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Cleansing Programs Destroy Muscle and Keep Fat

Cleansing programs are marketed as "Fresh" and "Natural."

The most successful cons are ones where the victim doesn't realize they've been robbed. Incredibly it happens every day to people who are trying to diet. Sleazy companies use half-truths, bogus science and outright lies to convince millions that they must "cleanse" their bodies. Here's how the con works.

First, they target their sales pitch. Cons promise to take care of the things you're most concerned with. If you're overweight you're told it's a way to drop pounds. If you're sick the con will promise renewed health or even a cure. If you're tired they claim you'll get more energy and feel rejuvenated.

Once a con has your attention, their next step is to try and gain your confidence. These thieves go to great lengths to make you think they understand your problems. They'll show how they were just like you before the "miracle" came along. They say they're only in business to help people and you should really trust them.

After confidence-building come the claims. In the case of cleansing products, you're often told one of these big lies.

Lie #1: It's important to cleanse our bodies regularly. It's like spring cleaning.

TRUTH: The human body naturally cleanses itself continuously. Your liver, kidneys, lungs and skin flush waste products out through urine, feces and sweat. Going on a "cleanse" won't get rid of anything any quicker than that.

SCARY TRUTH: Cleansing products or programs often include an element of fasting or severely restricted food consumption. Rather than cleansing your body, fasting speeds up the loss of water, sodium and potassium from our system. As blood volume decreases it can trigger low blood pressure and fainting. Carry it out over several days and potassium depletion can trigger a fatal heart rhythm disturbance. A lengthy cleanse (over a week or more) can lead to anemia, kidney or liver damage and even osteoporosis.

From a fitness perspective, cleanses that don't allow food intake every 3-4 hours will destroy lean muscle tissue. Your body hangs onto fat because it believes it's starving and the muscle wastes away.

LIE #2: Cleansing products help sweep away the rotting matter that builds up and gets impacted in our colon.

TRUTH: "Rotting matter" doesn't "build-up" in the colon. Let me repeat that. Your colon does not get "coated" with a buildup of feces that should occasionally be washed out. Anyone who tells you that is LYING or ignorant of basic anatomical facts. Ask any gastroenterologist. (That's a doctor who studies disorders affecting the stomach, intestines, and associated organs.)

While blockages can and do occur, when that happens it's a serious medical condition that must be taken care of by a doctor or trained medical personnel. If you want more "regularity" to your bowel movements, try eating more fiber.

LIE #3: Taking a 3-7 day cleanse is a great way to jump-start a weight loss program.

TRUTH: If you're just drinking lemonade, grapefruit juice, water or some extremely low-calorie cleansing product, you will lose weight. The fundamental rule of dieting is simple. You lose weight when you eat fewer calories than you burn, or when you burn off more calories than you consume.

Unfortunately, any low calorie cleanse will also cause you to lose muscle and slow your metabolism down. When you finish you'll weigh less (because you've lost muscle) but you'll still have just as much unhealthy fat. Instead of that "tight and toned" look, you'll have a "skinny and flabby" look.

Cleansing for a day, a week or even a month isn't going to turn back the clock on years of damage caused by higher fat, higher sugar, higher sodium diets and lack of proper exercise.

Sadly the cons continue because of human nature. Victims that experience initial success, because of the starvation diet portion, tell others. Those that fail keep it to themselves out of shame.

Most cleansing programs (and cons) make it seem like the only reason they wouldn't work is because of YOU. You're the reason those pounds didn't drop off or your illness is still there. It's not because they've sold you a worthless product that has no possibility of long-term success.

As the negative publicity starts to build and lawsuits threaten, the cleansing companies switch names, make small changes to their sales pitch and re-emerge to harm a whole new group of people.

If you see a dietary product or program with the word "cleanse" in it, you're almost assuredly looking at a fraud. Don't waste your time, blow your money or risk your health on something that will not work.

We originally wrote an article similar to this about Detox Programs in 2003. Here's a link to that original article. Notice the similarities between the cons of detox and cleanse?

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Updated 6/27/2011
Updated 1/5/2013
Updated 12/26/2013

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