Isagenix core weight loss systems is based on its meal replacement shakes, called IsaLean.
Isagenix says its IsaLean shakes are nutritious and balanced meal replacements that aid in weight loss and lean muscle-building. The shakes, which come in three flavors (though not very imaginative ones): vanilla; strawberry and chocolate. The shakes are low-glycemic with “energy-fueling carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins and minerals, and 24 grams of high-quality protein.” I’ll look closer at the ingredients in a moment but suffice to say the shakes are formulated with amino acids, active enzymes (which help with digestion; breaking down carbs, proteins, and fats) and essential, albeit trace, minerals. (They are essential, like the amino acids and enzymes, but can be found in foods, hence the reason most nutritionists suggest eating whole fresh nutrient rich foods over powdered drinks.)
Isagenix IsaLean Shake Claims
We’ve determined that 67% of Isagenix IsaLean Shake claims are false or mostly false, while 33% are being true or mostly true.
Our Response to Isagenix IsaLean Shake Claims
1. Nutritious meal replacementMostly False
While their products offer some nutritional value, products are quite high in artificial ingredients, added sugars and vitamins/minerals that are likely not easily absorbed by the body. Furthermore, the studies proving their nutritional claims are questionable, and not all of their products have been studied (1).
2. Balanced meal replacementMostly False
This claim is mostly false because Isagenix shakes are fairly high in added sugars and carbohydrates, which does not make for an optimally balanced meal. They do provide enough protein, however, when compared to a whole foods based meal (CDC recommendations would be around 20 grams per meal, and Isagenix shakes provide 24 grams). (2).
3. Clinically tested to promote healthy weight lossFalse
As stated above, the study done on Isagenix shakes are questionable and full of holes. When compared to any other calorie restrictive weight loss approach, it has not been proven that these products are any more helpful.
4. Clinically tested to promote lean muscle buildingFalse
While many studies have been done on whey protein and lean muscle building (3), Isagenix products have not been clinically studied to promote lean muscle building. The only clinical study carried out was the above-mentioned study, which focused solely on weight loss in a group of obese women between the ages of 35-65.
5. It’s a low-glycemic shakeMostly True
Isagenix shakes use fructose from organic sugar beet, which is a better alternative than artificial sweeteners and flavoring agents. Their shakes do not use high fructose corn syrup, and fructose is considered a low glycemic sweetener (4). However, an excess of fructose can be harmful to the liver, so proceed with caution (5).
6. With energy-fueling carbohydratesMostly True
This is mostly true because carbohydrates are, by definition, energy-fueling. However, getting our carbohydrates from whole foods sources found in nature is equally as energy-fueling, and comes along with more natural fiber and nutrients, making them preferable to a meal replacement shake.
7. Good fatsFalse
Isagenix shakes contain sunflower oil and canola oil, neither of which are healthy fats. Both are highly processed omega 6 fats, which (in excess) are known to cause systemic inflammation (6). These oils are commonly used in processed/packaged foods due to their high smoke point and cheap cost.
8. Vitamins and mineralsMostly True
While it is mostly true that Isagenix shakes offer a vitamin/mineral profile, everyone’s nutrient needs differ and the topic of how bioavailable synthetic vitamins are (how well we absorb them) is up for debate. Furthermore, many of the vitamins provided by a shake will put the consumer at well over the DRI (daily recommended intake) of said vitamin if they drink the recommended two shakes per day.
9. 24 grams of high-quality proteinTrue
10. Superior branched-chain amino acid profileMostly False
While each shake does provide all branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine), it is likely not superior to whole foods sources such as meat and eggs (protein foods found in nature). Generally speaking, supplementation is unnecessary for people with adequate dietary protein intake (10).
11. Active enzymes to help ease digestionTrue
Yes, IsaLean shakes come with enzymes to aid digestion, along with a certain strain of probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus). Like any food produced in a laboratory versus foods found in nature, the body is unlikely to utilize these enzymes as effectively as they would from naturally occurring enzymes, such as those found in fermented foods and fresh fruits, for example.
12. Essential trace mineralsMostly False
This statement is mostly false because, while Isagenix shakes do contain a long list of vitamins and minerals, all are synthetically produced. Synthetically produced vitamins and minerals (as opposed to food based) are debatable in terms of their effectiveness and safety, and some studies show that they could actually increase risk of mortality (11).
13. Natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweetenersFalse
Unfortunately, the word “natural” holds no weight in labelling and marketing (as opposed to the process of becoming certified organic, for example). Isagenix shakes are synthetically made, and while many of their ingredients are derived from plants and foods found in nature, this can pretty much be said about any processed food-like product.
14. IsaLean Shake contains superior nutrition compared to other meal replacement shakes on the market.False
This statement is false because there are meal replacement powders on the market that do provide organic, less synthetic and more nutritious ingredients. Furthermore, while IsaLean shakes might be a more well-rounded meal replacement powder than some, most meal replacement shakes/powders are simply unhealthy, so the bar is set low. No meal replacement product can replace the macro and micronutrients needed from whole foods.
15. IsaLean Shake provides balanced nutrients to maximize nutrition while helping you track caloric intake for weight loss and effective weight management. Our shakes also have added enzymes to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other key nutrients.Mostly False
The vitamin and mineral content in IsaLean shakes will not be balanced for each person, as everybody has very different nutrient needs. You can track the caloric intake of these shakes more easily than if you were eating real foods, but at a serious cost to your overall health.
What Makes IsaLean Different From The Rest?
So there are a lot of meal replacement shakes on the market. Tons! And many people make their own. So what makes Isagenix IsaLean shakes different? Isagenix says it’s because their shakes contain “exclusively sourced Myo-IsaLean Complex” This exclusive complex is whey and milk protein concentrates, plus some 20 or so other ingredients including fructose, soy, and quite a few that are not found in nature; not even close. But Isagenix says their sakes give you the nutrition you need to keep going and stay healthy while cutting your calories sufficiently to shed that weight. There’s no secrets buried here; replace meals with shakes. So depending on your weight, the amount of calories you need and ultimately, your weight loss goals, IsaLean Shake can be used to replace one to two meals a day. For those who have higher calorie needs, IsaLean Shake can be used to replace up to three meals. That’s a lot of factory powder!
Isagenix IsaLean Ingredients?
The so-called exclusive Myo-IsaLean Complex is the elixir of the IsaLean Shake. Depending on who you ask, this is either a ton of nutrition or or ton of not-good-for-you junk. The latter would have opponents point out that fructose (the third ingredient listed) may be the one ingredient found in processed foods that has helped people get, and stay, overweight. And the omega-6 refined oils, the excessive carbs, the genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) ingredients are all dubious.
IsaLean and GMOs
Of the GMO’s, Isagenix says it tries to use non-GMO products when it can. And explains that it doesn’t list if a product is non-GMO because GMO labeling comes with considerable technical challenges. In other words, the process of just letting you know what the product is and where it comes from needs to be better standardized and have a more defined methodology. You know, make it easier. In any event, take a look for yourself. The ingredients include (but are not limited to) whey and milk protein concentrates, isomaltooligosaccharide powder, fructose, refined oil powders, tapioca maltodextrin, refined seed powders, xanthan gum, medicago sativa leaf extract, beet juice powder, magnesium oxide, tricalcium phosphate, potassium citrate, enzyme blend, lipase, cellulase, invertase, protease, amylase, bromelain, papain, acid stable protease, magnesium citrate, sea salt, stevia leaf extract, silicon dioxide, yucca root powder, ascorbic acid, magnesium stearate, selenium amino acid chelate, and an alphabet soup of vitamin derivatives. Yum.
Isagenix IsaLean Alternatives
If you are looking for a good meal replacement protein shake, it pays to know how the contents of the product compare to the price. Our Food Scientist studied Isagenix IsaLean label and found similar as well as cheaper alternatives. All the below options have comparable to identical ingredient profiles for vitamins as well as enzymes (not compared in the table) while at the same time saving you a pretty penny. Keep in mind that what company makes you believe about the product is not necessarily true and verified.
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