Shakeology is one of the most well-known meal replacement shakes on the market today. Given its popularity, we were curious about the shake itself. Is it popular because of good marketing? Or does the diet shake actually work? What we’re most focused on are the ingredients in Shakeology. Are they safe? How do they promote weight loss? We want you to have the best information – so we’re providing it for you here.
Shakeology Nutritional Facts
There are a lot of ingredients in Shakeology. That’s not necessarily good or bad, but it can be difficult to sort through, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here’s a look at the ingredients panel from the product itself.
We’re looking at the Chocolate flavor, for reference. For the most part, the ingredients should be the same, but there is some variety, both in calorie amount and what makes each shake taste like its particular flavor.
The recommended serving size is a single scoop of this shake (which is 42 grams). The powder alone is 160 calories. If you mix the shake with water, the calorie count won’t go up and in that case, we would say that this number is beneficial for a low-calorie diet. Generally speaking though, meal replacement shakes are popularly mixed with milk, fruits, and sometimes even vegetables. If that’s the case, it ups the calorie count significantly.
Proprietary Super Fruit / Antioxidant Blend
Shakeology already contains a blend of fruits. This blend consists of Camu-Camu, Acerola Cherry, Bilberry, Goji Berry, Green Tea, Luo Han Guo, Pomegranate, Rose Hips, and Vitamins A, C, and E. It’s not clear how much of these ingredients are included.
The Camu-Camu is responsible for the high amount of Vitamin C. Acai berry, popularized in the past few years, is a good source of Vitamin A.
Shakeology boasts five proprietary blends of nutrient combinations. Some of these blends are: Proprietary Super-Protein Blend, Proprietary Super-Fruit / Antioxidant Blend, and Proprietary Adaptogen Blend.
Protein Sources (Core Engine)
Protein is the backbone to any good meal replacement shake. Shakeology uses whey protein and pea protein in their shakes. Whey protein isolate is one of the most popular choices for protein in meal replacement shakes because it’s one of the most complete proteins available. Whey comes in different varieties, like concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. Isolate is the whey protein used in this diet shake. It’s 90% protein or higher. It contains less lactose and fat than other strains, but also contains less beneficial nutrients.
Pea protein is being rediscovered as a powerhouse protein. It’s vegan-friendly and has a low allergen profile. It’s rich in BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), which can help you feel full longer, keep your body in a muscle building state for a prolonged amount of time, decrease belly fat, keep you full between meals, and energize your workouts. It’s high in protein, low in carbohydrates, is gluten free, and lactose free.
The shake contains 17 grams of protein in total. This is a high amount of protein for a food source but not necessarily in a bad way. To determine your RDA of protein, take your body weight and multiply it by 36% (or .36).
Fiber sources vary from one shake to another. A high amount of fiber is a great natural way to fill you up. The FDA recommends that we get 25 grams of fiber a day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.1 To determine how much you personally should be consuming, try using a fiber requirement calculator online. Chocolate Shakeology contains 6 grams of dietary fiber which seems like a great amount to help satisfy your daily intake needs.
Fiber is an essential part of your diet because it takes up space in your stomach, making you feel full, but passes through your system relatively undigested. Soluble fiber dissolves in water into a gel-like substance. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement through your digestive system.2
Shakeology sites fiber sources as apple pectin, flax, chia meal, and yacon. We notice that pea fiber and chicory root fiber are also included in the ingredients list, but not mentioned in Beachbody’s FAQ regarding the fiber sources in their meal replacement shakes. They also have a supplement to add to your fiber intake, which is listed below.
What Are The Sweeteners?
There are multiple different ways to sweeten a meal replacement shake. Sugar is one option, artificial sweeteners are another, and natural sweeteners that aren’t sugar are also an option. The amount of sugar in a shake is critical, as it’s a simple carbohydrate that, if consumed in excess, can result in excess fat.
Artificial sweeteners seem like the perfect solution – they’re no calorie and supposedly pass through your system without actually being absorbed. Sucralose (more well-known as Splenda) is a popular artificial sweetener. It’s approved by the FDA – how could anything possibly be wrong with it? Well, there are always contingencies, and watch dog groups have taken a very different stance on artificial sweeteners.
Sucralose is created by chlorinating sucrose, regular table sugar. The human body is not good at ridding itself of organic compounds that have been chlorinated. The FDA says that “there is only 11 percent to 27 percent absorption, but the Japanese Food Sanitation Council says as much as 40 percent is absorbed by the body.”3
The FDA confirms that sucralose is 98% pure, but it’s been suggested that it contains heavy metals like lead, arsenic, triphenilphosphine oxide, methanol, chlorinated disaccharides, and other potentially dangerous substances.
It seems that there hasn’t been enough long-term research to determine whether or not sucralose is truly harmful. Until then you may want to pursue the use of more natural substances such as stevia or lo Han fruit for use as a non-caloric sweetener. All great natural sugar substitutes that come with little to no controversy. Whereas Shakeology used to have sucralose in their chocolate flavor, they have removed it, instead using these more natural options, and we approve.
Who’s Behind Shakeology?
Shakeology is brought to you by Beachbody, a well-respected fitness company responsible for the workouts P90X and Insanity. It’s a MLM (multi-level marketing) company that relies on its customers to not only buy the shake, but to sell it as well, and recruit others to sell the diet shake.
There was a public scare about the amount of lead contained in the Greenberry flavor4. In 2013 Consumerlab reported that the shake contained excessively high amounts of lead. Since then, Shakeology has changed its recipe and Consumerlab approved the flavor.
How to Contact
Beachbody offers email and live chat for customers to reach their company. Both of those options can be reached by clicking here.
Beachbody has an in-depth return policy, which seems to vary depending on the purchase. It can be found on their website easily by searching “return policy.” Once you’ve read that, it’s important to follow the detailed return instructions. The addresses to send returns to, depending on which country you live in, are as follows:
6360 Port Road
Groveport, OH 43125
Beachbody Canada LP
4240 Harvester Rd Unit 2
Burlington ON L7L 0E8
Other Products by Shakeology
Focused Energy Boost
This product is designed to give your mind and body a wholesome boost of energy. It features natural caffeine from guarana and green tea and boasts “no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.” Directions advise to mix with your drink of choice.
Power Greens Boost
This supplement is intended to give you a boost of your daily green veggies. They compare it to “eating 2/3 cup dark leafy greens, 1/3 cup cucumbers, and 1/3 of a large celery stalk.” It contains 20 calories per serving. Like the energy boost, the directions recommend combining a scoop of powder in with a drink of your choice.
Digestive Health Boost
You get over half of your RDA of fiber when you add Digestive Health Boost to your Chocolate Shakeology. It contains 7 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber. Ingredients like psyllium and pea fiber help improve regularity, support your digestive health, and make you feel full longer.
Does it Work?
Despite some of Shakeology’s questionable ingredients, the formula does also include ingredients that can be beneficial to weight loss, like high amounts of protein and fiber. The calorie count may also benefit weight loss, depending on how many other outside sources you add to the shake. We can’t see any reason why this diet shake would be detrimental to weight loss, if you include it with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, except maybe the price (which is pretty high at $129.95 for a 30-serving package).