Is doing a colon cleanse for weight loss really worth it?

Written by David Brown, Last Updated: August 18, 2016

If it's true that John Wayne's autopsy revealed 40 pounds of accumulated waste in his colon, then how can any of us know how much unnecessary weight we're carrying around in our colons?

What if a single colon cleansing procedure could help you lose anywhere near that much weight?

Losing even half the amount would still be pretty awesome, especially since the colon cleansing procedures are usually finished within one hour.

In this article, I'll take a closer look at what science has to say about this promise of incredibly fast colon cleansing weight loss results.

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How does colon cleansing even work?

Colon cleansing goes under many names, mostly because there are many different ways of performing it. It can also be called "colonic irrigation", "colon hydrotherapy", or simply a "colonic".

Colon cleansing basically triggers rapid bowel movement, rushing you to the toilet pretty soon afterwards. Some aggressive colon cleansers will even put you through a difficult, diarrhea-like experience.

If you wanted to cleanse your colon on your own, you can choose between many different liquids (including water) or powders. You can simply drink some of that stuff down, or you can take them rectally.

If you are anything like me, you would definitely choose a colon cleanser you can simply drink down (like Super colon cleanse for example), and not the stuff you need to insert where things are generally only supposed to come out. If you insist on using the backdoor entrance, then at least consider visiting an experienced professional.

No matter which option you choose, a colon cleansing procedure will flush most of the fecal matter out of your colon pretty quickly. As soon as your colon is emptied out, you will weigh less pretty much instantly.

But is this really something to write home about?

In fact, a similar thing happens pretty much every time you visit the toilet. If everything goes well, you weigh less upon leaving the bathroom, than you weighted upon entering.

So, the real question is, can colon cleansing be any more effective for weight loss than regular bowel movements?

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How much weight can you realistically expect to lose?

Science actually has a few interesting things to say about colon cleansing. In a study that focused on how colon cleansing affects weight loss, people lost 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms) on average.

It looks like science is falling a bit short of the "up to 40 pounds of weight loss" promise. But hold on, it does get better.


Another study compared different methods of colon cleansing to see how powerful different cleansers can be. The most effective colon cleansing method resulted in an immediate 6.6 pound (3 kilograms) weight loss.

Yes, this is better. Nowhere near 40, but better. But you need to understand something about these results.

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Have the benefits of colon cleansing ever been confirmed by science?

These "industrial strength" colon cleansers are used in medicine mostly to prepare people for operating procedures. In other words, the studies on colon cleansing have not been conducted with colon cleansing or weight loss in mind.

In fact, modern medicine knows nothing about "accumulated fecal matter" that can supposedly be stuck on the walls of your colon (and flushed out with a colonic).

Modern medicine can detect tumors, cancerous cells, bone fractures, damaged organs and countless other anomalies in our bodies. Yet, somehow, we are supposed to believe that it missed the "up to 40 pounds" of accumulated fecal matter that we could supposedly be carrying around in our colons?

If one of the top "industrial strength" colon cleansers (that can only be prescribed by a doctor), can help us get rid of a little more than 6 pounds of feces, then how are we supposed to believe that the commercially available stuff can work 6-7 times better than that?

Most of the colon cleansing is performed using plain water anyway. Need I say more?

I have found a great article that rips apart many claims made by the proponents of colon cleansing. No colorectal surgeon has ever been able to confirm anything even remotely resembling a thick layer of matter forming on the colon wall.

Oh, and while the supposed health benefits (including weight loss) have yet to be confirmed, quite a few adverse side effects have actually been linked to colon cleansing (vomiting, bloating, cramping, renal failure and even death).

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The final verdict on colon cleansing for weight loss

In absence of any kind of evidence, I have to conclude that colon cleansing DOES NOT WORK for actual weight loss.

While the number on the scale can drop by as much as 6 pounds (confirmed only with an "industrial strength" colon cleanser), this only means your regular stool was emptied out.

As soon as you eat again, your colon will fill back up. After a few solid meals, your weight will simply return to normal.

The way I see it, you will spend your time and money, take on a couple of health risks, without receiving any science-proven benefits whatsoever.

Colon cleansing is only one of the many examples where seemingly great weight loss results can be completely deceiving.

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David Brown

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