REAL food is REAL health.

In this post, we’ll talk about how diet fads and consumer sold MLMs can undermine real nutrition education.

Consider me triggered, guys. I’m frustrated.

➡I’m frustrated for anyone who has wanted to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable fashion.

➡I’m feeling for those who are challenged with hypothyroidism and willing to try anything to drop a few pounds.

➡For moms who want their baby weight off.

➡For dads who want to shed some pounds.

▶Most of all, I’m truly frustrated for those who have such joy in helping others that these MLM structured programs have lured them into their money trap and distracted a potential nutrition professional. We could really use compassionate providers out here in the health and wellness world!

Now that we’ve gotten past that, let’s talk about WHY these programs can be harmful when they appear to look helpful.

 

🥝 Let’s talk about SUGAR. 🍇

It’s addictive right? Actually, not really. 

As obesity rates continue to climb, the idea that overconsumption creates a “food addiction” has become increasingly popular. It’s said that sugar acts as an addictive agent, eliciting neurobiological changes similar to those seen in drug addiction. The idea behind this actually originated from study on how rats respond to sugar being introduced to them as a food source, then being removed for 36 hours and reintroduced. Uhhh.. yeah, I’d go for it too!

Sugar is naturally derived in many healthy food options, and if it was an addicting element we’d be eating sugar out of our canisters. Most of these diet programs pitch sugar as harmful, and don’t promote eating fruits and certain vegetables because of this. REAL FOOD is important to your REAL functioning body, it needs these nutrients derived from their organic source.

 

Since we’re sharing some REAL information here, let’s point out some popular programs.

First up, Isagenix.

For my initial research into this program, I had a lovely and very intelligent woman who sells their products come to my office and help inform me on their products, the program, and how this MLM works. 

▶Here are the claims:

  • Weight loss through a low-calorie diet
  • Satisfy cravings for unhealthy food through shakes
  • Improve muscle tone (??)

So for $350+ dollars, you can try their 30-Day system which consists of “shake days” and “cleanse days.” This promotes replacing unhealthy food with meal replacement shakes. Or you could just.. I don’t know.. Eat healthy food for way cheaper? 🤷🏽‍♂️

On your shake days, you’ll also be taking supplements that tout increasing your metabolism and burning your fat. There are no research-proven supplements that increase your metabolism or “burn” your fat. Period.

At night you’ll enjoy a laxative called IsaFlush which can “safely improve digestion.” This is not a safe, long term practice. 

And finally, we’ve got multivitamins and cleanse days. I’m all about a great multivitamin for those who are working towards a balanced diet, specifically a high quality multivitamin from a research-proven, reputable company. These? Nope. Why is this not included in your “meals?”

You’re also expected to do cleanse days.

Our body is fabulously capable at cleaning out toxins all on its own. We do not need to cleanse if we have kidneys, a liver, and lungs. Folks with compromised systems should be under the care of a Registered Dietitian. I’d like to make a point and say that even intelligent folks selling these products don’t have the scope of practice to discuss your optimal nutrition with you unless they have a nutritional background.

So that’s the end of that. You can make your own assumptions if this is how you’d like to fuel your body. 

 

Moving on, Optavia.

I took the same courtesy here as I did with Isagenix, I enjoyed a very thorough and detailed call with a coach from Optavia to help me understand their products and how the program works. I will be honest and say initially I was very triggered by this particular program, as it advertises their salesperson as a “health coach.” Frequently I see them use #certifiedhealthcoach which is actually a credential only credited to folks who complete a certified health coaching program, generally taking one to two years for proper support and accountability education. It DOES NOT include nutrition education, which are reserved for those of us in the nutrition field with degrees, certifications, and clinical education as an RDN. 

Let’s dive into their most popular program, the 5 and 1.

 

▶Here are the details:

  • You’ll receive ‘fuelings’, which are pre-packaged meals. 
  • One or more ‘Lean and Green’ meals. 
  • Fresh fruit is not on the plan, and neither is dairy. Exercise is not recommended in the beginning stages. (⁉)

You’re looking at roughly 800-1000 calories per day. Excuse me, I would be STARVING and HANGRY. Will you lose weight like this? Well of course, it’s simple math. Will you also lose muscle? Yes, which is bad. Is this sustainable long term? Absolutely not, and it’s certainly not safe for long term use.

My main question here is: what’s happening to these folks who come off of this VERY restricted and structured program? The coach I spoke with felt that half of her clients had continued success, and the other half didn’t.

I checked some statistics and here’s what I found: At the 86-week mark, most if not all participants had put back on all of their lost weight minus 3-5 pounds. This is what weight loss with NO nutrition education looks like. It’s not sustainable.

REAL food means REAL health!

My issue here is with someone selling something to the same person they were supposed to be coaching, or supporting, which is a supreme conflict of interest. 

For $425 a month you could buy a significant amount of delicious groceries each month, and actually enjoy your food. 👍

What I’d like to see come from this knowledge is that, yes, your friends and family who are selling these products usually have good intentions for you and your health. What I’d like you to consider is if it’s not real food, it’s not real healthIf you find yourself being drawn to helping people with their nutrition, invest in education! The more our communities can learn about what clean eating looks like, the better.

 

Put those meal replacements aside and get educated on what optimal nutrition looks like for you and your loved ones, pass on healthy eating habits to your kids, and feel better about food. 

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