I’ve gotten countless emails asking me to write a review on the Arbonne nutrition nutrition and cleanse program. I always want to deliver what you guys ask me for, so here we go.

I know Arbonne as a company that sells ‘natural’ – and I use that term loosely, since it has no definite meaning when used to describe a product – beauty products.

Apparently, the Arbonne brand has extended itself into nutrition products, because why not? Body lotion and protein shakes have a ton in common, right?

The Arbonne site is very attractive and touts the company’s dedication to plant-based products. Very nice.

Like some other products that I’ve recently reviewed, I need to say this upfront: Arbonne may have a ‘Scientific Advisory Panel’ and lots of photos of people in lab coats on its website, but make no mistakes about it: the nutrition products they sell have no research behind them.

The company has never done any studies to see if the products actually work. And, like I’ve said numerous times before, 5-star reviews, Facebook comments, and your mom’s neighbor swearing that the stuff works all have zero meaning. You need well-researched evidence to prove the true efficacy of a product.

Somewhere on the site the company mentions its ‘Nutrition Advisory Panel’. I searched high and low for who is actually on this particular panel but came up empty. Innnteresting.

The verbiage used on the site to describle the Arbonne nutrition and cleanse program is nothing short of fantastic. For the Herbal Colon Cleanse, the site says, ‘now and then, you need to let it go’. We all know what ‘it’ is: something that rhymes with, well, ‘it’. Thank you Arbonne for giving me a chuckle!

Going on sites like Amazon to read the comments by people who have used Arbonne’s nutrition products – especially the cleanse – is an afternoon’s worth of entertainment. Here are some choice excerpts:

“After doing the seven day cleanse, I can’t tell you how much came out of my body that were toxins. 20 pounds worth.”

“You are not exactly chained to the toilet, but you will spend a bit more time there.”

“Horrible stuff! Certainly not a gentle clense, might as well take a bowel prep for surgery like Go-Lytely!!”

“My bottom line: save your money and skip this one. I believe that if I had just sipped the 32oz of water each day I would likely have expelled the same amount of toxin.”

AGHHHHHH! People!!! What TOXINS are we talking about, exactly?

Let me tell you how your body works (and this is really oversimplifying, but this is how it works):

You eat. You eat steak, or yogurt, or kale, or whatever you eat.

Your body processes the food, from your mouth to the end of your intestines. The food moves through your gut, doesn’t stick or sit there for 10 years or whatever some of you might think. 

No, it goes through, and the more fiber you eat (FYI cleanses don’t generally contain fiber), the better things move through. Then you poop. Done. As far as anything ‘toxic’ – your liver and kidneys filter it out of your bloodstream and yay. You’re alive and well.

If there’s anything more toxic than your organs can handle, you either vomit, or you become poisoned, at which point you don’t need a cleanse, you need an ER.

The bottom line is that your body isn’t a sewer pipe that needs to be flushed of poop or toxins or that gum you swallowed 18 years ago. It does that really well itself. Stop worrying about mythical ‘toxins’!!

If you’re that worried about harming your body, eat fresh foods and stop eating the crap you’re eating between your cleanses. You’ll be fine, I promise.

Okay, let’s check out some of the Arbonne nutrition and cleanse products.

Arbonne Essentials Shake.

According to information I found online, this shake is meant to replace one or two meals a day in order to help you lose weight. Arbonne has that right – if you starve yourself with a 230-calorie shake twice (or even once) a day, you’ll lose weight…but it won’t be healthy, and the weight loss will likely be short-term.

The shakes themselves aren’t too bad nutrition-wise. They have moderate fiber for a meal – 7g – but have only 5g of fat. They also contain 20g of vegan pea protein along with the usual suspects like a bunch of vitamins and minerals. Weirdly, the label doesn’t list the sugar grams.

If you add some 2% Greek yogurt for fat and calories and maybe a bit of fruit and other add-ins to these shakes, they would be fine for a meal that will keep you full. You get 30 shakes for around $80.

Arbonne Full Control:

The main ingredient in Full Control, which aims to curb your ‘cravings’ (for food, I imagine, after you drink a 230 calorie protein shake for breakfast), is glucomannan.

Otherwise known as the fiber from a plant named konjac (what shirataki noodles are made of), it’s a polysaccharide with no calories that seems to inhibit the absorption of glucose and cholesterol by the GI tract. It also absorbs large quantities of water, making you feel full.

Theoretically this product may help you lose weight, but it’s important to note that Health Canada issued a warning about glucomannan in 2010 advising that it should be taken with at least 8 oz of water to prevent dangerous blockages of the GI tract. The ingredient is banned in Australia for this very reason.

It’s also important to know that if glucomannan was the answer to quick weight loss, the diet industry would cease to exist.

But here we are!

Arbonne Thermobooster:

Full of herbal thermogenic woo-hoo like green coffee beans, chromium, and cayenne pepper, this supplement is described by Arbonne to ‘help metabolize protein, carbohydrates, and fats’. Eh, not really. This is just another ‘fat burner’ just like pretty much every MLM nutrition company sells, and guess what?

They don’t work. While certain ingredients like hot pepper and caffeine may temporarily raise metabolic rate, they don’t do so high enough or long enough for you to lose weight. Fat burners are garbage.

Save your $62.

Arbonne Herbal Colon Cleanse:

Containing stinging nettles, which aren’t proven to do anything magical, milk thistle, which may have positive effects on the liver in some situations but evidence is mixed, and senna – which is a laxative, so expect to be ‘cleansed’…this product is $60 worth of diarrhea. 

Again – what are you trying to cleanse?

Nobody can ever answer that simple question for me when I ask. 

Arbonne Herbal Tea:

More milk thistle and other herbs (not going to cleanse you, but I’m sure they’re delicious) in a very-expensive $19 tea. Yikes. Pass.

In Short:

Your body isn’t a sewer pipe that needs cleansing. There aren’t weird, scary pieces of 10 year-old food hanging out in your colon. You don’t need a colon cleanse, or any other cleanse for that matter.

The Arbonne Essentials Protein Meal Replacement Shakes seem fine if you add a bit of yogurt (for some fat and calories) and fruit/chia/flax/whatever to them.

If you replace one or two meals with 230 calorie shakes, you’ll probably lose weight because then you’re on a…..LOW CALORIE DIET!! Well, unless you get so starving that you eat a ton at your third meal. Then you probably won’t lose weight.

Regardless of how you do it, losing weight using low-calorie meal-replacement shakes is not a good idea. It doesn’t teach you how to make actual food choices, and the weight will most likely come right back when you start eating solid food.

Lots of diets promise weight loss with ‘thermogenic herbs’. Um, no. If it worked, everyone would lose weight easily. Some herbs may raise your metabolic rate slightly, but not significantly enough to cause weight loss.

Glucomannan, the ingredient in Full Control, may be dangerous. If you do try it, make sure that you drink a lot of water while you take it. 

The Verdict?

Don’t waste your money on cleanses, or on the Arbonne nutrition and cleanse program.

Some of Arbonne’s weight management products may be helpful, but it’s not a good idea to rely on low-calorie shakes to lose weight. Remember Slim Fast?