Is this new diet safe and effective?

We get many letters asking about a new diet called the colon cleansing diet. An ancient practice from Eastern Medicine, bowel cleansing is fast becoming the next fad diet for dieters in the Western world.

What is bowel cleansing and does it safely cause healthy weight loss?


Bowel Cleansing 101

Keeping things simple, bowel cleansing is equal to Western Medicine’s laxative. Practitioners of the colon cleansing diet will argue that their methods are more effective, natural, and completely unrelated to using laxatives.

My point is this: increasing water content in the large colon acts like a “wash” to empty the bowel lumen.

Some Laxatives and “natural” substances used in bowel cleansing both do exactly this…”washing” the colon by trapping water which evacuates undigested food.

Any claims made beyond trapping water simply have not been rigorously studied and represent opinion and theory, at best.

Methods for bowel cleansing are too numerous to cover in this article. The only comment I’ll make about the methods used is the one commonality found in all of them…non-digestible natural substances.

Fiber like substances can be found to some degree in all bowel cleansing methods. Remaining in the bowel (colon) lumen, they trap water increasing the bowel’s water content. This results in increased pressure and tension inside the bowel and results in a large bowel movement consisting of undigested food.

This is what is called “washing” or “cleansing” the bowel.

The Colon Cleansing Diet — A Healthy Weight Loss Option?

A healthy weight loss method promotes fat loss while preserving muscle tissue and water content. Weight loss with the colon cleansing diet results primarily from water loss. This is not a healthy method for losing weight and will cause weight gain soon after the cleansing.

I did find a few small studies that showed the opposite results with some bowel cleansing methods. These particular methods do seem to result in healthy weight loss.

Further investigation of this apparent contradiction revealed that the bowel cleansing methods also placed dieters on a high fiber diet.

Diets high in fiber are significantly lower in calories and if gradually implemented will result in healthy weight loss.

Bowel Cleansing — Is it Safe?

Some bowel cleansing methods are safe but others can be dangerous if abused. Critical electrolytes are also lost in the “washing” or “cleansing” process and if repeated too often can lead to disturbances in your nervous system and heart rhythm.

As far as bowel cleansing is concerned, it’s my opinion that you have better options for helping you lose weight. Here is a much better option:


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If you have any questions about the colon cleansing diet, or any other new diet, please contact us. 

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