310 Nutrition is a brand that makes meal replacement shakes for weight loss. Their products are extremely popular, as the brand claims to have sold over 4 million shakes since launching.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in 310 Nutrition shakes to determine if we believe they’re healthy and likely to be effective for weight loss, or if we believe they’re unhealthy and a waste of money.
We'll highlight some issues we have with 310 Nutrition shakes, including low calorie counts, added vitamins and minerals, and flavoring ingredients. We'll also document a lawsuit faced by the brand and share a real user's review.
Extremely Low Calories
For a brand that markets their products as “meal replacements,” all three of 310 Nutrition’s shakes (Chocolate Bliss, Vanilla Crème, Caramel Sundae) contain only 110 calories. This doesn’t come close to the caloric requirements of a meal for an adult.
Caloric requirements vary significantly between individuals based on sex and weight, among other factors, but a very broad general requirement according to medical data is 2,000 calories per day for adult women and 2,500 calories per day for adult men. Overweight adults will have an even higher caloric requirement.
This equates to a 667 calorie requirement per meal for women and 833 calorie requirement per meal for men, for adults eating 3 meals per day. 310 Nutrition provides 17% of the average caloric requirement of a meal for women and 13% of the average caloric requirement of a meal for men.
A 110 calorie formulation may make for a healthy snack, but it doesn’t provide enough energy to be considered a meal in our opinion, so we recommend the brand stop referring to these shakes as "meal replacements."
Unnecessary Vitamin and Mineral Blend
310 Nutrition shakes contain a blend of added vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin and chromium, which the company brands as the “310 Vitamin & Mineral Blend” on their ingredients list.
We disagree with the practice of manufacturers adding random blends of vitamins and minerals to their products, and find it illogical.
First, we cannot identify any medical research suggesting that random blends of vitamins and minerals cause weight loss.
More importantly, it does not make sense to take blends of vitamins and minerals without a deficiency of those nutrients, and doing so may be unsafe. Another wellness brand recently had to recall their shakes from the market because the added vitamins were causing toxicity to some customers.
To further prove how pointless it is to take random blends of vitamins and minerals without medically-documented deficiencies, a medical review of multivitamin intake found that use of daily multivitamins provided no health benefit and slightly increased the risk of certain types of cancers.
We recommend avoiding all health supplements containing added vitamins and minerals, unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor.
Food Ingredient Review
Many of the ingredients in 310 Nutrition shakes are whole foods. The shakes contain a protein blend with three different types of plant-based proteins.
There’s also a “Fiber & Superfood Blend” containing exotic ingredients like jerusalem artichoke, chaga mushroom and spirulina.
We know from medical research that eating a wide variety of different types of fruits and vegetables helps optimize gut function, and 310 Nutrition Shakes do provide a large number of different whole foods which is a good thing.
The only food ingredient we take issue with is maca root. As we documented in our review of another nutrition shake brand called Shakeology, the correct form of maca to consume is gelatinized maca. Raw maca is an indigestible starch, similar to raw potato, and can cause intestinal discomfort.
Overall the food ingredients in 310 Nutrition shakes are relatively well selected, and should provide a good variety of phytonutrients.
Questionable Additive Ingredients
310 shakes contain several ingredients we recommend avoiding. The first is natural flavoring. As documented by a review published in the Toxicology Research medical journal, there is potential toxicity associated with some flavoring compounds.
Without manufacturers publishing the exact chemicals used to produce the flavor, there is no way for consumers or researchers like us to assess the safety. Thus we recommend avoiding all products containing “natural flavor” out of an abundance of precaution, because it doesn’t detail what chemicals are actually used.
310 shakes also contain a blend of digestive enzymes such as amylases and lipase. Similar to our comments on the synthetic vitamin and mineral blend, it seems illogical to take a blend of digestive enzymes for people who don't have a deficiency. Digestive enzymes are produced by the body and most people don’t need exogenous supplementation.
The final ingredient inclusion we disagree with is folic acid, which is part of the vitamin and mineral blend. This is a B-vitamin which has been associated with slightly increased risk of prostate cancer when supplemented.
Will 310 Nutrition Shakes Cause Weight Loss?
Any meal that provides less calories than maintenance can help with weight loss, but 310 Nutrition shakes haven't been studied in any clinical research suggesting they're effective for weight loss.
The one pro of 310 shakes for weight loss is that they have a relatively high level of protein (15 grams), and protein intake has been associated with improved weight loss outcomes in medical research. This is because protein increases satiation (sense of fullness). It’s nearly impossible to eat 2,000 calories of steak in one sitting for most people because of the high protein content, but it’s possible to eat 2,000 calories of pizza because of the low protein content.
There is no medical proof that 310 Nutrition is superior for weight loss than the equivalent amount of protein and calories from other sources.
310 Nutrition Lawsuit
In 2016, a non-profit organization based in California called the Environmental Research Center (ERC) sued 310 Nutrition, claiming that some of their products contained high levels of heavy metals lead and cadmium.
The lawsuit alleges the following: "Prior to ERC’s Notice of Violation and this Complaint, 310 Nutrition failed to provide a warning on the labels of the SUBJECT PRODUCTS."
What's somewhat comical is that 310 Nutrition now includes warnings on their product labels, but claims on their website to do so only out of goodwill. The following text is from 310 Nutrition's Prop 65 page: "Not all companies comply and many do so only after a lawsuit, but 310 has voluntarily elected to provide Proposition 65 warnings to California customers."
We mostly agree with 310 Nutrition that the Prop 65 limits enforced by California are unscientific and poorly-chosen, but we consider it to be questionable for the brand to position their claims in this way given the prior lawsuit.
310 Nutrition Real User Review
The most highly-viewed YouTube review of 310 Nutrition which is unsponsored comes from a creator named "Flawed_but_fabulousone" who claims that the shakes helped her lose 90 pounds:
Our Shake Recommendation
For consumers who are seeking a healthy and convenient meal replacement product, we would recommend Daily Harvest smoothies. This brand sells ready-to-blend smoothies which arrive frozen and are comprised of entirely whole foods ingredients without harmful fillers or additives. You can enter code “DH40” to get $40 off your first box.
Daily Harvest smoothies include whole foods ingredients rich in phytonutrients such as ginger purée, organic cloves, organic mandarin, acai, organic psyllium husk powder and much more.
Daily Harvest is the only smoothie or meal replacement brand that we currently recommend based on our high formulation standards. We're not suggesting that these products are necessarily effective for weight loss; just that they make healthy meal replacement options.
Consumers interested in Daily Harvest smoothies can check out the brand at this link.
310 Nutrition Shake Pros and Cons
Even though we don’t recommend 310 Nutrition shakes overall, it can still be useful to provide a quick takeaway of pros and cons of the brand:
- Many whole foods ingredients
- High level of protein per serving
- Free of artificial flavoring and added sugar
- Contains unnecessary synthetic vitamin and mineral blend
- Contains unnecessary digestive enzymes
- Contains natural flavoring agent
- Only 110 calories
- Relatively expensive at around $2 per serving