Join Our Community

Why Cleansing For Weight Loss Can Backfire

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Why Cleansing For Weight Loss Can Backfire

Mona Lisa Schultz, M.D. Explains The Full Mind-Body Cleanse Vs. Fruit Smoothies
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D. More by this author
Feb 17, 2016 at 02:45 PM

If you have ever felt you have a sluggish digestion or chronic immune system inflammation, including achiness, fatigue, or sleepiness, you might have tried a detox diet or two. But resetting your metabolism, digestive, and immune system is not as straightforward as it sounds. 

Medical Intuition and Mind-Body Medicine can help you revamp your digestion, weight, metabolism, energy, and immune system with just the right cleanse or detox. 

First let’s walk through the basics of cleanses and fasts.


Carbohydrates are found in large quantities in many of the fruits we think of as healthy, as well as in honey and table sugar, which people often add to fruit smoothies. Everyone would probably agree that white sugar is not healthy, however those who are downing huge fruit-laden Carbohydrate-packed cleanse-smoothies 2x/day beware!  

Excess carbohydrates, which end up in your liver, are converted to pyruvate acid. The acid is converted to fat, which is stored in the liver and of course also in the body.

If you are more than 20-30 pounds heavier than you want to be, do not do a cleanse that consists of big fruit smoothies even if they contain protein powder.

    1 banana 27 g carb
    1 apple 21 g carbs
    1 orange 16 g carbs
    1 pear 25 g carbs
    ½ cup pineapple 10 g carbs
    ½ cup strawberries  5 g carbs
    ½ grapefruit 13 g carbs
    1 kiwi 11 g carbs
   TOTAL:128 grams carbs, this is a huge amount of carbohydrates.

For comparison, one 1.5 oz Snickers Bar has 28 grams of carbs!

Recommended carbohydrate intake (depending on activity etc) is 100-150 grams/day. So if you want to do a fruit cleanse 2x/day, please select individual fruit items carefully and make sure they add up to no more than 30-50g carbs.

There are a variety of carbohydrate charts on the web or in bookstores ( to help you with this.


The liver also takes the protein and converts it to your body tissue. Some of the carbs go to the brain and body, with the excess, as we have seen, being stored as fat. 

The Liver Cleanse is a “short fast” where there’s an abrupt change in carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your diet. Because you are not eating the usual amount of food,  your liver uses its stored fat and whatever stored sugar it has, and sends it out to your body and brain so you can function. 

However, when you do a liver cleanse, you aren’t just cleansing your liver, you are also cleansing your muscles. During a “short fast” your muscle creates lactate, that’s acid, and another protein, alanine, which helps your liver makes sugar.

Listen to Mona Lisa's radio episode on this topic.


Why are sustained fasts and cleanses supposed to be effective for digestion, slow creeping weight, joint aches, fatigue, and sleepiness, not to mention immune system disorders? 

1. The body fat releases energy, meaning “you are actually burning fat”. But your fat also produces ketone bodies, and there are a lot of illnesses that do better on ketone bodies, for example, some individuals with epilepsy (ask you neurologist) so may not be advisable for certain people.

2. Your muscles release glutamine and alanine; amino acids, which reset the immune system lining the digestive tract wall. This is helpful if you are concerned about food allergies and intolerances.

3. During a longer fast, your adrenal glands produce epinephrine, and you may begin to feel energized. 

However, Yo-Yo dieters, frequent fasters and compulsive cleansers  - hear this: if you fast too often, your thyroid will slow conversion of T4 to T3, which is the active hormone that your brain uses to regulate your metabolism. That means: when your T3 levels drop, your metabolism slows down.

Some might think it’s okay if my T3 levels drop: “I’ll just replace my thyroid hormone T3”. Well, the thing is, it doesn’t work that way. When your thyroid detects a new flood of T3 in your system, it will compensate by further reducing its output of T3. Which keeps your metabolism chronically low.

Also if you are doing too many colon cleanses, you’re removing essential bacteria from your colon that is important for metabolism. People who do too many cleanses actually gain weight for that reason. 

If you have chronic fatigue, a sustained cleanse is even less likely to be right for you since your adrenal gland may not be able to sustain your energy requirements. If you have Hashimoto’s or Graves thyroid disorders, have someone follow your thyroid function over the course of your dietary changes. And finally, if you find yourself ramping up the frequency of your cleanses and fasts, consult a trust cognitive behavioral therapist who is gifted in the Mind-Body aspects of eating and body image. You may need a emotional midwife as your reset your metabolism.

Medically Intuitive Cleanses and Fasts

The one fast and cleanse that is truly medically intuitive is Ayuvedic panchakarma, which is only done with a skilled practitioner. The cleanse is designed around your unique physiological constitution. This cleanse isn’t just about digestion, Ayuvedic cleanses every system.

  • You observe silence.
  • You avoid excessive sex.
  • You walk in nature.
  • You read light material.
  • You practice yoga.


This type of cleanse releases old, unresolved emotions stored deep tissue Ayuvedic panchakarma addresses all 7 centers, all 7 chakras. If you’re just going to cleanse your third center, your digestive tract, colon, your liver (3rd chakra), you aren’t cleaning Mind-Body and Soul . And even if those types of cleanses recycle or readjust your first chakra muscle and your immune system, you’re really missing the point. 

It’s important to work with a cleanse coach. I think you should have a cleanse coach so you can also cleanse second center relationships and finances, find out what needs to be removed, what needs to be added, and what needs to be removed.

In the fourth center, work with someone who does cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, somatic therapy, to help you take in certain emotions, joy and love, but also release fear, anger, and sadness.  

With the fifth center create a communication cleanse. Whatever you need to say, to whomever you need to say it to, just say what you need to. And also listen, not just to other people, yourself , but to the divine. 

Have a sixth center intellectual cleanse. Listen to the thought patterns in your brain that are truly toxic. “I hate my hips”. “I hate my thoughts”. Work with some affirmations to turn your mind around in a healthier direction.

And then 7th center – a spiritual cleanse. Through contemplation, through being in nature, through yoga and meditation, you get to truly create emptiness and stillness, so you can bring in the new and really be cleansed. 

Before you pick the right cleanse or fast, you have to know if you even need to cleanse, or fast in the first place.  Please consult a physician or nutritionist before engaging in any fast or cleanse.

About Author
Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz is one of those rare people who can cross the borders of intuition, science, medicine, and mysticism. An internationally known expert in Medical Intuition and Mind-Body Medicine, she h Continue reading