Jan262019

Posted in Diet Reviews.

The following post is an opinion piece which holds the science and claims behind the 30 Days program against current research and basic physiology. 

I’ve gotten requests to re-review Arbonne for their 30 Days to Healthy Living program, and because I’m trying to procrastinate on doing a cooking oils post (yeeessss, it’s coming, I swear) I’m going to do this Arbonne review first. So, thanks to everyone who has messaged me asking for it!

There are a lot of independent Arbonne consultants posting different, unofficial 30 Days content all over the internet.  I tried to get all of my info for this post from the official Arbonne site only, just to ensure that I wasn’t going off of some random person’s interpretation of the plan. There’s a ton of that stuff on Pinterest etc.

The claims:

30 days seems to be a thing lately. I guess Arbonne has decided to ride on the coattails of the ever-popular Whole30 and develop their own 30 day program, 30 Days to Healthy Living. 

They describe it as:

A 30-day whole foods clean eating program

A system to equip people with the tools & knowledge to implement life-long health

A rest for the liver and kidneys to maximize function

An elimination program to help uncover food sensitivities

A weight loss jumpstart

 

Arbonne also gives us this compelling infographic that I’ll refrain from commenting on until later:

Arbonne is one of those companies that manages to check all the nutrition buzzword boxes:

“Plant-powered, nutrient-rich products that are cleaner for better results, following a strict ingredient policy that is always gluten-free, vegan and formulated without GMO ingredients.” They also talk about gut health and probiotics, which is very on-trend. Check! Check! Check!

Arbonne 30 Days involves nutrition and skincare interventions, so obviously you’re on your own with the skincare stuff; I’m not a dermatologist.

The company says that their 30 day program is not a ‘deprivation diet’. Keep this in mind as you read this post.

They even post this other infographic to show how anti-diet they are. Or are they?

The plan.

Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living has three steps: 

Step 1: 

Remove or limit all ‘allergenic foods’ from your diet. These include:

Wheat/gluten/yeast

Dairy

Sugar and artificial sweeteners

Alcohol

Vinegar

Coffee

Soy

Arbonne states that removing these ingredients can help you determine what your food sensitivities are. 

Step 2:

Eat every 4-6 hours, in the following configuration:

Shake

Shake (or meal)

Meal

No eating after 7pm, unless you’re really hungry, in which case you can have a scoop of Arbonne fiber powder in non-dairy milk. Yum. 

Step 3: 

Eat in the proper portions.

Here is what Arbonne advertises as a ‘sample 30 Day menu’:

 

Arbonne recommends that you fill 1/2 your plate with non-starchy vegetables, then 1/4 plate with grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild fish, organic tofu (isn’t soy supposed to be eliminated?), beans, lentils, or quinoa (note to Arbonne: quinoa is NOT high in protein). 

The remaining 1/4 plate is split between healthy fats and healthy carbs. 

They recommend avoiding refined sugars choosing ‘natural, unrefined’ sugars like unrefined cane sugar. Newsflash: cane sugar is just as ‘natural’ as beet sugar, coconut sugar, honey, molasses, and dare I say, REFINED WHITE SUGAR. OMG! Arbonne! 

For snacks, they recommend limiting fruits to green apples and berries because they’re ‘low-glycemic’, and otherwise choosing raw vegetables, nuts, and nut butters. 

When I add everything up, it looks like the 30 Days program allows for around 1000 calories a day. That is not okay, and saying that it doesn’t equal a ‘deprivation diet’ is outrageous. Cutting calories to lose weight works, but when you go this low, it has consequences. You’ll probably be hungry, and you’ll likely fall into rebound eating once the 30 Days are done (if you last that long). It can also suck you into weight cycling and unhealthy eating behaviours, not to mention a warped relationship with food.

The rest of the sales pitch focuses on the copious number of supplements you’re supposed to take during and after this program. 

Here’s what Arbonne says are the reasons why their supplements are beneficial:

“Most of us are too busy to make 3-4 perfect meals each day. Our supplements are “easy buttons” or “fast food” to make sure we’re getting the proper nutrients in the proper proportions at each meal. Additional products like Arbonne’s probiotics, Detox Tea, and Body Cleanse help restore GUT HEALTH, and support internal organs — the EPICENTER OF HEALTH to SUPER CHARGE your results.  

These supplements are what make the program doable for most of us and give us the greatest chance of success reaching our goals.”

Wow. Talk about passive aggressive sales techniques! So basically what they’re saying is that if you don’t take the Arbonne supplements, your chances of success are lower, which I can assure you is likely just an aggressive upsell and not actually the truth. 

I also completely disagree with their take that supplements are ‘easy buttons’ to anything. They don’t replace food. They don’t replace health. And detox tea? Aren’t we done with that crap yet? 

Arbonne’s supplement line is huge, and aside from bullshit teatoxes, it contains cleanses (recommended for the 30 Days program, but again, this isn’t a diet, right Arbonne?), fit chews, energy ‘fizz sticks’, weight control powder, ‘metabolism support’ powder…should I go on?

Funny how companies can say a program is a ‘reset’ and completely avoid using the word diet, even though that’s EXACTLY what they’re selling. So disingenuous. 

Arbonne, like most diet programs, is sold by MLM. Only 1% of people selling MLM products will ever profit, and the entire business of MLMs is notoriously shady. Still, people continue to believe that the ‘next best thing’ will arrive to them via MLM, which helps MLMs live on and on.

As far as all of the foods you’re supposed to eliminate, I’m curious as to what happens to them after the 30 days are done. If this is an elimination diet, the eliminated foods should be added back one at a time, according to a protocol. It doesn’t help anything if you just add everything back at the same time. It’s also crappy to make people needlessly suspicious of foods that they’re probably not ‘sensitive’ to, so there’s that. What happens is that people who follow this program will always consider these foods suspect, and even ‘not clean’ because they’re forbidden here.

If Arbonne wants to take truly allergenic foods out of peoples’ diets for 30 days, why didn’t they also eliminate the other top allergens, which are peanut and tree nuts, fish, eggs, and shellfish? Probably because those foods aren’t as trendy to eliminate as gluten and dairy are.

 

After the 30 days, followers get a fun little note with an assurance that Arbonne will be there to support them and SELL THEM MORE PRODUCTS!!

“Arbonne goes beyond 30 days — we’re here with products and support to help you continue your journey. As an Arbonne Preferred Client, you have the opportunity to continue to purchase your favorite products at great discounts while you earn rewards and free shipping. Talk with your Independent Consultant to learn how to maximize your Preferred Rewards and even earn free products.”

But wait! Didn’t they say that the 30 days would equip followers with tools for lifelong health? Why do we need more products? Sigh.

What makes me laugh is when Arbonne talks about the cost of the program. They try their hardest to make it seem like you’re getting a bargain: “The entire 30-day pack is $260 before tax plus FREE shipping! This includes all meals and beverages for 30 days (not including dinners)”

THEY DON’T INCLUDE DINNERS BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE ONLY MEALS YOU ACTUALLY CHEW ON THIS 30 DAY PLAN!! The rest of the meals are shakes!

But it’s not a diet, right Arbonne?

 

While the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living program may be popular, it’s based on the same faulty verbiage and claims that I see with most of these MLM weight loss programs: 

Moralistic language: 30 Days says it’s a 30-day whole foods clean eating program, but what are ‘clean’ foods? Why assign a moralistic label to food? Because when you go off the 30 day program and eat a normal diet, you’ll feel like you’ve eaten ‘dirty’, and need to go back on the program again. Arbonne customer for life! Ka-ching!

A sales pitch with lots of trendy buzzwords, and that implies ‘lifelong health’ or ‘transformation’: Arbonne tells us that 30 Days equips people with the tools & knowledge to implement life-long health, but then tells them them to replace their meals with 1-2 shakes a day and handfuls of supplements, which teaches them nothing about healthy eating and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s a bait and switch.

Results that are not only physiologically impossible, but also impossible to measure: Arbonne tells us that the Program rests the liver and kidneys, but our liver and kidneys don’t need to rest to maximize function. If your liver and kidneys need a rest, then theoretically your lungs and heart would too, since they too never stop working. And even if they do need a ‘rest’ (which THEY DO NOT), how do you measure if the 30 Days program achieved these results? That’s right, you don’t. You can’t. Red flag!!

Faulty design: 30 Days is apparently “An elimination program to help uncover food sensitivities”, but does it have a protocol to re-introduce foods back into the diet as a proper elimination diet would? 

Program ‘coaches’ who aren’t qualified to coach other people with their health: What qualifications do these coaches have to counsel for nutrition and health? Completion of the Program doesn’t count.

The denial that the program is a ‘diet’, when it obviously is: Make no mistakes about it, the use of the phrase ‘weight loss jumpstart’ equals ‘diet’. But your body doesn’t need a ‘jumpstart’ that’s a low-calorie diet masquerading as something else. Make no mistake: this is a diet, and you’ll lose weight solely because you’re not eating a lot of calories. It’s not the shakes, or the supplements, or all the ‘toxins’ leaving your body. It’s the calorie deficit you’re causing when you take solid food out and replace it with lower-calorie shakes. Boom. 

Going online to research this program, all I saw were 30 Day followers talking about how it’s a cleanse, and many of them complain about having to choke down the protein shake. One girl said she only threw up once as if that was a good thing. Many of them have been on the Program several times. Tools and knowledge for lifelong health? Hm.

Fear mongering and the implication that you have a condition that you probably don’t have: About that infographic that I mentioned at the beginning: The way this company peddles their fear of ‘toxins’ and the perception that fat people are ‘toxic’ is not only wrong, it’s disgusting. Like many disreputable diet programs, they suggest that people are unknowingly suffering from non-existent diseases and conditions and then sell them the ‘cure’ to all that ails them. There’s no such thing as ‘cellular cleansing’ and ‘toxic overload’ as the infographic claims, and your body doesn’t need cleansing. Ever. If you lose weight on this diet, it’s because it’s seriously low in calories, and not because you took any supplements.

For most healthy people, there’s probably nothing physically dangerous about Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living. My issues lie with the emotional damage it can do by convincing you that you need supplements to be healthy, that you need to detox when you don’t, and that certain foods are harmful when they’re actually really not (vinegar?!). It’s a ruse that lives in many, many of these diets and it’s based on fear. It’s meant to convince you that you’re not good enough the way you are – your body doesn’t work properly, you’re not eating the right foods.

Cycling on and off diets like Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living can be costly financially and emotionally. It’s a short-term cleanse that doesn’t teach you anything besides how to restrict food to lose weight.

In short:

The Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living program is an expensive, very low calorie cleanse with supplements, based on fear and faulty science.

Pass.

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