Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Isagenix might cleanse your body--but it will definitely cleanse your wallet

One of the most informative sources of fact-based skepticism and useful context regarding Isagenix, and the way shady MLM businesses operate in general, is over at Real Scam, a website forum focused on sorting out what is a scam, and what is not a scam.

In the conversation thread Isagenix: Cleanse your body or your wallet? -- posters share takeaways from the efforts of serious scientifically minded people to figure out if Isagenix is legitimate. The results are dissapointing, such as this exerpt from Harriet Hall, M.D. :

"I didn’t set out to write an article about this. It started when I received an e-mail inquiry about Isagenix. I posted my answer on a discussion list and it was picked up and published on the healthfraudoz website. Sandy Szwarc approved of it and kindly reposted it on her Junkfood Science blog.
As I write, the comments on the healthfraudoz website have reached a total of 176. A few commenters approved of what I wrote, but the majority of commenters tried to defend Isagenix. Their arguments were irrational, incompetent, and sometimes amusing.

It was as if no one had actually read what I wrote. No one bothered to address any of my specific criticisms. No one even tried to defend Isagenix’s false claims that toxicity accounts for most disease, that the body protects itself from toxins by coating them with fat, and that internal organs become clogged and deteriorate if you don’t “cleanse.” No one offered any evidence that “detoxification” improves human health. No one tried to identify any of the alleged toxins or show that they are actually removed. No one tried to provide any rationale for the particular combination of ingredients in Isagenix products (242 of them!).  
No one questioned my assertion that “no caffeine added” was inaccurate because green tea was added and it contains caffeine. No one commented on my observation that the amount of vitamin A in the products was dangerous and went against the recommendations of The Medical Letter. No one offered any evidence that more weight was lost by adding Isagenix to a low calorie diet and exercise. I offered some alternative explanations that might account for people believing it was effective when it wasn’t; no one commented on that. The medical advisor on the Isagenix website argued that at $5 a day Isagenix is less expensive than open heart surgery. I pointed out that that was a laughable false dichotomy: it’s not a matter of choosing between open heart surgery and diet supplements.
No one commented on that. Instead of rational responses, we got …
Rebuttals to Negative Testimonials
“Evidence” that it works
Defense of Multi-Level Marketing
Personal Attacks on Me
Attacks on the Medical Profession
Attacks on Science
Attacks on FDA and Big Pharma
Off-the-Wall False Claims
Try It for Yourself
Haven’t Tried It But Plan To
It’s a Scam
2 Jokes
Funny, Unhelpful, and Bizarre Comments"