The average person carries 5 or more pounds of waste in her colon, according to the website Colon Health. Doing a colon cleanse will cause you to eliminate that waste and drop those pounds. The weight loss won't be permanent, though, because you'll continue to eat, digest and eliminate food. Instead of taking an herbal supplement to shed the waste and drop the pounds, talk with your doctor about more permanent ways to lose weight -- if that's what you need to do.
Colon cleanse proponents attribute a variety of health problems to poor colon health. They claim that eating unhealthy foods causes toxins and fat to stick to the walls of your intestines, causing weight gain and poor health. Eating foods with preservatives, additives, artificial dyes, sweeteners and fats causes your colon to build up toxins. The purpose of a colon cleanse is to sweep away these toxic chemicals and eliminate waste to help you lose weight.
A typical colon cleanse involves dietary modification and the use of an herbal supplement. Most cleanse plans last 10 or more days. During the cleanse, a dieter eats small amounts of fruits and vegetables and avoids all processed foods. Taking psyllium husk or bentonite clay helps you move waste through your colon, increasing the frequency of your bowel movements.
Many colon cleanse practitioners lose weight because they clear waste products from their intestines. During a colon cleanse, you may have five or six bowel movements per day. These frequent bowel movements eliminate the waste that normally builds up in your digestive tract. According to the commercial Best Colon Cleanse website, some people lose 10 or more pounds during the cleansing process.
Advocates of colon cleansing claim that doing a cleanse helps you lose weight, improves your energy levels, reduces abdominal discomfort, improves skin clarity and boosts your overall mood. But this may be because you've cut sugars and processed foods from your diet, not because your colon is cleaner.
Although common colon cleansing procedures help you lose weight, they carry risks. Dr. Michael Picco, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic, says that colon cleansing can cause bowel perforations, infections and dehydration. The procedure may not be appropriate for people with kidney disease, heart disease and other chronic medical problems. Conventional medicine practitioners also note that your body naturally eliminates toxins, making colon cleansing unnecessary as a detoxification method. Discuss the risks of colon cleansing with a doctor to determine whether it is a safe choice for you.
Lawrence Adams' work has appeared in the "Marquette Literary Review" and "Broadview Press." He has a Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University in writing-intensity English and classical studies, with a minor in biology, and a Master of Arts in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.