Diet Review Update 2018: Is Plexus Worth The Cost?
This Plexus diet review is an opinion piece reviewing current Plexus products against current available research.
My original Plexus diet review is one of the highest performing posts on my site, and just this morning I noticed that it’s almost two years old! Time flies! Seeing as I just had a request to re-review this diet program, I’m going to wade back in and see what’s up with it now.
Oh Plexus. What new treasures do you have for us this year? Have you done any research on your products yet? Are you still selling cleanses? Let’s take a look to find out!
Since I’m assuming that many of you are here to find out about Plexus’ weight-management products, I’m going to review those.
Plexus sells its product$ separately, or in handy combo$. Hooray for the up$ell!
First up, the Triplex Hunger Control Combo.
Or as Plexus says, “Healthy Gut. Happy You.™ And Weight Loss Too.” So cute!
Just as an aside, Plexus appears to have a new ‘probiotic’ slant that aligns perfectly with the ‘gut health’ trend. Probiotics can be beneficial to our microbiome (the bugs in our gut), as long as they’re the correct types for what you’re taking them and, in the correct form aka specially formulated to actually reach the gut instead of being killed in the acidic environment of the stomach. Those little bacteria are sensitive creatures! More on that later.
The Triplex Combo consists of three supplements: Slim Hunger Control, Bio Cleanse, and Probio 5.
Slim Hunger Control is primarily polydextrose: a fiber that increases feelings of fullness. It also has our usual suspects of green coffee bean and garcinia, and chromium for ‘healthy glucose metabolism’.
There is actually research (albeit, not done by Plexus on the actual product..I sense a pattern coming on) that shows that polydextrose has prebiotic effects, meaning that it can nourish the good bacteria in our guts.
Note: The effective dose of polydextrose in the research that I saw was between 4-21 grams, depending on the study.
Slim Hunger Control is used by dissolving it in water, and taken 1-2 times a day.
That means that the most polydextrose you’ll actually get with the twice a day dose is 1.25 grams (each pack has 6250mg). I’m fairly certain that this product isn’t harmful, but is it helpful at such a small dose? That’s the question. Remember: the studies I found used far more polydextrose than the Plexus dose.
Dosage notwithstanding, the polydextrose in the product may do something to temper appetite if taken before meals.
Chromium is a mineral that the body uses in insulin regulation. The thing is, unless you’re deficient in chromium – and deficiency is rare – it won’t greatly benefit your ‘glucose metabolism’.
The dose of chromium you’re getting in your twice a day Slim Hunger Control is 400 micrograms total. For appetite effects, the dose that showed any efficacy in studies was 1000 micrograms. See how dose matters? Still, you’re paying a premium for this and other ingredients which may not be effective in these amounts, and no, I don’t suggest you double or triple up your dose.
As far as the ‘Plexus Slim Blend’ of green coffee bean and garcinia, we know that these substances have no compelling evidence to suggest that they do anything at all for our appetite or weight. I’m actually not sure why companies continue to use those ingredients at all!
Bought on its own, Slim costs $87.95 USD for 30 packets, meaning that you’ll need more after 15 days. Meaning that you’ll be paying $176.00 a month for this stuff. Yikes.
Bio Cleanse is what it sounds like, and for your information, I just heaved an audible sigh that people are still falling for cleanses. Why, people, just why.
Bio Cleanse is made up of magnesium, which makes us poo. Period. Ever hear of Milk of Magnesia, that nasty white liquid that your grandparents probably took for their constipation? It’s magnesium hydroxide, which happens to be just what Bio Cleanse is.
The dose of this product is 4 capsules a day, equalling 1520mg of magnesium. The max dose of magnesium for constipation is 2 grams, meaning that the Bio Cleanse dose is surely going to have a laxative effect for most people.
Essentially, taking magnesium to make you poo, according to Plexus, ‘helps cleanse the intestinal tract, helps remove harmful microbes and substances, and supports your body’s natural detoxification processes’.
Actually, it does none of that stuff. Your intestinal tract doesn’t need cleansing like some sewer pipe that’s clogged with crap (literally). Harmful microbes may be in poo, but that’s why poo exists – to get waste out of your body. Pooing itself detoxes us, so unless you’re chronically constipated – and most people aren’t – you don’t need Bio Cleanse at all. Nope.
Probio5 Is a probiotic, which Plexus claims “helps improve natural response to imbalance”. What? That doesn’t even make sense.
The product is a combination of enzymes and probiotics, and right off the bat I’m going to say that I have zero clues about why enzymes would be in a probiotic formula. Enzymes work in the stomach, not in the large bowel, so WTH, Plexus. Wrong part of the anatomy!
Probiotics relate to weight loss because we believe that our microbiome influences our weight. Now, even though that’s likely true, the research on this topic is just emerging.
There are 2 billion CFU (colony forming units, which is essentially how many bacteria are in the product) and 5 strains of probiotics in Probio5, but we aren’t sure if they’re made with a protective mechanism that keeps them safe until they get to the large intestine, which is where they do their job.
I’d much rather you buy a probiotic like BioK+ or Align or Culturelle, all of which are solid choices structurally speaking and are efficacious in terms of how they perform. Probiotics are expensive, and you really want to make sure you’re not buying stuff that doesn’t work the way it should.
For your weight loss efforts, you can also buy a Hunger Control, Lean, and Block combo, which sounds sort of like a karate routine, but I digress.
Plexus Lean is a meal-replacement shake, much like I’ve seen with most of the other diet programs. The thing is that meals should be around 500 calories. I know that some of you might think that’s a lot, but eating enough at meals helps ensure that you don’t get hungry an hour later.
Lean checks all the latest buzzword boxes: Non-GMO; vegetarian; soy, gluten, and dairy free; ancient grains (QUINOA!), and no carageenan. Eh. Whatever. None of that makes Lean any healthier, and neither do the copious vitamins and minerals it contains. Those are all things you’d get from solid food.
Even though there’s 20 grams of protein (vegetarian), 7 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of fat in Lean, there’s not much else to it. They threw some useless digestive enzymes in there, plus the usual vitamins and minerals. There’s 7 grams of sugar, along with stevia, to sweeten the deal. Most of these types of shakes taste a little like death, but I’ve never tasted Lean. Plexus says the shake “Provides energy for an active lifestyle”, but 230 calories for a meal is not really going to provide you energy for all that long.
All I can say is that you’re definitely going to lose weight if you start cutting calories by replacing meals with 230 calorie shakes, but do you think that’s a good idea?
Block is Plexus’ supplement to ‘help metabolize carbohydrates’. Their site suggests that you can ‘enjoy more’ because this product is your ‘secret weapon’, but they don’t really go as far as to claim that Block ‘blocks’ anything. Smart move on Plexus’ part.
The dose is 2 caps before a carb-containing meal. So theoreticaly, if you eat carbs at every meal, you’ll be taking 6 caps a day. It contains our friend chromium, plus a brown seaweed blend and white kidney bean extract.
Brown seaweed has actually been shown to have an appetite reducing effect, but wait! This study gave subjects 4600mg of the seaweed before meals. With Block, you’re only getting 500mg. That’s a yuuuuuuge difference, people. And though I suspect that the effect is not cumulative, even with 6 caps in a day, you’re only getting 1500mg.
Chromium has already been covered above, so I’m not going to say anything except ‘useless’.
White kidney bean extract is known to be a carbohydrate blocker that inhibits the digestion of starches. In two caps of Block you’ll get 200mg of this ingredient, but human studies used 1.5-6 GRAMS of it, and even those studies didn’t show statistically significant results for fat loss. Two of these studies were from the 80s, and all I have to say is this: if white kidney bean has been around for this long, and it was really and truly effective at fat loss, wouldn’t it be used as a legit weight-loss medication? Think about it. As it stands, most people have never even heard of the stuff, and there’s a good reason for that.
Two other products that Plexus sells in various weight-loss combos are their Edge, Accelerator+ and Boost.
Edge is simply caffeine and other ingredients that behave like caffeine in the body. Nothing special here – you’ll get a jolt, but no significant calorie burn that will result in weight loss.
Accelerator+ ‘helps jump-start your metabolic rate’, except that what we have is a proprietary blend of yerba mate (stimulant), 5-HTP, higenamine (stimulant), and hordenine (stimulant). The only purportedly effective ingredient here is the 5-HTP, which may help reduce appetite. The others may increase metabolism, but not high enough or long enough to burn any significant calories resulting in weight loss. And because we don’t know how much of each ingredient is in the blend, we can’t assess if the 5-HTP is even at an effective dose. Booooo.
Boost contains caralluma fimbriata, a cactus-type plant that historically has been used to suppress appetite during times of famine. There is one human study showing that it may effective in doses of 1g, and another study that was too short to show any weight loss effects.
Boost has this ingredient, but it’s mixed with other things like green tea extract, yerba mate, and citrus – all in a total amount of 608mg.
You know what I’m going to say next, and that is: Even with the max daily two-cap dose, your total is just over 1200mg, but what percentage of that is actually caralluma? Hm. This seems to be a real pattern with Plexus. Also telling is that Plexus warns not to take Boost with Accelerator+, because of their common stimulant ingredients.
It looks like Plexus hasn’t done any research to prove the efficacy of their products. If I had a great product that worked really well, I’d at least do some research on it to prove my claims.
Plexus is about the same as every other diet program out there: Supplements with ingredients that are either not proven to do anything or, if they are, not in the concentrations that the products contain.
Always remember: If it worked, everyone would be at their ideal weight.
Cleansing does nothing. Carb blockers aren’t as effective as everyone wants them to be. Stimulants hop you up but don’t burn enough calories to be effective. There are a couple of possibly-effective ingredients in there, but we don’t know in what amounts.
Plexus is also super expensive.