diets · eating · health · weight loss

Non-Dairy Ice Cream Cleanse. Really?

coconutThe article asks: “Would you go on an ice-cream diet to lose weight? New cleanse prescibes FIVE PINTS a day for four days straight.”

Let’s start with my answer to the question: No.

I don’t care if it’s dairy-free. Even if it were completely vegan (it’s got honey in it, so I’m kind of surprised that they’re claiming to be a vegan ice cream shop). I would not go on an ice cream cleanse to lose weight or to “detox.”  And I especially wouldn’t pay $240 for it!

Here’s are the deets:

Kippy’s, a vegan ice-cream store in Venice, is offering a $240 cleanse in which dieters eat five pints of raw coconut-based ice-cream a day for four straight days.

The cleanse, which amounts to 1,000-1,200 calories and 70 grams of fat per day and boasts 20-25 grams of sugar per ice-cream pint, is designed to help people lose weight and achieve a clearer state of mind.

What you get is four days worth of ice cream and you eat it five times a day. They’ve got a “master cleanse” flavor and a “Superfoods” flavor, as well as dark chocolate with Himalayan fire salt, coconut yogurt (for breakfast), and orange creme.

There are lots of reasons I wouldn’t do this.

First, you can’t lose weight in four days and expect to keep any of it off.  The journalist who tried out the cleanse learned this first hand:

A reporter for Gizmodo, who reviewed the ice-cream cleanse with his girlfriend, revealed that despite their typical cleanse grovels (missing the feeling of chewing, salty foods, and solid foods in general), they both lost a similar amount of weight – approximately six pounds each.

But he admitted that ‘in the span of one long weekend, I managed to put all of that cleanse-weight back on (plus another pound or so).’

No surprises there.

Moving on:  all this talk of “cleanses” is just ridiculous. This article on the website “Science-Based Medicine” talks about the whole “detox”/”cleanse” trend as a scam ($240 for four days of ice cream, anyone?)  and gives suggestions about how to avoid it. According to the article, the premise that our bodies ingest and accumulate toxins that we need to cleanse ourselves of is just plain bad science:

Today’s version of autointoxication argues that some combination of food additives, gluten, salt, meat, fluoride, prescription drugs, smog, vaccine ingredients, GMOs, and perhaps last night’s bottle of wine are causing a buildup of “toxins” in the body. But what is the actual “toxin” causing harm? It’s nothing more than a meaningless term that sounds scientific enough to be plausible. A uniform feature of detox treatments is the failure to name the specific toxins that these rituals and kits will remove.

The colon remains ground zero for detox advocates. They argue that some sort of toxic sludge (sometimes called a mucoid plaque) is accumulating in the colon, making it a breeding ground for parasites, Candida (yeast) and other nastiness. Fortunately, science tells us otherwise: mucoid plaques and toxic sludge simply do not exist. It’s a made-up idea to sell detoxification treatments. Ask any gastroenterologist (who look inside colons for a living) if they’ve ever seen one. There isn’t a single case that’s been documented in the medical literature. Not one.

We see this vagueness about cleansing and what is to be cleansed in the claims made by Kippy’s coconut ice cream diet: “It helps us digest, repairs the gut, feeds the brain, boosts the metabolism and is a powerful agent of detoxification,” or so claim its developers and purveyors.

That the offending toxins are either unnamed or, if named, invented or falsely identified, leads to the debunking of the second assumption of cleanses: that the toxins are the root of illness.

And the final suspect claim is that these detox regimens and cleanses remove toxins.  According to the article, “there is no evidence to demonstrate that detox kits do anything at all.”

Yeah so what that says to me is that the very idea of a cleanse of any kind is just a waste of time and money.  My radar for that sort of thing is fairly sharp. I just have to hear the word “detox” or “cleanse” and my hackles go up.

And I think too that there’s a ton of slippage between the cleanse motive and the weight-loss motive.  If you challenge someone about a detox on the grounds that they’re not going to lose weight and keep it off, they will claim that what they’re really doing is detoxing.

Another thing worth pointing out is that there are medical applications of the term “detox.” It refers to a pretty horrible process of withdrawal that people addicted to substances like alcohol or narcotics go through when they are attempting to quit, or people who have ingested poison have to go through to literally clean out their systems. So it’s not a completely bogus idea, it’s just not the sort of thing that is covered in things like an ice cream diet or a cayenne and lemon juice drink or a “rapid cleanse” (which sounds just scary).

Here’s the conclusion of the article I’ve been referring to from the Science-Based Medicine website:

Any product or service with the words “detox” or “cleanse” in the name is only truly effective at cleansing your wallet of cash. Alternative medicine’s ideas of detoxification and cleansing have no basis in reality. There’s no published evidence to suggest that detox treatments, kits or rituals have any effect on our body’s ability to eliminate waste products effectively. They do have the ability to harm however – not only direct effects, like coffee enemas and purgatives, but the broader distraction away from the reality of how the body actually works and what we need to do to keep it healthy. “Detox” focuses attention on irrelevant issues, and gives consumers the impression that they can undo lifestyle decisions with quick fixes. Improved health isn’t found in a box of herbs, a bottle of homeopathy, or a bag of coffee pushed into your rectum. The lifestyle implications of a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, lack of sleep, and alcohol or drug use cannot simply be flushed or purged away. Our kidneys and liver don’t need a detox treatment. If anyone suggests a detox or cleanse to you, you’d do well to ignore the suggestion, and question any other health advice they may offer.

So I’m saving my money. I have nothing against coconut ice cream, by the way. I love it. But I’m not about to spend $240 for a four-day supply, eat it as my only meal for days in a row, and try to fool myself that I can use it to improve my health.