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{"id":556332482633,"title":"Shakeology Review: Powerful Nutrition or Sugary Junk?","created_at":"2022-03-22T23:55:53-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Shakeology Review: Powerful Nutrition or Sugary Junk?\",\n \"keywords\": \"shakeology, shakeology review, shakeology reviews, beachbody shakeology, shakeology ingredients, shakeology beachbody, shakeology nutrition facts\",\n \"description\": \"Our MD and research team reviews the ingredients in the most popular Shakeology products based on published medical research to evaluate whether they’re actually healthy and whether they can help you lose weight.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/shakeology-review\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Taylor Graber MD\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/taylor-graber\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/taylor-j-graber-md-81351642\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Content Partner\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"medicine, health, anesthesiology, iv therapy, science, drugs, pharmaceutical, medical research, scientific research, medical journals, entrepreneurship, healthcare, orthopedic surgery, biomedical engineering\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"University of California San Diego\",\n \"Arizona University\",\n \"University of Arizona College of Medicine\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"contributor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Shakeology_Thumbnail.png?v=1648008378\",\n\"width\": \"3397\",\n\"height\": \"3397\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/kachava-review\", \n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3309636\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31246081\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20024932\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30900815\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK564314\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/35212740\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/gf9-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31174214\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"Team Beachbody\"\n},\n{\n\"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"vitamins and minerals\"\n},\n{\n\"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"added sugar\"\n},\n{\n\"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"fiber\"\n}\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-03-23\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Logo.png?v=1641249064\", \n \"width\": 150,\n \"height\": 150\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"Address\": {\n \"@type\": \"PostalAddress\",\n \"streetAddress\": \"50 Union Street, Unit 9\",\n \"addressLocality\": \"Northampton\",\n \"addressRegion\": \"Massachusetts\",\n \"postalCode\": \"01060\",\n \"addressCountry\": \"US\"\n},\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Shakeology_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1648008258\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eS\u003c\/span\u003ehakeology is a nutrition powder blend manufactured by Team Beachbody, one of the leading weight loss brands in the world. It’s Team Beachbody’s most popular line of products, and the shakes come in a wide variety of flavors.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll review the ingredients in the most popular Shakeology shakes based on published medical research to evaluate whether they’re actually healthy and whether they can help you lose weight.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eCafé Latte Whey Shakeology Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe best-selling Shakeology product is the Café Latte Whey mix, which contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eprotein\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecoffee flavor\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and is branded like a hot chocolate drink. It costs $129.95 before shipping and handling for 30 servings, which is over $4 before shipping and handling charges per serving. That’s more than a Starbucks coffee at many locations, and is overpriced for a powder blend in our opinion.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe shake contains a wide variety of added synthetic \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003evitamins and minerals\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. This is a common practice in the industry, and many other “superfood” meal replacement shakes like \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/kachava-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKachava\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e do the same thing, likely because it makes the Supplement Facts label look impressive. Consumers see the high level of vitamins and minerals and assume it’s coming from the food blend rather than the synthetic additives.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe recommend avoiding products with blends of synthetic vitamins and minerals for two reasons. First, multivitamins are proven to provide no benefit to the average consumer and may even slightly increase risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAn \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3309636\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eextensive medical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e on multivitamin use published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzed medical data from over 100,000 individual patients enrolled in vitamin trials, and concluded there was no benefit.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe second reason we recommend avoiding products with these additives is because they may be a health risk to consumers already taking multivitamins, because it may push that patient's dose of individual nutrients above a safe range. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eVitamin supplementation can be therapeutic to patients with a documented deficiency, but taking a random blend of vitamins and minerals has no benefit and may even cause harm if you’re a healthy adult without any deficiency.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis product also contains 5 grams (g) of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eadded sugar\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is one of the few ingredients that’s \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31246081\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003econclusively proven\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e in medical research to be harmful to human health. Selling health products with added sugar is a red flag, and we recommend avoiding supplements with added sugar entirely.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAnother ingredient selection which is a sign of a low-quality brand is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003emaca\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. This is an essentially indigestible starch, which is why all high-quality brands selling maca use the gelatinized form. Eating maca raw is like eating potatoes raw; it’s not recommended because it can cause digestive discomfort, and any company selling raw maca has incompetent formulators in our opinion.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCafé Latte Whey also contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecinnamon\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e but doesn’t list which form of cinnamon is used. This makes it almost certain that the cheapest form, botanical name \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCassia Cinnamon\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, is the form used. Cassia Cinnamon contains a toxic compound called coumarin, as shown in \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20024932\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical studies\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, while “true” cinnamon (\u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eCeylon Cinnamon\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e) contains essentially no coumarin.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe recommend supplements and food products with Ceylon Cinnamon rather than Cassia Cinnamon, and the fact that Shakeology presumably uses the latter is another sign that their formulators are not aware of the scientific research behind the ingredients they’re using. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eShakeology advertises that their product contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eomega-3 fatty acids\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, but they use the wrong form. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in Shakeology has been shown \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30900815\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ein medical trials\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to be inferior to the seafood forms of omega-3 such as DHA and EPA. The linked study found that EPA+DHA, but not ALA, improved cholesterol and inflammation.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe omega-3 in Shakeology also appears underdosed at only 250 milligrams (mg). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/books\/NBK564314\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ehas set the minimally effective dose\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e at 2 g per day, which is nearly 10x the amount in this product. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis shake contains \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003enatural flavors\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which we recommend avoiding because this is a loosely regulated term and fails to distinguish which specific chemicals are used for the flavoring. Without a company disclosing what specific flavoring agents are used, consumers can’t determine whether those are safe or toxic.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAside from all of the questionable additives we’ve outlined, the core superfood blend contains a mix of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ewhey protein\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and various powdered plant compounds like \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecamu-camu\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eastragalus\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, along with some probiotics.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis blend may be beneficial for consumers eating a poor diet, who would benefit from the antioxidants and phytonutrients in the plant compounds. However, we can’t determine what the dosage is of the plant compounds because Shakeology includes them in a proprietary blend, which means they provide the dose of the entire blend rather than the dose of each ingredient, which is a practice we recommend manufacturers stop engaging in as we find it deceptive.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor all we know, 99% of the blend could be whey protein and the remaining 1% could be a mix of all of the exotic plant ingredients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall we find this to be a very poor formulation, with many questionable filler ingredients we recommend avoiding. The brand uses inferior forms of various botanical compounds, and fails to publish the exact dosage of the whole foods ingredients they do use. We would strongly recommend avoiding this product, especially considering the price.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eTropical Strawberry Plant-Based Vegan Shakeology Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTeam Beachbody sells a vegan shake blend called Tropical Strawberry Plant-Based Vegan, which costs the same as the previous product we reviewed.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe were hoping that since this is a shake including fruit, the brand wouldn’t feel the need to include added sugars, but the same 5 g added sugar dose is included in this product as well. This shake also contains maca and cinnamon and natural flavors.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOne additive ingredient unique to this product that we recommend avoiding is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which is a flavor enhancer that’s been documented in a series of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical case reports\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in some patients. This is likely due to the fact that it’s manufactured from a fungus called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAspergilus niger\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e which is a known allergen.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis product contains a very similar botanical ingredient blend to the Café Latte product, so we feel as though it may benefit some patients with a terrible diet, but we wouldn’t recommend it due to the additives and would recommend eating more fruits and vegetables instead if the goal is to improve health.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eMedical Study Analysis\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Shakeology_Clinical_Results.png?v=1648008335\" alt=\"Shakeology clinical results\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBeachbody funded a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/35212740\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e of Shakeology to test whether it could result in increased weight loss. We commend them for doing this, and the study was published in The Journal of Nutrition which is a legitimate, peer-reviewed medical journal. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis is actual clinical research, unlike many supplement brands which pay a for-profit research firm to test their products and publish the results on their website (looking at you, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/gf9-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003egf-9\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e), and then call it clinical research.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe study found that Shakeology improved weight loss outcomes compared to a control drink with less fiber and protein. In our opinion, this is a poorly designed study because both fiber and protein are proven to increase the sense of fullness which results in improved weight loss outcomes.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eEssentially, we believe it’s the fiber and protein in the product which causes the improved weight loss rather than anything proprietary about Shakeology’s formula. We can’t identify one single ingredient other than fiber and protein in their shakes that’s likely to cause weight loss.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe know from \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31174214\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical studies\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that fiber intake predicts weight loss. Shakeology only contains 6 g fiber, so consumers could likely see improved weight loss outcomes with a higher fiber intake.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eTaking a fiber supplement for weight loss would be much cheaper than Shakeology, and would avoid the additives like sugar and flavoring agents. We believe this is a healthier alternative. Look for a plain fiber powder like psyllium husk fiber that doesn’t contain any additive ingredients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eShakeology products may cause improved health outcomes in some patients, and there is research proving this. However, we don’t recommend any of the brand’s products due to the inclusion of many questionable additive ingredients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe that the proven efficacy of Shakeology is related only to its protein and especially its fiber content, and we believe the results can be mirrored and even improved by a plain fiber supplement, given that there is so much medical research backing fiber supplementation for weight loss.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBecause Shakeology fails to publish the exact dose of any of their botanical ingredients, it’s impossible for consumers and researchers to determine if these ingredients are effectively dosed.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-03-23T10:22:46-04:00","updated_at":"2022-03-23T10:22:46-04:00","summary_html":"We review the ingredients in the most popular Shakeology drink mixes based on published medical research to evaluate whether they’re actually healthy and whether they can help you lose weight.","template_suffix":"","handle":"shakeology-review","tags":"_related:meal-replacement, _related:nutrition"}

Shakeology Review: Powerful Nutrition or Sugary Junk?

Shakeology Review: Powerful Nutrition or Sugary Junk?


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.
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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.


Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Shakeology is a nutrition powder blend manufactured by Team Beachbody, one of the leading weight loss brands in the world. It’s Team Beachbody’s most popular line of products, and the shakes come in a wide variety of flavors.

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in the most popular Shakeology shakes based on published medical research to evaluate whether they’re actually healthy and whether they can help you lose weight.

Café Latte Whey Shakeology Review

The best-selling Shakeology product is the Café Latte Whey mix, which contains protein and coffee flavor and is branded like a hot chocolate drink. It costs $129.95 before shipping and handling for 30 servings, which is over $4 before shipping and handling charges per serving. That’s more than a Starbucks coffee at many locations, and is overpriced for a powder blend in our opinion.

The shake contains a wide variety of added synthetic vitamins and minerals. This is a common practice in the industry, and many other “superfood” meal replacement shakes like Kachava do the same thing, likely because it makes the Supplement Facts label look impressive. Consumers see the high level of vitamins and minerals and assume it’s coming from the food blend rather than the synthetic additives.

We recommend avoiding products with blends of synthetic vitamins and minerals for two reasons. First, multivitamins are proven to provide no benefit to the average consumer and may even slightly increase risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

An extensive medical review on multivitamin use published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzed medical data from over 100,000 individual patients enrolled in vitamin trials, and concluded there was no benefit.

The second reason we recommend avoiding products with these additives is because they may be a health risk to consumers already taking multivitamins, because it may push that patient's dose of individual nutrients above a safe range. 

Vitamin supplementation can be therapeutic to patients with a documented deficiency, but taking a random blend of vitamins and minerals has no benefit and may even cause harm if you’re a healthy adult without any deficiency.

This product also contains 5 grams (g) of added sugar, which is one of the few ingredients that’s conclusively proven in medical research to be harmful to human health. Selling health products with added sugar is a red flag, and we recommend avoiding supplements with added sugar entirely.

Another ingredient selection which is a sign of a low-quality brand is maca. This is an essentially indigestible starch, which is why all high-quality brands selling maca use the gelatinized form. Eating maca raw is like eating potatoes raw; it’s not recommended because it can cause digestive discomfort, and any company selling raw maca has incompetent formulators in our opinion.

Café Latte Whey also contains cinnamon but doesn’t list which form of cinnamon is used. This makes it almost certain that the cheapest form, botanical name Cassia Cinnamon, is the form used. Cassia Cinnamon contains a toxic compound called coumarin, as shown in medical studies, while “true” cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon) contains essentially no coumarin.

We recommend supplements and food products with Ceylon Cinnamon rather than Cassia Cinnamon, and the fact that Shakeology presumably uses the latter is another sign that their formulators are not aware of the scientific research behind the ingredients they’re using. 

Shakeology advertises that their product contains omega-3 fatty acids, but they use the wrong form. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in Shakeology has been shown in medical trials to be inferior to the seafood forms of omega-3 such as DHA and EPA. The linked study found that EPA+DHA, but not ALA, improved cholesterol and inflammation.

The omega-3 in Shakeology also appears underdosed at only 250 milligrams (mg). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has set the minimally effective dose at 2 g per day, which is nearly 10x the amount in this product. 

This shake contains natural flavors, which we recommend avoiding because this is a loosely regulated term and fails to distinguish which specific chemicals are used for the flavoring. Without a company disclosing what specific flavoring agents are used, consumers can’t determine whether those are safe or toxic.

Aside from all of the questionable additives we’ve outlined, the core superfood blend contains a mix of whey protein and various powdered plant compounds like camu-camu and astragalus, along with some probiotics.

This blend may be beneficial for consumers eating a poor diet, who would benefit from the antioxidants and phytonutrients in the plant compounds. However, we can’t determine what the dosage is of the plant compounds because Shakeology includes them in a proprietary blend, which means they provide the dose of the entire blend rather than the dose of each ingredient, which is a practice we recommend manufacturers stop engaging in as we find it deceptive.

For all we know, 99% of the blend could be whey protein and the remaining 1% could be a mix of all of the exotic plant ingredients.

Overall we find this to be a very poor formulation, with many questionable filler ingredients we recommend avoiding. The brand uses inferior forms of various botanical compounds, and fails to publish the exact dosage of the whole foods ingredients they do use. We would strongly recommend avoiding this product, especially considering the price.

Tropical Strawberry Plant-Based Vegan Shakeology Review

Team Beachbody sells a vegan shake blend called Tropical Strawberry Plant-Based Vegan, which costs the same as the previous product we reviewed.

We were hoping that since this is a shake including fruit, the brand wouldn’t feel the need to include added sugars, but the same 5 g added sugar dose is included in this product as well. This shake also contains maca and cinnamon and natural flavors.

One additive ingredient unique to this product that we recommend avoiding is citric acid, which is a flavor enhancer that’s been documented in a series of medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in some patients. This is likely due to the fact that it’s manufactured from a fungus called Aspergilus niger which is a known allergen.

This product contains a very similar botanical ingredient blend to the Café Latte product, so we feel as though it may benefit some patients with a terrible diet, but we wouldn’t recommend it due to the additives and would recommend eating more fruits and vegetables instead if the goal is to improve health.

Medical Study Analysis

Shakeology clinical results

Beachbody funded a medical study of Shakeology to test whether it could result in increased weight loss. We commend them for doing this, and the study was published in The Journal of Nutrition which is a legitimate, peer-reviewed medical journal. 

This is actual clinical research, unlike many supplement brands which pay a for-profit research firm to test their products and publish the results on their website (looking at you, gf-9), and then call it clinical research.

The study found that Shakeology improved weight loss outcomes compared to a control drink with less fiber and protein. In our opinion, this is a poorly designed study because both fiber and protein are proven to increase the sense of fullness which results in improved weight loss outcomes.

Essentially, we believe it’s the fiber and protein in the product which causes the improved weight loss rather than anything proprietary about Shakeology’s formula. We can’t identify one single ingredient other than fiber and protein in their shakes that’s likely to cause weight loss.

We know from medical studies that fiber intake predicts weight loss. Shakeology only contains 6 g fiber, so consumers could likely see improved weight loss outcomes with a higher fiber intake.

Taking a fiber supplement for weight loss would be much cheaper than Shakeology, and would avoid the additives like sugar and flavoring agents. We believe this is a healthier alternative. Look for a plain fiber powder like psyllium husk fiber that doesn’t contain any additive ingredients.

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Conclusion

Shakeology products may cause improved health outcomes in some patients, and there is research proving this. However, we don’t recommend any of the brand’s products due to the inclusion of many questionable additive ingredients.

We believe that the proven efficacy of Shakeology is related only to its protein and especially its fiber content, and we believe the results can be mirrored and even improved by a plain fiber supplement, given that there is so much medical research backing fiber supplementation for weight loss.

Because Shakeology fails to publish the exact dose of any of their botanical ingredients, it’s impossible for consumers and researchers to determine if these ingredients are effectively dosed.





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