I often get asked if popular get-skinny-quick products are “good.” The one I’ve been asked about a lot lately is Plexus, in particular the pink drink. This is, in part, is due to the crazy amount of advertising blasted all over facebook or other social media about the fabulous benefits of these products.
How can the reviews of the Plexus products be almost 100% positive? From what I can tell, there have been no 3rd party testing done. Seeing things over and over again like these positive testimonials and reviews all over social media leads to confirmation bias. It’s akin to the barrage of our fat-phobic advertising from the 90s that still persists today. We’ve heard it so much we believe it couldn’t possibly be true! This is where we have to be careful not to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid, or in this case, the "pink drink." Here is my Honest Review of Plexus.
I went to the website of this very popular product line. I looked at several of the products and analyzed the ingredients. If you remember from other posts I look at labels a lot differently than a person who is not a nutritionist. Yes, I’ve seen the testimonials of these and many other companies where people have lost tons of weight and have the energy and vitality of 16 year old just by drinking this or blocking that. I’m certain people do lose weight. I’m certain people can feel more energy. I’m certain their guts have never been cleaner, until…you quit drinking this or blocking that.
My first bit of research is on the Plexus Slim drink packet. The Plexus Worldwide website claims:
“Plexus Slim is the most-natural way to lose weight and inches by burning fat, not muscle.”
My first thought is HOW is it the most natural way to do all these things?? Is it the green coffee bean extract or the Garcinia cambogia fruit extract? Do the people selling it to you – the Ambassadors – really even know what that is?
Green coffee bean extract is just coffee beans before being roasted and the extract is from where the “natural” caffeine comes. Caffeine can boost metabolism but this combined with some of the other products can do a number on your adrenal health and cause even more fatigue. Garcinia camogia is a “natural” appetite suppressant. Your hunger is a way of telling your body you need nutrients. So, if you suppress that with some pink drink, you’ll eventually end up with nutrient deficiencies that can cause a whole host of issues from hormonal balance, to poor gut health, to anxiety/depression and much more. Part of the reason I see people in my office is because they quit listening to their body a long time ago and now have a lot of issues to deal with which is often times frustrating and difficult for people. It also uses “natural flavors” which literally means nothing. It should not be a selling point or a reason someone purchases a product. There is absolutely NO regulation on that term. Period.
Here’s another promise…
“Slim also helps keep blood sugar, cholesterol and lipids at healthy levels. In addition, Slim helps reduce binge eating and increases your willpower over food. Simply pour into a bottle of water 30 minutes before a meal, drink, and experience the results you've been dreaming of..”
The polydextrose in this product, which is a synthetic glucose derived from genetically modified corn, causes a fairly low rise in blood sugar so I guess that is how it keeps your blood sugar at healthy levels. In 2009, polydextrose included as a fiber in many processed foods, was removed from cereals such as Cocoa Pebbles. Ironically, the Plexus 96 whey protein contains maltodextrin which is known to impact blood sugar levels significantly. On that note, the glycemic index is a tool to help determine how much a carbohydrate impacts blood sugar. The glycemic load is based on a serving size of the carbohydrate but for a simple picture, I’ll use the Glycemic Index here. Maltodextrin has a glycemic index (GI) of 105. Glucose has a GI of 100. Foods with a GI of 55 or lower are considered low glycemic index foods just for comparison. In addition to the GI/blood sugar thing, maltodextrin is known to actually encourage growth of bad bacteria in the gut such as Salmonella. Adding bad bacteria and ruining good bacteria in the gut sets us up for bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis. Read here for an article and study done at the Lerner Research Institute, Department of Pathobiology.
There is SOME evidence that Garcinia cambogia can lower blood sugar and lower LDL – the bad cholesterol. However, if you’re someone taking a prescription to lower either one of these things – blood sugar or cholesterol – you shouldn’t be using this “natural” product. It can actually cause your blood sugars to become dangerously low while on these prescriptions.
In 2009, the FDA warned people against supplementing with Garcinia because people taking the weight loss product it was in ended up with serious liver conditions. You can read about this natural substance on the FDAs website here.
As far as the bingeing and willpower, you can improve that with eating the right, REAL foods and other nutrients. You just have to re-learn what you think you know about nutrition and those things can become so much easier for you. You don’t need to spend almost $85 for 30 servings of a pink drink to make all this happen. That’s $85/month people! You going to do that the rest of your life?
A few other products I’d like to point out include Accelerator, BioCleanse, and MegaX.
Claims – “When taken with Plexus Slim®, the Accelerator+ helps speed up weight loss or helps people overcome weight plateaus.” And, “The combination of ingredients in the Plexus Slim® and Plexus Accelerator+ work synergistically to help you lose weight-easy and fast!*”
At first glance, I see the ingredients that it lists are synthetic. It has folic acid which has actually been shown to cause cancer. Here’s a study from Chile regarding colon cancer and here in a study with postmenopausal women and cancer. This is because the folic acid, which is unable to be absorbed by the body is left unmetabolized and increases the risk of various cancers. Also, if you want to take that with the Plexus Slim, you’ll need to spend another $40 for a 30 day supply. (By the way, these are the retail costs, not the preferred pricing.)
In addition to the synthetic ingredients, it also includes a “natural” substance called higenamine. Higenamine is a stimulant and it is the chemical component of plant called Aconite. There have been no human studies of this substance. Aconite has been shown to cause side effects including arrhythmias and even death. These side effects may be caused by the chemical higenamine.
This is listed on the Plexus Worldwide website as a detoxification product. Nowhere do I see the nutrients needed to help your liver function through Phase I and Phase II of liver detoxification. You need protein, additional amino acids, vitamins and minerals to make this all happen. This product includes Vitamin C, an antioxidant, but hardly at the therapeutic levels (only 150 mg) needed for detoxification. Some people need 50 or more times that amount at the therapeutic level! The magnesium hydroxide in the product is most often used short term for constipation and the sodium bicarbonate is used for heartburn. I have no idea how that is detoxification unless helping with constipation is the only thing they consider detoxification. This one is $40 for 90 days.
It costs $40 for 15 days’ worth of supplements. The form of essential fatty acids in this product are plant based. Plant based fatty acids such as Alpha Linolenic Acid are poorly converted into EPA and DHA which are the forms that we receive the most benefit from. ALA doesn’t have the anti-inflammatory properties that a triglyceride form of fatty acids do. Using this poorly absorbed form is a huge waste of money, not unlike so many of the over-the-counter supplements I see people buying. Here is an article that discusses ALA conversion.
- APPETITE SUPPRESSANTS
- SYNTHETIC INGREDIENTS IN THEIR ‘NATURAL’ PRODUCTS
- BIOUNAVAILABLE FORMS OF MINERALS
- POOR CONVERSION TO BENEFICIAL INGREDIENTS
- ONGOING COSTS
- NO STUDIES TIED TO PRODUCTS
- SLIM AND ACCELERATOR ON AMAZON PROHIBITED LIST
Overall, I’m skeptical of these products due to the above reasons. The thing that bothers me the most is that I cannot find the research to back up their product claims. When I choose supplements for my clients, I have research available to me to make the best recommendations I can with quality and efficacy in mind. And, yes, my products do cost money as well. But you are getting what you pay for and you don’t have to spend a certain amount each month and have a backup order ready to go if you should miss the monthly deadline. Eating real food is always better. It’s not always easier but learning how to use food instead of miracle products will help you with results that last and you will most likely not cause other health issues. If you want help in deciding which products are best for you to help you get through an extra busy or difficult time in your life, then contact me. There is a place for supplements; you just have to be educated in what you’re taking. I can get you professional grade products with tons of research to back them up. Remember, the people selling these products are typically not healthcare professionals. They are not looking at things the same way I do. In fact, it's hard to say that what they even do put on the label, is even in the bottle. Again, if they had some research posted along with their products, it would be easier to tell what's going on with these products.
And, did you know Amazon actually prohibits some products from being sold on their site? Plexus Slim Accelerator is on that list. You can see it for yourself here.
I could go on about many of their other products but I think I’ve covered enough. But here’s one more thing…
Right off the “Our Story” page on the Plexus website, here’s what they say:
“Plexus Worldwide is committed to providing our Ambassadors with life-changing products and a unique and rewarding business opportunity. The combination of our products and opportunity help open the door to personal success and financial freedom.”
I think the bottom line is the only thing that drives this company. I don’t see where it says they want to provide quality and efficacious products to improve individual’s health and well-being. I feel there is a place for both making money AND providing quality supplements. I just don’t feel that’s happening with this company.