Shakeology® is a brand from Beachbody LLC, mainly selling shakes at around $129.95 a bag.
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|Soy Free Protein|
|No Artifical Sweeteners|
|Price Per Serving||$2.43||$2.32||$2.00||$3.50||$4.33|
310 Shake is a healthy meal replacement formula made with some of the finest natural ingredients in the world.
Shakeology Shake, by Beachbody, is one of the most popular and well-known shakes on the market today. According to the company, each shake is “packed with the flavor you love and the potent nutrition your body craves.”
Although each shake is packaged with an impressive array of superfoods, vitamins and minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, fiber, and more, it also comes with a hefty price tag when compared to other shakes in this category. Shakeology boasts a low glycemic index composition, beneficial for those trying to lose weight or manage their blood sugars.
Taste is clearly an issue with many consumers, and the company addressed this concern with a new flavor out in June of 2021, Cookies and Cream. Further, Shakeology contains sugar, an option many consumers do not like in their meal replacements and one that might interfere with blood sugar management.
But, first, let’s take a closer look at what’s in this shake and if it might be the right option for you.
Shakeology Ingredients in Detail
Protein Blend (Whey protein isolate (milk), Pea Protein, Flax (seed) Chia(seed), Quinoa (seed), Sacha inchi (seed)), Pea fiber (seed), Rose hips (fruit), Yacon (root), Acerola Juice powder (fruit), Astragalus (root), Chicory fiber (root), Pomegranate juice powder (fruit), Bilberry juice powder (fruit), Blueberry (fruit), Camu-Camu (fruit), Cordyceps (fungi), Lycium juice powder (fruit), Chaga (fungi), MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), Spinach (leaf), Ashwagandha (root), Kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala) (leaf), Maitake (fungi), Reishi (fungi) Enzyme Blend (Amylase, Cellulase, Lactase, Glucoamytase, Alpha-Galactosidase, Invertase), Bacillus coagulans, Maca (root), Cinnamon (bark), Green tea extract (leaf), Schisandra (fruit), Matcha green tea (leaf), Moringa oleifera (leaf), Luo Han Guo extract (fruit), Chlorella
Other ingredients: Organic Cane Sugar, Natural vanilla flavor, Xanthan gum, Himalayan pink salt, Stevia leaf extract
Allergen Statement: Contains milk. This product is manufactured in a plant that also processes egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soy ingredients.
The ingredient list goes by order of weight. The ingredients present in the greatest amounts are listed first, and so forth. You see that the first ingredient is protein, so that is the primary ingredient in this shake. The ingredients look clean, but if you have an allergy to mold or fungi, you might want to avoid this product since some of the ingredients contain fungi. If you have allergies to egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanut, or soy, be aware that there may be cross-contamination from these products in manufacturing.
Let’s take a deeper dive into some of these strange terms.
Protein Blend: Whey protein is made from milk, so this product is not dairy-free. There is a little lactose in whey, but not much, and it is considered a protein of high biologic value. It contains all the essential amino acids and is abundantly important in muscle health and tissue rebuilding. Taking whey protein improved running speed in untrained adults showing its importance in athletic strength and performance.
Pea Protein is limited by the essential amino acid methionine but is abundant in arginine, an amino acid essential in athletic performance and metabolism. L-arginine is essential for nitric oxide production, stimulating the release of insulin, and other substances. Pea protein is known for its effects on weight loss, muscle mass and is a more environmentally friendly protein. Additionally, pea protein is not one of the major allergens and is generally well-tolerated among consumers.
Flax is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other beneficial ingredients. Flax seeds have been linked to improved digestion and reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These seeds are high in arginine and glutamine, both important for heart and immune health.
Chia seeds are another superfood loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and micronutrients. They are also a tremendous source of protein. High in antioxidants, they help the body fight free radicals and diseases of aging. Chia seeds are also non-GMO and free of gluten.
Quinoa is a gluten-free pseudograin loaded with protein and fiber. Quinoa is high in lysine, methionine, and cysteine, essential amino acids most vegan proteins are low in. It is one of the few plant foods that have a complete essential amino acid profile. Soybeans would be another plant-based protein with all the essential amino acids.
Sacha inchi seeds are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients. Studies show that these seeds may have positive impacts on gut health, but most studies with these results have only tested on animal models. Some research indicates that the Sacha seeds may lower cholesterol levels and enhance weight loss effects.
Pea Fiber: The fiber in peas helps prevent unhealthy bacteria from flourishing and promotes a healthy environment for friendly bacteria. Its amylose content contributes to its low glycemic index.
Rosehips are full of antioxidants, especially vitamin C. It has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and for pain relief. Research on human subjects indicates that Rosehips might reduce fat metabolism and abdominal circumference.
Yacon root is a good source of calcium, vitamin C, and potassium. It functions as a prebiotic providing food for healthy bacteria in the gut. It is a source of inulin and fructooligosaccharides. It supports mineral absorption and has a low glycemic index.
Acerola Juice powder is commonly used to treat vitamin C deficiency. It is high in the antioxidant vitamin C and is added to the shake blend to increase the free radical scavenging effect of the product.
Astragalus root seems to stimulate and increase the immune system. Potential roles are in blood sugar control, improvement of insulin levels, and treatment of the side-effects of chemotherapy. It is a potent adaptogenic herb.
Chicory fiber is packed with the prebiotic inulin which encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Potential side-effects are gas and bloating, which is true for any fiber if increased too quickly in the diet.
Pomegranate juice powder is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and may help prevent or treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, oxidative stress, and inflammatory conditions.
Bilberry juice powder is used to treat poor circulation. Bilberry contains tannins that can help improve diarrhea, heal mouth irritations from inflammation, and help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Blueberry fruit is high in fiber which may aid in digestive function, antioxidants, and vitamin C. The antioxidant properties of blueberries might reduce inflammation and destroy cancer cells.
Camu-Camu fruit is exceptionally high in vitamin C along with other antioxidants. It may reduce inflammation, free radical generation, and excess weight.
Cordyceps might improve immunity by stimulating the action of specific cells and chemicals in the body. Potential side effects are diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort in excessive consumption. Natural Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on the backs of caterpillars, is hard to get, and is expensive. Many supplemental forms are manufactured, but the ingredient list specifies fungi, so the natural form must be used in this shake and is passed off in price to the consumer.
Lycium juice powder, more commonly known as Goji berries, has been used traditionally to increase the life span, protect the liver, and boost the immune system. Lycium fruit is a probiotic and a rich source of antioxidants, sterols, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, and amino acids.
Chaga may stimulate the immune system and lower blood cholesterol and sugars. Chaga is considered an adaptogen. This means it may have a positive impact on our overall stress response. It is said to have anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities. Additionally, it inhibits DNA breakdown.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is most commonly used as an anti-inflammatory for joint/muscle pain, oxidative stress, and antioxidant. It is on the Generally Recognized as Safe list (GRAS). MSM may cause diarrhea, fatigue, bloating, headaches, insomnia, itching, or worsen allergy symptoms in excessive consumption.
Spinach: Early research indicates that spinach might increase weight loss by small amounts. It is high in micronutrients and antioxidants.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and alter the immune system. The root is associated with reducing and improving the body’s reaction to stress over time.
Kale is high in antioxidants and polyphenols known for their health-promoting effects. Kale is also rich in vitamin A, a nutrient essential for the health of our eyes.
Maitake contains chemicals that might help fight tumors, stimulate the immune system, and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is a type of mushroom used both for food and medicine. It is considered to be a type of adaptogen helping the body fight off stress and stress-related illnesses.
Reishi mushrooms can be eaten fresh or used as medicine. It is another type of adaptogen that is used to boost the immune system, reduction of fatigue, and reduction of blood sugar. Limited safety data is available, but potential side-effects are limited to an upset stomach in excessive consumption.
Enzyme blend: A blend of digestive enzymes is included in the ingredient list. Amylase is used to digest amylose, a type of starch. Humans have amylase in their mouths where digestion begins. Cellulase helps digest cellulose, a type of fiber found in the shake. Lactase helps digest any lactose present, which should be minimal from the whey. Glucoamytase breaks down polysaccharides into glucose. Alpha-Galactosidase is an enzyme that digests oligosaccharides and polysaccharides and is often present in lower amounts than needed in the digestive tract. Invertase is the enzyme that catalyzes sucrose into fructose and glucose.
Bacillus coagulans is a probiotic that stimulates the immune system and the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. It is a potential treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. There is potential interaction with immunosuppressant drugs, so talk to your medical provider before taking this product if you are on immunosuppressant medications.
Maca root: Supplementing with Maca root may help with exercise endurance and is popular among sports enthusiasts. Maca contains goitrogens so if you have a thyroid disorder you may wish to take care when taking this supplement and consult a medical professional.
Cinnamon bark reduces gas, spasms and stimulates the appetite. Cinnamon also might increase blood flow and work like insulin to lower blood sugar.
Green tea extract is full of polyphenols and antioxidants, which may help protect the heart and blood vessels.
Schisandra is used as an adaptogen to prevent early aging, normalizing blood pressure and sugar, and stimulating the immune system.
Matcha is a type of green tea exceptionally high in antioxidants. The polyphenols present might slow down the cartilage breakdown in arthritis.
Moringa oleifera contains a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Luo Han Guo extract is used as a high-intensity sweetening agent. It has been used for obesity and constipation, among other health conditions.
Chlorella is a type of algae that grows in freshwater. The whole plant is used to make nutritional supplements and medicines. Chlorella is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, fiber and may act as an antioxidant.
Other ingredients include cane sugar, the natural sweetener Stevia made from the Stevia plant, natural vanilla flavoring from the vanilla bean, the food additive xanthan gum added as a thickening agent, and Himalayan pink salt for flavoring and electrolytes.
The ingredient list is abundantly full of fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, adaptogens, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, superfoods, enzymes, immune enhancers, and weight loss aids. What is not there are preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, soy, eggs, nuts, gluten, or other manufactured chemicals. Though these aren’t present, Shakeology is manufactured in a place that also manufactures things with these allergens, so if you are at risk for anaphylaxis this might not be the right shake for you.
So, let’s move on and see what is in Shakeology, nutritionally speaking.
Shakeology Nutrition Facts
One serving size is one level scoop (36 g) mixed with 8-12 oz. of beverage. This provides the following:
Calories: 140 calories for all of this great nutrition! For someone on a weight loss diet, this calorie amount should fit into your meal plan, especially if you replace a meal with a shake. You still have room to add whole foods to the shake to make an awesome smoothie. Recipes are available on the Shakeology website.
Total Fat: This is a low-fat product with only 2 grams of fat per serving. There is no monounsaturated fat and only 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat. There is .5 g of saturated fat, which is a minimal amount. It also has 250 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Cholesterol: There is a small amount of cholesterol in a serving, 5 mg.
Total Carbohydrates are 13 grams making this a low carbohydrate shake. And 3 grams of this is fiber making the net carbs 10 grams of low glycemic carbohydrate.
Fiber: 4 grams per serving. We like to see greater than 3 grams per serving since the recommendations are 25 -38 grams/day. Even three shakes per day would only provide 12 grams of fiber per day, necessitating other whole foods to meet the fiber requirement.
Sugars: 7 grams of added cane sugar. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 30 g of sugar per day. Cane sugar is split into fructose and glucose. Fructose can be particularly hard on the liver when fructose is over-consumed. This is an excessive amount for a meal replacement shake. Furthermore, the shake uses other sweeteners as well such as Stevia and Luo Han Gao.
Protein: One serving contains 17 grams of quality protein with a unique blend of amino acids. This is an ample amount of protein for a meal replacement shake. Protein is necessary to satisfy the appetite, rebuild muscle, and metabolism. Furthermore, adding extra protein from plain Greek yogurt or nut butter would be a great way to increase the protein amount to your specific needs.
Vitamins and Minerals: There are 15 vitamins and minerals that equal 1/3 or more of the Daily Value (DV) for micronutrients. Another five are present in smaller quantities for a total of 20 added vitamins and minerals to the shake. Calcium, iron, and chromium are deficient, as is sodium, despite the addition of the Himalayan Pink Salt.
Overall, this has a fair amount of protein to support satiety and muscle metabolism, is high in many essential micronutrients, and contains a fair amount of fiber with few calories. The addition of cane sugar isn’t ideal for a meal replacement shake. Cane sugar may avoid the processing of pesticides, but the molecule is still linked to adverse health outcomes in excessive consumption. The shake is low in fat and carbohydrates, making it a blank palate for making smoothies to any macronutrient combination desired. The Shakeology website contains a recipe section. Granted, you must buy the recipe books, but they are made available.
The ingredient list is packed full of some expensive items, so it is logical that this shake is more costly than its competitors. Instead of using manufactured chemicals, it used real, natural ingredients. The price for 30 servings is $129.95 or $4.33 per meal on the Shakeology website. The price on Amazon is quite a bit steeper, and many consumer complaints were received about this.
The shakes now come in five flavors. Their new flavor, Cookies and Cream, was added in June 2021. The other flavors are Vanilla Whey, Chocolate Whey, Strawberry Whey, and Café Latte Whey. They also have similar flavors in their vegan options. Consumer reviews on taste were mixed. Some loved the flavor, and others hated it. Positive health effects were noted by consumers who lost weight and felt more energized by the product.
There is a disclaimer on the shake not to let it sit for longer than 30 minutes because it starts to thicken with time. It is best to drink immediately after mixing so it doesn’t get too thick. It’s the fiber swelling that makes this happen.
This is a well-rounded shake full of superfoods, adaptogens, enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins/minerals, all with a hefty price. If you can afford it, this may be the choice for you. Taste is all individual, and while mixed reviews were received, just as many liked it as did not like it, the limiting factor is cost. They sell sampler packs on their website so you can try a few flavors before committing to a whole tub. Consumers have lost weight on it and report feeling energized. It has a low glycemic index compatible with a successful weight loss shake and for those who want to control their appetite.
The addition of cane sugar is suspicious from a healthy meal replacement standpoint. There doesn’t need to be added sugar in meal replacements since it is not recommended for excessive consumption. Despite all the ingredients for blood sugar control present in the shake ingredients, the presence of fructose isn’t ideal for weight loss. And, if three shakes per day were consumed, one would be approaching the WHO limit for daily sugar consumption for healthy adults.
In summary, this is a solid meal replacement shake limited only by its addition of sugar to its excess of added sugar and the overall cost.
Be sure to read our other reviews before deciding the best option for you.
1Nutrition information taken from http://www.shakeology.com/shake-flavors#vanilla. Price per serving calculated from a package price of $129.95 for the Vanilla Shakeology® with 30 servings per package. Accessed 2/1/17. BBB Rating accessed 1/24/19.