Was John Wayne really unknowingly stuck with 40 pounds of accumulated waste in his colon? How can you know how much unnecessary weight you’re carrying around in your colon? What if a single colon cleansing procedure could actually help you lose anywhere near that much weight? Losing even half the amount would still be pretty incredible, especially since the colon cleansing procedure usually doesn't take more than an hour.
I'm sorry, we haven't even been properly introduced. My name is Rok, and my regular readers know me as the guy who takes a really close look at any weight loss claims. The more incredible the claims, the closer look I take. I rely on a combination of science, common sense, and even conduct personal experiments where necessary. Now, let’s see if there is any truth to this colon cleansing thing.
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, 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?
Photo: © Nastja Pungracic Photography
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.
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).
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), I have to assume this only means your regular stool was emptied out.
As soon as you eat again, your colon will also start filling back up. After a few solid meals, your weight will simply return to normal.
The way I see it, you will spend some of your time and money and take on a few health risks, while receiving no proven benefits whatsoever.
I have been working in the weight loss industry long enough to know that it’s full of myths, hype and false ideas. Colon cleansing is only one of the many examples where seemingly great weight loss results can be completely deceiving.
To find out what is the only thing that really counts as weight loss (and how to measure it) you can subscribe to my newsletter to download my free ebook "The Truth Behind The Number On The Scale". You will also be receiving a newsletter with psychology tips that will empower you to take complete control over your diet. But don’t take my word for it, drop your email in the box, and see for yourself.