A lot of us love shakes; all kinds of shakes, in all kinds of flavors.
Not going to lie: I like McDonald’s chocolate shakes. Someone once told me they use pancake batter as an ingredient. Not really, but I’d probably be better off with the batter, because these ingredients are, as least to my eye, yuck.
For the “ice cream” part, it’s the usual milk, cream and sugar (which if whole, organic, and fresh—and in moderation—are perfectly fine), plus a dozen or so more things thrown in like “nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, disodium phosphate, and cellulose gum.”
Mouth watering yet?
Then for the “chocolate syrup” part, how about “high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, cocoa (processed with alkali), natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, caramel color, salt, potassium sorbate (preservative), artificial flavor (vanillin), red 40. May contain small amounts of other shake flavors served at the restaurant, including egg ingredients when Egg Nog Shakes are available.”
But they taste good. Millions of people drink them. So while I like these a lot (I rarely if ever have one, but I want one), they’re terrible for me. And for you. The worst. But they are tasty.
Even a real ice cream milkshake—at say, Friendly’s, Cracker Barrel, Sonic, or even T.G.I. Fridays—is delicious but incredibly high in calories and fat. At Friendly’s—which is all about ice cream—shakes are called Fribbles and range in calories from 750 to nearly 1300. For some of us, that giant shake contains all the calories we’re allowed in a day!
Now, Shakeology shakes are packed with stuff they claim are natural, and packed with nutrition and metabolism-boosting, fat-reducing ingredients designed so that if you replace a meal or two with these shakes, over time, you’re going to lose weight. But how do they taste?
So if you want to purchase Shakeology as a regular retail customer, you’ll pay $129.95 for one month’s supply off the website plus shipping. Or you could become a Beachbody “club member” and the same supply is $116.96 plus shipping—but you pay a member fee. Or, because this is an MLM, you could become a “Coach” for a registration fee of about $39.95 (for starters) and pay monthly fee of $15.95 (or more). You get the same $129.95 product for $97.46, and resell it according to their guidelines.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this because you can take a look at many other reviews I have done on products sold as part of a MLM—or as some criticize, a “pyramid scheme” where the very few at the top earn big time and the ones at the bottom earn next to nothing. Successful coaches that are really into it, like Marcos Oacoa, a Star Diamond Coach probably earn six figures.
Anyway, let’s talk shakes.
Shakeology says its shakes will help you lose weight, will reduce junk food cravings, provide healthy energy and support digestion and regularity. The shakes are rich and satisfying:
You won’t feel deprived because every delicious shake tastes like a sinful treat. The proteins and healthy fats will help you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to snack. Superfoods help your body reduce cravings for junk food. Increased energy means your workouts feel easier.
Created to build and repair muscles, support healthy blood sugar levels, these shakes are also said to not only provide vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system and fight free radical damage but since it supports energy levels, you’ll be able to do more work out more and generally get more done, and be more efficient all while losing weight.
You should use these shakes as part of a healthy but reduced-calorie diet, and or as a meal replacement. If you just want to maintain or add nutrients and proteins, simply add to snacks or meals. Each shake is around 150 calories. You blend one scoop with water and ice. If you use almond milk or coconut water or some fruit juice, adjust the calories.
Flavors vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cafe latte and some are vegan. There’s also “greenberry.” The shakes are packed with “70 super-nutritious ingredients.”
Okay, sounds great. Now how do they taste? We’ll see shortly.
Check out 5 popular Shakeology recipes for under 200 calories here!
Shakeology says its ingredients are “globally sourced superfoods.” Its protein blend includes superfoods like sacha, inchi and flax, which also contain fiber. The antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals “go beyond meeting basic nutritional needs.”
How far beyond?
The protein blend is chia, pea powder, sacha, inchi, flax, quinoa, rice, and oat. Save for a couple, these are pretty well known.
Its prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes include yacon root and bacillus coagulans, amylase, invertase, lactase, cellulase, galactosidase, and glucoamylase. These are maybe not familiar, except for a few. But nothing bad; all good stuff, as far as I can tell. Shakeology says their shakes provide good bacteria to help support digestion and help keep you regular.
The superfruit antioxidant blend is camu-camu, goji berry, and acai, pomegranate, bilberry, rose hips, green tea and luo han guo. Two or three in there that are like, ‘Huh?’
Shakeology shakes also include
Adaptogens…special herbs that grow in harsh climates and conditions, at high elevations, atop mountains where the soil is rocky and oxygen in the air is thin. Because these plants have to adapt to harsh conditions, they have highly concentrated nutrients that can help your body cope with stress, provide energy, and maintain a strong immune system. Shakeology has a total of 9 adaptogens – more than any other shake out there.
These adaptogens come in the form of foods like maca root and astragalus, ashwagandha, chaga, cordyceps, maitake, reishi and schisandra. Never heard of any of these, but they did not require spell-check so they are actual foods, not made-up names.
Shakeology shakes also contain every vitamin and mineral from A to Zinc.
Take a look at the vegan vanilla shake ingredients, which include maca, pomegranate and quinoa. Not exactly high-fructose corn syrup and artificial vanilla flavoring, thankfully, but doesn’t it sure sound like a Fribble, either.
Is Shakeology Gluten-Free?
Shakeology products are manufactured in a facility where cross-contact with gluten is a risk. The Shakeology products attempt to use ingredients that are not “gluten-based”. Overall, they are not gluten-free certified.
The Science (or Lack Thereof) Behind Shakeology
There are no studies I could find dedicated to this particular shake brand. But that said, there are few sketchy ingredients. But even the maker cautions you make sure to talk with your doctor about possible drug interactions because if there’s a concern, it would be that. Some of these herbs are pretty out there and as you know with dietary supplements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t license or approve supplements. I just picked a couple of the most unfamiliar plant names to see what they are.
Like ashwagandha. Mostly found in India, it’s known as Indian ginseng. That helps, because ginseng is common, widely available, and known for its medicinal properties. WebMD says that while ashwagandha has many medicinal uses, “there isn’t enough information to judge whether it is effective for any of them,” including whether its use as an adaptogen to help the body cope with daily stress actually works. That said, it’s been in use for centuries for a number of illnesses including reducing swelling and lowering blood pressure.
NOTE: WebMD also strongly cautions:
Do not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant. It is rated LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the use of ashwagandha during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
How about luo han guo (also known as monk fruit, which is a bit more familiar)? A Chinese herb berry that’s several hundred times sweeter than sugar and is used as a low-calorie sweetener.
Word on the Street about Shakeology
The Shakeology website features doctor reviews—actual physicians from anesthesiologists to plastic surgeons. Keep in mind they are compensated of course. Still, if you’re a board-certified anesthesiologist, why would you put your reputation on the line for a product endorsement? That has to stand for something, right?
On Amazon.com—even though a listing for Shakeology is “currently unavailable”—a May 2017 review by “Gilma” says Shakeology is almost a 5-star product. Gilma’s big problem with Shakeology is also my biggest issue, you’ll soon see.
“I have always eaten pretty healthy but wanted to tone up a bit and eat a little “cleaner” than I was already doing… decided to try Shakeology as a post-workout meal and over a few days I noticed that my sweet tooth cravings had gone away, I had more energy, my bloating and stomach issues went away, and I felt more alert. I was an every day morning coffee drinker before Shakeology but since I started drinking Shakeology I didn’t feel I “needed” coffee and didn’t have that horrible withdrawal headache either.
…worked out about 4-6 times a week, had Shakeology every day and did lose weight and toned up. In my opinion, if you’re gaining weight (like other reviewers have posted) then you’re not keeping track of what you’re taking in versus how much energy you’re burning. Also keep in mind that as we age, our metabolisms slow down a bit and it takes a little more effort to maintain or lose weight.
I knocked it down 1 star because of the price. It is ridiculously expensive! However, I do love the taste (especially the strawberry). I mix it with 1/2 banana, 4 ounce almond milk, 4 ounce water and ice in a blender. When I can’t afford to buy a whole bag, I will sometimes use half a scoop to make it last twice as long, especially since my hubby and kids like it too!”
Not So Great
“Briana P” (2014, 2 stars) gave it a not-so-great rating in her recent review but her issue, like mine and Gilma’s, is cost.
There’s nothing wrong with Shakeology, but the price is absurd. The 100,000+ Beachbody “coaches” (aka distributors) make their living by selling you Shakeology, which would be fine if it was worth the cost, but it isn’t (and it couldn’t be, given that all those coaches need to take a cut on top of the actual cost of the product). You can get the exact same ingredients using a high-quality whey or vegan pea protein powder plus Amazing Grass Green Superfood. Same probiotics, prebiotics, maca, acai, green tea, 4-5 servings of fruits/veggies, etc.
Also, if you buy a decent protein powder, you’ll actually get a much higher amount of protein with essentially no carbs for the same caloric value. I use NOW pea protein powder (24 g protein/120 cal scoop) + Amazing Grass (30 cal/2 g protein) = 150 cal, 26 g protein, only 5 g carbs, same superfoods. Most importantly, those two only costs me $36 for 30 servings, instead of an insane $120. Don’t believe the hype – there are Shakeology alternatives, if you look for them. Enjoy!
How Does Shakeology Taste?
Wait! What about the taste? Well, Amazon stopped selling Shakeology (or was forced to) there’s no way to access more than a handful of the 286 reviews. One review I was able to retrieve from user “Robert Bowers” (2015, 1 star) described it as just okay—and price came into play as well.
$129.00 plus shipping for a “meal replacement” is laughable. Plus I see many of the reviews that suggest that you add fruits and oats to make this “drinkable”. How is this passable for a shake when I can go to my local GNC and purchase a meal replacement shake for a third of the price? …
The flavor was ok, but you can taste a very artificial sugar compound, plus it has a very gritting texture. It tasted like ground sand. Plus I have a pretty good blender that has no issues with my other products, so I know that’s not the problem.”
And when I Googled “How do Shakeology shakes taste?” let’s just say the videos and blog posts and Reddit users were not big fans. Just because it’s called a shake—that doesn’t mean it’s delicious. Rather, it’s good for you. Big difference, apparently.
The Bottom Line: Is Shakeology Worth a Try?
- Insufficient scientific backing
- Testimonials don’t say much for weight loss per se
- An MLM with 74 percent negative reviews on their Better Business profile
- Not cost efficient at all
- Despite the company claims, the taste isn’t as great as they’d like you to think, unless you add things to it.
It’s very expensive. And even though I am a huge shake fan—and always looking to lose weight and get great stuff into my body—I cannot do shake meal replacements. And I especially cannot do shakes that are not yummy. Some people can. So if you can afford it, it probably won’t hurt you (but do NOT use it if you’re pregnant—the ashwagandha). But you can likely find the same quality for a lot less money.