Herbalife Shake Review on MRS.com | Herbalife Shakes Herbalife Shake Review on MRS.com | Herbalife Shakes
Our Rating:
6.3/10

Herbalife products are sold exclusively through Herbalife Independent Distributors and are NOT available in stores.

Nutrition Per Serving1

90

Calories

9g

Sugar

0mg

Cholesterol

1g

Fat

13g

Carbs

3g

Dietary Fiber

9g

Protein

Varies

Price Per Serving1


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Our Review

To help you to make a more informed decision.

PEER-REVIEWED BY
Chrissy Arsenault - MBA, RDN, LD

Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Licensed Dietitian based in Indianapolis. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science at Cornell University and her MBA at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Read More

#1
#2
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#25
Calories 110 130 124 160 90
Soy Free Protein
Sugars 0g 0g 0g 1g 9g
No Artifical Sweeteners
Superfoods
Probiotics
Price Per Serving $2.43 $2.32 $2.00 $3.50 Varies
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310 Shake is a healthy meal replacement formula made with some of the finest natural ingredients in the world.

Herbalife Shake Review

Written by the Meal Replacement Shakes Team; medically reviewed by Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD

Are you thinking of using Herbalife Shake to meet your weight loss goals? The company advertises its shake for people on the go, for people who want to live a healthier lifestyle, serious athletes, and people who want to lose weight. But how healthy are the shakes, really?

We analyzed the ingredients and nutrition label and found some interesting facts that you may want to consider before deciding on making Herbalife Shake your shake on the go! Are they genuinely suitable for long-term health and for maintaining a healthy weight?

Read on to find out more about what is in the ingredients in this famous shake.

Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Shake

 

Taste Factor

There were lots of mixed reviews on the taste of Herbalife protein powder shakes, but the majority of people seemed to really like them.

One of the major benefits of this shake is that it comes in a variety of interesting flavors to choose from. Herbalife shake flavors include Banana Caramel, French Vanilla, Dulce de Leche, Orange Cream and Mint Chocolate. Herbalife reviews showed that fans love the different flavors and being able to make new and exciting creations using Herbalife shake recipes.

Those that like the taste of these shakes said they’re like enjoying delicious desserts throughout the day! They enjoy the sweetness and indulgent flavors.

However, the people that don’t like the shakes said they’re too sweet or left an unpleasant aftertaste after drinking them. In addition, some people said the shakes simply tasted gross, an00d weren’t something they would want to drink every day. (1)

 

Herbalife Ingredients in Detail

Herbalife Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Soy Protein Isolate, Fructose, Cellulose Powder, Corn Bran, Artificial French Vanilla Flavor, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Caseinate, Casein, Rice Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Canola Oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Carrageenan, DL-Methionine, Inulin ***, Magnesium Oxide, Silicon Dioxide, Licorice Flavor, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Ginger Root Powder, Psyllium Husk Powder, Citrus Pectin, Proteases Derived from Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae (from Aminogen), Honey Powder, Ascorbic Acid, DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Papaya Fruit Powder, Blueberry Powder, Pomegranate Powder, Biotin, Niacinamide, Beta Carotene, Ferrous Fumarate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Bromelain, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Chromium Chloride, Sodium Molybdate, and Sodium Selenite. Contains Milk and Soy

Looking through the ingredient list, red flags are immediately raised with the terms artificial and words you can’t pronounce. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into this shake.

Soy Protein Isolate is the number one ingredient. Soy is one of the major allergens. The majority of recent literature has indicated that soy consumption doesn’t significantly contribute to reproductive issues.  In fact, research has found that soy consumption is associated with positive effects on body weight, lipid profile, and insulin.  As long as soy is tolerated well, there isn’t very much cause for concern.

Fructose is added as a sweetening agent. Fructose skips a key step in metabolism and creates a massive influx of energy from the liver.  This excess of energy stimulates fat production, may promote non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and invokes insulin resistance with the regular overconsumption of fructose. It is usually included in ingredient lists because it is a cheap and effective sweetening agent as fructose is much sweeter than glucose.

Cellulose Powder is a refined wood pulp used as a thickener, texture modifier, and anti-caking agent. It is a type of fiber that when consumed in excess may cause gas and bloat since it is a form of indigestible fiber. However, this ingredient mainly contributes anti-caking properties and should not cause major gastric issues in this powder.  It is on the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.

Corn Bran is a natural source of fiber. In a study on four types of starches, corn bran had the most satiating effect. This means it will keep you full for a more extended period.

Flavorings used include Artificial French Vanilla Flavor, Licorice Flavor, Natural Vanilla Flavor. We don’t like to see artificial flavorings in our shakes, and there is no reason natural vanilla flavor could not be used instead of artificial since it is already in the product. Just alter the amount. Licorice Flavor is often really anise oil, a pure natural essential oil.

Fiber Sources include Guar Gum, Psyllium Husk Powder, Rice Powder, and Citrus Pectin. Guar Gum is a water-soluble fiber often used in protein supplements to boost fiber content. Psyllium is an edible soluble fiber that relieves constipation, lowers cholesterol in sufficient quantities, and aids in satiety. Citrus Pectin is a detoxifying agent and promotes gut health but may cause stomach discomfort in those sensitive to citrus products. It also serves as a thickening or gelling agent. Rice Powder is used more as a thickening agent than as a source of fiber. The primary source of fiber in this product comes from Corn Bran.

Potassium Chloride is used as a flavor enhancer, a potassium chloride source, a pH control agent, and a thickener or stabilizer.

Calcium Phosphate is used as a stabilizer and anti-caking ingredient in many processed foods.

Calcium Caseinate is a protein derived from milk. It is called a “slow-protein” because it metabolizes slowly in the body, giving a sustained release of amino acids into the system.

Casein is a protein derived from milk that contains all of the essential amino acids necessary for the body to function. It provides all of the essential amino acids for strength-building and muscle functioning. Bodybuilders may ingest casein immediately before a workout or before going to bed to aid in muscle recovery.

Soy Lecithin is added as an emulsifier rather than as a supplement.

Canola Oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, making it a healthy fat choice. It also contains appreciable levels of essential fatty acids. 

Medium Chain Triglycerides can help promote modest weight loss as they are metabolized differently than long-chain fatty acids resulting in a higher metabolic rate. They do not contain essential fatty acids, however.

Carrageenan is an additive used to thicken, emulsify, or preserve foods and drinks. Manufactured from natural red seaweed, its use has come with mixed reviews. There have been reports of:

  • Inflammation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Bloating
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Food allergies

Granted, many of the adverse reports come from animal studies and self-reports, but it’s something to keep in mind when choosing ingredients. Looking at Carrageenan scientifically, there have been no studies to back up adverse effects of this product immunologically, in reproductive health, or as a carcinogen. A recent  2021 animal study showed that long-term ingestion of Carrageenan interrupted the insulin signaling pathway, thus potentially affecting glucose control.  Further, a study indicated that the upper limit for safe consumption of Carrageenan is 75 mg/kg of body weight, so you are likely not consuming that much from this shake.

DL-Methionine is one of the nine essential amino acids. It is a sulfur-containing amino acid good for hair, nails, and skin. It also acts as an antioxidant to help repair damaged tissues. 

Inulin is a prebiotic and a source of fiber. Since it is lower on the ingredient list, we can assume it does not contribute an appreciable amount of fiber to the product. It improves gut health, contributes to feelings of fullness, and helps lower cholesterol in appreciable amounts.

Magnesium Oxide As an appreciable source of magnesium, this is a poor choice. Most magnesium oxide is bound up and excreted rather than absorbed by the tissues.

Silicon Dioxide is an anti-caking agent and has been deemed safe by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Ginger Root Powder is added for weight loss effects. Although scientific validation of this effect lacks in humans, animal studies indicate Ginger Root is good for lowered body weight and increased energy expenditure.

Digestive Enzymes are included in the form of proteases that help digest proteins and Bromelain from Papaya. Bromelain also helps digest proteins.

Superfoods are foods considered more nutritionally dense and are frequently condensed into powders from such nutrient-dense foods. Herbalife has included Blueberry Powder, Pomegranate Powder, and Papaya Fruit Powder. These fruits are exceptionally high in antioxidants, polyphenols, and trace nutrients.

Honey Powder is a source of natural sugars, but again, high in fructose. Honey powder is the dehydrated form of honey. Honey has more calories than table sugar and the same effect on blood glucose levels.

Vitamins and Minerals are the added nutrients that we haven’t talked about yet: Ascorbic Acid, DL-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Biotin, Niacinamide, Beta Carotene, Ferrous Fumarate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Gluconate, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Chromium Chloride, Sodium Molybdate, and Sodium Selenite.

The ingredient list is full of thickeners, stabilizers, flavor enhancers, preservatives, artificial flavorings, unabsorbable minerals, and fructose. This excess of fructose can contribute to weight gain, not weight loss.

Let’s lift the hood up and take a peek at the product’s nutritional analysis by looking at the label.

Herbalife Shake Nutrition Facts

Herbalife Nutrition Facts and Ingredients

Herbalife has 30 servings per container. Each serving contains:

Calories: The shake has 90 calories before it is added to anything else. This is a low amount perfectly acceptable on a weight loss diet even after it’s added to a milk or milk substitute. With the addition of low-fat milk, it comes to only 170 calories, and if you had this three times per day, you would only be getting 510 calories leaving enough room to add other foods to the shake and to your snacks to equal a minimum of 1200 calories for women and 1500 calories for men. 

Total Fat: This shake has a minimal level of fat at 1 gram and 0 grams of saturated or trans-fat. Added to skim milk, it would have no other added fat. You want to get enough fat to get your essential fatty acids for the day, and since the shake has only 1% of the Daily Value (DV), you would have to add additional sources of healthy fats to your diet to achieve a balanced intake.

Cholesterol is heart-healthy at 0 mg.

The Sodium level is only 95 mg. making it a low sodium product.

Potassium is also low at 190 mg, and this is a nutrient you want on the higher side since Americans tend to run low with potassium in their diet. The recommended intake of potassium is 3400 mg per day for males age 19 – 50 and 2600 mg per day for females age 19 – 50.  190 mg is not much considering the amount you need per day. That amount can easily be boosted by adding fruits to your shake or increasing your vegetable intake.

Total Carbohydrate levels are also moderately low, coming in at 13 grams or 4% of the DV (for a 2000 calorie diet). Even mixed with skim milk, the carbohydrate content only goes up to 8% of the DV. This leaves room for adding fruits and vegetables to the meal replacement program and still staying within low-calorie guidelines. Total grams of carbohydrate on a low carbohydrate 1200 calorie diet would be 120 grams calculating 40% of total calories as carbohydrate. However, most of these carbohydrates are sugar with only 3 grams of dietary fiber, so the carbohydrate content won’t keep you satiated for very long.

Dietary Fiber is moderately low at 3 grams per serving. We would like to see closer to 5 grams or more since 25-38 grams of fiber per day is currently recommended by the American Heart Association. The ingredient label would lend one to believe there is more fiber in this product than there is since it lists about five sources of fiber including corn bran, inulin, psyllium husks, guar gum, and citrus pectin.

Sugars equal 9 grams when we would like to see 0 grams. Additionally, we see from the ingredient list that most of the added sugars are in the form of fructose, an unhealthy choice for a sweetener. Women should have no more than 25 grams of sugar per day and men no more than 38, according to the American Heart Association. It is recommended that many individuals should reduce added sugar consumption.

Protein is what keeps our muscles toned and our bodies functioning smoothly. This shake has 9 grams of protein in a serving, barely enough to keep you satiated until the next meal and hardly enough for muscle recovery if you are an athlete. Most people need .8 grams to 1.2 grams protein/kg of body weight per day, depending on age and activity levels. This translates into 55 grams to 80 grams per day for a 150 lb. man. Only 9 grams of protein in a serving is not quite cutting it with regards to replacing a meal. If you combined it with skim milk, it would boost the protein up to 17 grams. For most individuals, this isn’t quite enough protein.  Without enough protein or fat, there aren’t enough satiating factors to really make a meal replacement shake effective.

Vitamins and Minerals: The Herbalife Shake has 21 added vitamins and minerals, but few are at 30% of the DV, which is what we look for in a meal replacement shake. But we have to remember that the program Herbalife encourages includes a multivitamin/multimineral tablet to be taken once per day with the Formula 1 Herbalife Shake. That would make up for the vitamin and mineral deficiencies if taken with the protein drink. As a meal replacement by itself without the vitamin and mineral pill, it would not make the grade for a meal replacement based on vitamin/mineral composition alone. The calcium content is only 8% of the DV, so if the product is not combined with milk, calcium intake may not be met. The calcium in the multimineral tablet is only 102 mg, so calcium needs will not be met with the shake and the tablet without using the milk or other calcium source. The recommended amount of calcium is 1000 mg to 1500 mg per day. 

We see from looking at the nutrition label that the shake is low in protein, fat and insufficient in vitamins and minerals, and fiber for a meal replacement shake. Carbohydrates are made up mostly of added sugars, which are unnecessary.

Multi-Level Marketing Company (MLM)

Herbalife Nutrition is a multi-level marketing company, which means that you can only buy Herbalife Protein Shakes and other Herbalife products from a distributor near you. This is usually inconvenient for most people, who would prefer the leisure of shopping for their products on their own.

In addition, many people are wary of purchasing from MLM companies, since there may be significant pressure to buy and also to sell the products.And others argue that the quality of the products actually isn’t as great as it would be from a regular e-commerce company, since the focus is on getting more sellers instead of developing the highest quality products.

Company Info

Along with Herbalife Shakes, Herbalife Nutrition also offers dietary supplements, weight management tools, fitness products, Herbalife tea and skin and hair care items. The company considers itself a “global nutrition company whose purpose is to make the world healthier and happier.”

The company started in 1980 with a “mission for nutrition – changing people’s lives with great nutrition products and programs.” Today, the company has distributors in more than 90 countries.

Herbalife Customer Service comes in the form of one-on-one relationships with a Herbalife independent distributor.

Herbalife Flavors

There are 12 flavors to Herbalife Formula 1 Shake. They are Pralines and Cream, Orange Cream, Banana Caramel, Dulce de Leche, Café Latte, French vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Wild Berry, Cookies “n Cream, Mint Chocolate, Pina Colada and Mango Pineapple. While many people expressed delight in mixing and matching flavors, even feeling indulgent, there were many negative comments on the flavor, stating it was “nasty” or that the high sugar and carbs prevented them from losing weight. “Herbalife has too much sugar, and not enough nutrients” was another comment.

Herbalife Price

At $43.30 per container of 30 servings, it comes to what seems to be a reasonable $1.44 per meal. Of course, that does not include the vitamin and mineral supplement cost to use on their plan. And that’s only one shake per day. Any price variation from the distributor is not available on the website and may vary from the stated price. Consumers state the plan is expensive to follow.

Herbalife Shake Summary

The shake puts on a good face by advertising it is for wellness and people on the go. It attempts to include good ingredients like prebiotics, superfoods, and digestive enzymes.  A look at the ingredients and nutrition facts label tells a different story. The product contains many preservatives, anti-caking ingredients, artificial flavors, fructose, and other additives like Carrageenan. The nutritional content is not up to par either, being too low in fiber, essential fatty acids, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.

 While the flavors seem to be a hit for many and the price is reasonable, the question remains, does it work? The reviews focus on success being achieved as part of a total lifestyle change package and not on the use of the product alone. Any short-term decreases in total calories regardless of the method may produce weight loss. Whether this weight loss is muscle or fat and whether it is sustainable are the questions. With Herbalife, you are severely restricting your calories on a protein level that is not that high which means most of the weight loss will be muscle, not just fat, especially if it is not combined with a strength training program. 

 Herbalife is also a product of a multi-level marketing program meaning to obtain it, one must go through a distributor. This makes obtaining the product more challenging since a distributor must be found rather than just ordering it online. The upside to this marketing arrangement is the social community the company has built around its product with support and resources for success on the program.

Long term health effects of the Herbalife program remain to be studied. There is no scientific evidence to date that the program is harmful although anecdotal reports of harmful effects are scattered throughout the internet. The program should be followed with caution and it might even be a good idea to consult with a physician before undertaking the plan.

 

Herbalife Comparison:

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.amazon.com/Herbalife-Formula-Shake-Mix-Vanilla/product-reviews/B001QW9B5Q/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_paging_btm_8?ie=UTF8&reviewerType=all_reviews&pageNumber=8
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/soy-good-or-bad#downsides
  3. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/39/26/2497/4107358
  4. https://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Carrageenan-Report1.pdf

 

1Nutrition information taken from http://az31823.vo.msecnd.net/content/en-us/pdf/catalog/1213_formula1_nongm_vanilla_label_us.pdf. Price per serving for Vanilla Herbalife® varies depending on distributor, not sold online. Accessed 3/1/17. Controversial Ingredients: Fructose and Carrageenan. BBB Rating accessed 1/24/19.