Shortcuts

August 14th, 2009, by

Master Advertising!

Let me start by warning you that there aren't any worthwhile shortcuts in life. If you want something, you are going to have to earn it. The same holds true when it comes to weight loss. Crash diets, magic pills, and cleanses are all marketing scams targeted at those of you who are looking for something quick and easy.

I received an email from a friend yesterday asking about the Master Cleanse. Sure, the advertising looks pretty and promises things that we would all want, but proceed with caution. Here was my response:

Play along for a minute, will you?

How many calories a day do you typically consume?

Subtract 750 from that number.

Multiply your new number by 7.

Now, divide that number by 3500.

What did you come up with?

I bet it is somewhere around 2-6.

In theory, that is the number of pounds of fat you would lose while on this "detox diet" for a week if "calorie in/calorie out" worked the way most people wanted it to. Instead, your body will begin to slow down to preserve as much energy as possible. Remember, you aren't fat because you are lazy and eat too much, but rather, you eat too much and are lazy because you are already fat. Check out my post on "calorie in/calorie out" for further details.

In reality, you may lose that amount of weight, but I give you the Bill Yundt GUARANTEE that it will not be fat. Instead, it will be lost water weight. Hopefully you don't dehydrate too much while trying to force a laxative diet on your body.

Think about the components of the drink and tell me it isn't a lemonade laxative. Water, OK we need that to live. Lemon juice, has nothing to offer except flavor and some sugar. Maple syrup, why maple syrup? Once in your body, sugar is sugar is sugar. It will be broken down into fructose and glucose and handled appropriately. The fact that it is maple syrup plays on people's gullibility. It tricks you into thinking it is something magical. Cayenne pepper, to irritate your gut and hopefully cause diarrhea and thus increase the amount of weight lost.

Now, I know that almost everyone who does the cleanse is doing it for quick and easy weight loss and justifies it by touting some bullshit health reasons.

There is nothing, I repeat, nothing healthy about a sugary laxative. I am being 100% serious here. It is harmful and can KILL you. You do your body more harm than good during this week or two of "cleansing" and the weight will come right back on as soon as you return to feeding your body. Not to mention the additional bloating that will result from starving yourself and then returning to normal eating.

In the words of one of my dearest friends, "What the french, toast?!"

As an alternative, why don't you give up carbs instead and lose the same water weight without having to worry about having enough energy to tie your own shoes or better yet, enough energy to LIVE!

Limit the carbs to less than 20g/day for 10 days and only from green vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. You can even forgo the carbs altogether and just eat ribeyes until you are busting at the seems.

Lovingly,
Common Sense

Now, there is something I clearly forgot to touch on in my reply. That is, insulin resistance. This specific detox drink contains almost 200g of sugar! Consuming that much sugar every day is not going to help anyone correct their insulin issues. Chances are, if you are doing this diet, you have some weight you would like to lose. You are also more than likely already insulin resistant, so consuming more sugar is not going to be very productive.

If you have tried some sort of nutritional shortcut in the past, share your experience in the comments.

10 Responses to "Shortcuts"

  • I tried not eating once. It worked but wasn't a fun experience. I cut my food intake to such an extent that my toes and nose were cold to the touch in the middle of summer. I did learn a lot about how food affected my body but not nearly as much as I've learned on your nutrition blog Bill. I'm a lot happier on the Paleo diet because I really like to eat!

    ps - This was during a weight loss contest and I won 2k - I'm really competitive if you haven't noticed :)

  • Mark and I actually tried the Master Cleanse last year. I only could do 2 days of it because I would almost throw up every time I would drink the stuff. My body did not like that stuff at all. So, I can't say anything about what the results were for me because I didn't have any. Mark did do the whole thing and was just tired all the time. Working out was not even possible because he had no energy at all.
    All I know is that I won't do that again!

  • The Master Cleanse:

    Well as someone who has done it, I can say that it's a waste of your time. The hook is supposed to be that you are cleansing out toxins and allowing yourself the ability to then reabsorb proper nutrients better, however the burden of proof lies with the proponents of the cleanse, who have no real leg to stand on nutritionally as Bill pointed out. Of course you lose some weight, you're not eating, and merely drinking what tastes like battery acid for a week. I mean heck I could come up with a cleanse, drink nothing but Drano for a week, if you live, you're gonna lose some serious weight. My suggestion to anyone who wants to try a more natural way of cleansing the body is intermittent fasting. I believe that is also endorsed by a lot of strict paleo-dieters, and has been around for thousands of years proving to be beneficial not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

  • By the way, Bill could you explain to me why no MILK? I've googled this one a dozen times and can't seem to find a good explanation for why paleo eaters don't do milk, what happened to "it does a body good?"

  • The only thing I would advise is that you only play with intermittent fasting when the other stresses in your life are at a minimum. The additional stress (and cortisol production to combat it) from intermittent fasting will do more harm than good if already under a lot of stress.

  • Mark - First off, "it does a body good" was coined by the dairy industry. Thus, don't put much stock into that as we should all expect them to support their own product. Secondly, cow's milk wasn't consumed by humans until after the rather recent domestication of cattle. The milk readily available today is pasteurized and homogenized, meaning it was heated, killing the good bacteria. Most of the fat is then also removed and the result is simply another frankenfood. Now, it is possible to get your hands on raw (unpasteurized, non-homogenized), grass-fed milk, but your decision on whether or not to consume it will be decided by your goals. This is because milk is great for stimulating growth (it is very calorie/nutrient dense to the tune of 2500+ calories per gallon), but doesn't offer anything in the way of vitamins and nutrients that you couldn't get elsewhere. That is why infants (humans and other mammals alike) do so well on the milk of their mother. If you were trying to gain substantial body mass, I would suggest you try paleo with a gallon of raw milk a day. For the rest of us who aren't interested in putting on weight, milk is best left to growing babies.

  • What you didn't mention was that the Master Cleanse diet also requires you to take an actual laxative every night to help clean you out. I think Amazon even sells a kit with everything in it...I had looked into it, but decided against it - I had a buddy who did it with his hippy wife and they got no results at all.

  • Jeff - You are correct. Why not just head on over to white castle though with a pot of coffee? That should have the same "cleansing" effect of the laxative :) As we all know by now though, results must be earned. They typically do not come free or easy.