, evidence to suggest that the cleanse itself will help you shed weight is lacking.
For instance, studies have shown green tea extract to promote weight loss. However, most of these studies used a high dose of green tea extract over a long period.
A study in 102 overweight women demonstrated that supplementing with a high dose of 857 mg of green tea extract for 12 weeks resulted in significant weight loss compared to a placebo group (
The amount of green tea extract in the It Works Cleanse is unknown but likely small and unlikely to have any effect on your weight.
The drinks contain 6 grams of fiber per serving, mostly a type of fiber called inulin. Fiber helps support digestive health and increases feelings of fullness — which may help you lose weight.
Still, increasing your fiber intake for just two days will not result in lasting weight loss — unless the habit is continued long term (
Additionally, added sugar in the Cleanse drinks can have a detrimental effect on weight loss. Added sugars — especially from sugar-sweetened beverages — are strongly linked to weight gain, obesity, and other health conditions like diabetes (
Furthermore, while it’s possible that cutting out unhealthy foods — as suggested when following the It Works Cleanse — will promote weight loss, it’s doubtful that any significant fat loss would occur in just two days.
Most personal accounts of drastic weight loss experienced on the two-day cleanse can likely be attributed to fluid weight loss as a result of cutting out salty and refined foods and increasing water intake (
Evidence does not support the effectiveness of the It Works Cleanse on weight loss. While they may contain some healthy ingredients, the Cleanse drinks are also loaded with sugar.
The It Works Cleanse has a few potential benefits, mostly related to the vitamins and minerals that the Cleanse drinks contain.
For example, one 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle provides 400% of the DV for vitamin B6, 500% of the DV for B12, and 30% of the DV for magnesium. While B vitamins and magnesium are abundant in many foods, many people don’t get enough of these nutrients (1).
Theoretically, drinking beverages that contain high amounts of these vitamins — like the It Works Cleanse drinks — may help some people meet their nutrient needs. However, the same can be said for simply increasing your dietary intake of whole, nutritious foods.
Additionally, the general diet recommendations suggested during the two-day cleanse — like avoiding eating refined foods and added sugars — can improve health and promote weight loss. Still, no significant results would be seen over such a short time period (
The It Works Cleanse drinks contain high amounts of B vitamins and magnesium, which may improve your nutrient intake.
The It Works Cleanse has some significant downsides that you should be aware of before investing in the program.
No evidence to support its benefits
Most importantly, scientific evidence does not support the detox claims made on the It Works website or the rapid weight loss promised in user testimonials.
You should be wary of any plan that suggests that its products can help your body “clean out toxins.”
Your body has a system dedicated to constant detoxification. This system includes your liver, kidneys, lungs, digestive system, and skin. It does not require a sugary drink to function optimally.
Though some of the ingredients in the Cleanse drinks, such as milk thistle, have been shown to support liver health, it’s unclear whether the amounts found in these drinks would benefit your liver’s natural detoxification function.
For example, some studies indicate that supplementing with milk thistle — or its main active component, silymarin — can help support liver function and protect liver health.
Still, most studies showing these positive effects used large doses of up to several grams per day of milk thistle (
Being that It Works only lists ingredients as part of a proprietary blend and does not disclose exactly how much of each ingredient you’re consuming, it’s likely that these drinks contain only trace amounts of the listed ingredients.
High in added sugars
The added sugar in It Works Cleanse drinks may have negative impacts on your body. The cleanse drinks contain 13 grams — a whopping 3.3 teaspoons — of sugar per 4-ounce (117-ml) serving (1).
Because It Works does not disclose how much of that sugar comes from natural fruit extracts, it’s likely that most of the sugar comes from the beet sugar used to make the beverage taste sweet.
Added sugar does not only contribute to weight gain and chronic health conditions like heart disease but can also harm your gut health — one of the things that It Works claims the Cleanse benefits.
Animal studies have also linked added sugars to liver inflammation, which directly impacts how well your liver can naturally detoxify your body (
Ironically, even though those following the cleanse are instructed to refrain from high-sugar foods to optimize results, the Cleanse drinks themselves contain a good amount of added sugar.
Costly and unnecessary
The It Works Cleanse is expensive, with a 2-day cleanse consisting of four 4-ounce (117-ml) Cleanse drinks costing $60.00.
With $60, you could easily purchase nutritious, whole foods for a few days that better support your health.
What’s more, the It Works Cleanse focuses on short-term weight loss rather than consistent changes over time. This is problematic, as it may lead consumers to believe that unrealistic weight loss goals are achievable.
Many diets and cleanses promise quick weight loss and miraculous detoxification — but, the truth is, there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss or improving your health.
Instead, by making an effort to eat more nutritious foods, reduce stress, and increase activity levels, you can make lasting changes that have been scientifically proven to promote health and help you lose weight.
The It Works Cleanse has significant downsides. Evidence to back up detox or weight loss claims is lacking, and the cleanse is expensive and unnecessary.
The It Works website provides information on foods to eat during the two-day cleanse and encourages healthy eating to better “reset and rebalance your system.”
The following foods and beverages are allowed on the It Works two-day cleanse program (15):
- It Works Cleanse drinks. A 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle is meant to be consumed before breakfast and dinner for 2 consecutive days.
- Fresh produce. All fresh fruits and vegetables are allowed, including apples, plums, greens, peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- Unsaturated fats. Canola oil, olive oil, avocados, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds are permitted.
- Lean proteins. You may eat lean proteins, such as egg whites, fish, chicken, and turkey.
- Whole grains and starches. The program allows foods, such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat pasta, and beans.
- Low-fat dairy. Low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, and low-fat cottage cheese are permitted.
- Beverages. Aside from the Cleanse drinks, you should drink water and non-caloric beverages like herbal tea.
- It Works Products. Other It Works Products — like the It Works Greens Blend — are allowed during the cleanse.
It Works products, fresh produce, lean protein sources, low-fat dairy, and unsaturated fats are allowed when following the two-day cleanse.
It Works Suggests that those following the two-day cleanse avoid certain foods — some of which are, in fact, healthy. For example, all saturated fats, white potatoes, and canned fruits and vegetables are off limits.
The website marks canned foods as “processed,” saturated fats as fats that “clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease,” and white potatoes as “bad carbs” that cause weight gain.
These claims are mostly false and misleading and can cause those following the cleanse to develop unwarranted food fears.
According to the company, the following foods should be avoided on the It Works Cleanse (15):
- “Bad fats:” cheese, full-fat dairy, fried foods, and butter
- Sugary foods and beverages: chocolate, ice cream, cake, and cookies
- Packaged and canned foods: crackers, cereal, popcorn, chips, microwave meals, and canned fruits and vegetables
- “Bad carbs:” white rice, white potatoes, white bread, white pasta, and white sugar
- Processed foods: frozen dinners, cake mixes, and fast food
Sugary foods, saturated fats, canned foods, and refined carbs like white bread are off limits when following the It Works Cleanse.
The following is a three-day It Works Cleanse sample menu:
- Breakfast: a 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of It Works Cleanse drink followed by oatmeal made with low-fat milk topped with blueberries and pumpkin seeds
- Lunch: a turkey burger on a whole-wheat bun served with a side salad with balsamic vinaigrette
- Dinner: a 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of It Works Cleanse drink followed by broiled cod with sweet potato and vegetables
- Breakfast: a 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of It Works Cleanse drink followed by an egg white, avocado, and spinach omelet
- Lunch: chicken noodle soup made with chicken, vegetables, and whole-wheat noodles
- Dinner: a 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of It Works Cleanse drink followed by sweet potato and chickpea stew
- Breakfast: a 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of It Works Cleanse drink followed by whole-wheat toast topped with avocado and sliced tomatoes
- Lunch: fish tacos served in whole-wheat tortillas
- Dinner: a 4-ounce (117-ml) bottle of It Works Cleanse drink followed by baked chicken breast, brown rice, and roasted broccoli
Aside from the It Works Cleanse beverages, water is the recommended drink of choice when following the two-day cleanse.
The It Works Cleanse consists of drinking two daily servings of It Works Cleanse drinks whilst following a diet rich in produce, unsaturated fats, and whole grains.
The It Works Cleanse is a two-day program consisting of special drinks, supplements, and diet tips that promises to rid your body of toxins and help you lose weight.
However, scientific evidence to support either of these claims is lacking, and investing in this program may be a waste of your money.
Although the diet recommended during the cleanse is likely to help you lose weight if adopted long term, using any method of weight loss over only two days is unlikely to result in any significant or meaningful weight loss.
Choosing evidence-based ways to improve your body’s detoxification system and lose weight — such as adopting a healthier diet and sticking to it over time — is a far better choice for health.