Introduction: There is a recent increase in the number of "cleanse" and "detox" programs available for purchase in the marketplace, some costing close to $100 per day. Many programs promise weight loss of up to 10 pounds in one week; other programs tout increased energy, reduction in built-up toxins, and anti-aging; whereas other programs promise evacuation of contents in the colon. Up until last week, I thought this was all a bunch of crap (pun intended).
Study Objective: Unscientifically evaluate a detox program, specifically, the David Kirsch 5-Day Detox (one of the most economical, and in the opinion of this Dr. Dork, most reasonable detox programs available), by following the program myself and happily accepting the offers of friends and family to follow it at the same time as me.
Methods: There were a total of 6 SHEs in this made-up, unscientific study. Three (me, Veronica Mexico, and Colon Queen) purchased the David Kirsch program and followed the kit instructions, which included a detox drink in the morning, followed by a protein shake for breakfast (most of us used Myoplex). Lunch was a small piece of chicken or fish with lettuce and squeezed lemon. Dinner was either another protein shake or the chicken/lettuce lunch. Several other David Kirsch products were included on an 'as needed' basis, specifically Thermobubbles and Vitamin Super Juice Drink.
Three other SHEs (Nena, my mom, my sister) followed the same diet instructions (protein shakes, chicken, lettuce), but without the inclusion of the David Kirsch products. Therefore, these ladies acted as a control group.
All participants e-mailed/texted each other daily for support/venting/bitching.
Weight Loss: The three SHEs following the David Kirsch program each lost a total of 7.5, 6, and 4 pounds after the 5-day program. The "control group" lost a total of 6.5, 7.5, and 7.5 pounds.
Hunger: All of the ladies were starving on days 1-3. By day 4, things got a little bit better and by day 5, most everyone felt pretty good. There was no discernible difference between those on the official program versus the control.
Mood: Similar to hunger, almost everyone was angry, miserable, and crabby the first 3 days. Most e-mails/texts had at least one swear word, usually the really bad ones. By day 4, most everyone was feeling better and the profanities waned. For some, days 4 and 5 felt fantastic.
Conclusion: Overall, everyone was quite pleased with themselves. The weight loss was inspiring (even though we all realize that much of our weight lost was water) and all of us continue to include some aspects of the program in our lives (e.g., the protein shakes). The best part of the program was the support system we built in by all doing it together. It is much easier to be hungry and miserable if you have friends that are also hungry and miserable. The hard part of the program was the chicken overdosing. Few of us were chicken fans to begin with and now we're even less so. It would be nice to have alternative lean protein option beyond chicken and fish. Same goes for the lettuce.
We also had to add in a few other things to make the week manageable. We all added another protein shake in the mid-afternoon and some of us drank coconut water. Since we all exercise on a daily basis, some of us were feeling weak and crampy. My guess is that we were not consuming enough sodium to replace that which is lost during sweating, hence the addition of the coconut water. I was also salting my lettuce since I have low blood pressure and needed the salt to see straight. A little modification was necessary to keep on track!
At the end of the week, we all agreed that we would do it again! But not for a really long time. :)
Personal note: First off, thanks to my volunteers who so graciously took this journey with me! I would NEVER have made it past lunch on day 1 without you. You all are amazing, with or without your toxins.
And finally, if anyone reading this decides to try this detox program or a similar one, do not, under any circumstances, have a laser peel the same day you start the program...it is one thing to be hungry, but to be hungry and have your red face peeling off in sheets and floating in the air around you....it's just unbearable. I'd rather have a colonoscopy.