Smart Cleanse — or Colon Smart, as it's often referred — is a colon cleanser. Like many other colon-cleansing products, Colon Smart is formulated to increase the rate of bowel movements. The idea is that cleaning the colon of waste will also clean it of toxins, which can purportedly improve your health. On top this, proponents of this product claim that you'll also lose weight. But this weight loss is often temporary. Talk to your doctor before using this or any other colon cleanser.
Before delving into Smart Cleanse itself, it's important to first touch on what it takes to lose weight. A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. If you're able to generate a deficit of, let's say, 500 calories a day, you can expect to lose 1 lb. of fat each week. Increasing the rate of your bowel movements, however, does nothing to the calories you take in or use. Most of the calories in food are absorbed well before they reach your colon, so the increase in bowel movements is not affecting body fat.
Weight in Pounds
While Smart Cleanse doesn't affect caloric intake — or caloric expenditure, for that matter — its use doesn't mean you won't see an impact on the scale. In fact, you may notice a drop in weight after using the product in as little as a week. That being said, the results are likely linked to two factors. Less stool in your system will inevitably translate into less weight on the scale, but not less fat on the body. Also, the increase in bowel movements tends to increase the amount of fluids lost through stool, so you'll also be losing water weight. Once you stop using the product, you'll often see the weight come back.
As with other dietary supplements, Smart Cleanse isn't without its own set of side effects. According to Michael Picco, a gastroenterologist writing for MayoClinic.com, colon cleansing can increase your risk of dehydration. You're also more likely to disrupt the balance of electrolytes in your body, develop an infection or even suffer bowel perforation. Talk to your doctor before using any colon cleanser.
Instead of relying on a quick fix, look for ways to change your lifestyle to shed the excess pounds. Limiting portion sizes, eating healthier foods, reducing sugar and fat intake and sticking with water can all help reduce your caloric intake, which can make it much easier to reach the deficit in calories needed to reduce body fat. It's also important to increase your level of physical activity. Try to get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise most days of the week.
- MayoClinic.com; Colon Cleansing: Is It Helpful or Harmful?; Michael Picco; March 2011
- Clinical Correlations: The NYU International Medicine Blog; Myths and Realities: Colon Cleansing: Healthful or Just a Load of @$%!; July 16, 2009
- Western Kentucky University: Digestion
- Colon Cleanse Haven: Colon Smart