An ancient practice from Eastern Medicine, bowel cleansing is fast becoming the next new diet for the Western world.
What is bowel cleansing and does it safely cause healthy weight loss?
Bowel Cleansing 101
Keeping things simple, bowel cleansing is equal to Western Medicine’s laxative. Practitioners of bowel cleansing will argue that their methods are more effective, natural, and completely unrelated to using laxatives.
My point is this: increasing water content in the large colon acts like a “wash” to empty the bowel lumen.
Some Laxatives and “natural” substances used in bowel cleansing both do exactly this…”washing” the colon by trapping water which evacuates undigested food.
Any claims made beyond trapping water simply have not been rigorously studied and represent opinion and theory, at best.
Methods for bowel cleansing are too numerous to cover in this article. The only comment I’ll make is about the one commonality found in all of them…non-digestible natural substances.
Fiber like substances can be found to some degree in all bowel cleansing methods. Remaining in the bowel (colon) lumen, they trap water increasing the bowel’s water content. This results in increased pressure and tension inside the bowel and results in a large bowel movement consisting of undigested food.
This is what is called “washing” or “cleansing” the bowel.
Bowel Cleansing — A Healthy New Diet Option?
A healthy weight loss method promotes fat loss while preserving muscle tissue and water content. Weight loss by bowel cleansing results primarily from water loss. This is not a healthy method for losing weight and will cause weight gain soon after the cleansing.
I did find a few small studies that showed the opposite results with some bowel cleansing methods. These particular methods do seem to result in healthy weight loss.
Further investigation of this apparent contradiction revealed that the bowel cleansing methods also placed dieters on a high fiber diet.
Diets high in fiber are significantly lower in calories and if gradually implemented will result in healthy weight loss.
Bowel Cleansing — Is it Safe as a New Diet?
Some bowel cleansing methods are safe but others can be dangerous if abused. Critical electrolytes are also lost in the “washing” or “cleansing” process and if repeated too often can lead to disturbances in your nervous system and heart rhythm.
Before you start a new diet, use the new diet Safety Checklist. Make sure it’s safe and won’t cause you harm.
As far as bowel cleansing is concerned, it’s my opinion that you have better options for helping you lose weight.
To Healthy Living!
Michael A. Smith, MD
Chief Medical Consultant
Diet Basics Website
Dr. Smith is the Chief Medical Consultant for the Diet Basics website. His articles, RSS Feed, and newsletter, Annals of Diet Basics, are fast becoming the net’s best weight loss resource. Check out his newsletter, Annals of Diet Basics [http://www.weight-loss-professional.com/annals-diet-basics.html], and receive the power to continuously update and improve any diet plan you want to start.