Friday, September 6, 2013

Shakeology: Review Part 1

One of the most valuable things I was taught in college was the importance of and how to be an informed consumer.  Mostly responsible for this was my Exercise Psychology Professor Dane Cook. We spent several hours reading abstracts, critiquing methods, and discussing results and conclusions of scientific papers for his course.  He stressed the importance of this critiquing process as THE way to true information.

This process is ESPECIALLY crucial in the health and fitness realm because there is such an overload of information (accurate and not so accurate..), opinions, products, and people trying to make their buck off the failing health of Americans.

Beginning next week I am excited to be part of a 30 Day Challenge Group working together with some awesome people to get our health and fitness back on track.
As part of the challenge, each of us will be drinking one Shakeology shake, completing a workout of our choice, and then posting in our Facebook group for accountability every day for 30 days.  Personally, I will be using the new Vanilla Shakeology and Focus T25.

This will be my first time drinking Shakeology for 30 days straight.  Shakeology is a meal replacement drink available in several different flavors.  A couple years ago I tried both Greenberry and Chocolate from single serving packets, and overall, I liked it.  It tasted good, the amount of nutrition packed into seemed exceptional, and I just really wanted to see what the hype was about. However, as a college student at the time, I THOUGHT it was too expensive for me.

I was SUPER excited when my Challenge Pack arrived last week.  I opened everything up and started reading everything I could.  I soon found myself reading and rereading and then even googling the information, claims, and taglines printed on the Shakeology Bag.  That informed consumer idiosyncrasy of mine had been initiated. 

I quickly decided my GOAL was going to be to break down the information provided by Shakeology, and analyze this product for both myself and other people potentially interested in this product.  (Yeah, I know, I'm kind of a nerd.)

Let's begin with the front of the bag. What up Vanilla Shakeology!
  • Loaded with exotic superfoods and powerful phytonutrients
Oh boy.. not even one line in and I've spotted it. "Superfoods".  I can not stand this word.  No food has super powers. I hear it in the media all the time and it drives me nuts. Images of exotic and unfamilar fruits and grains superimposed with this label.  The thing that bugs me about this word is that it has no scientific meaning or precise criteria.  I like how Cancer Research UK says it, "the term 'superfood' is really just a marketing tool.. So-called ‘superfoods’ can certainly play a role but they are unlikely to give you added health benefits over and above what you would get from eating a varied and healthy diet."

And what are phytonutrients? According to the USDA they are the components of plants that are thought to promote human health.  They include carotiniods, flavinoids (bringing me back to NutriSci 232), and some other classes.  The USDA site continues to describe the links between fruit and vegetable consumption and decreased prevalence of disease.  Definitely worth a quick skim.  More research is necessary to confirm the exact mechanisms of phytonutrients in disease prevention. 

  • Whole-food formula for optimal nutrition
This is basically saying that the foods used in Shakeology are minimally processed.
  • Helps increase energy

A product with a lot of nutrition and low glycemic index is going to fulfill your body cells' needs without having a large effect on your blood sugar and insulin.  Keeping blood sugar at even levels promotes sustainable energy.  Shakeology has a glycemic index between 29 and 46 depending on the flavor according to the website FAQ
  • Supports healthy weight loss
My vanilla Shakeology only has 130 calories per serving.  So even after adding unsweetened almond milk (which I intend to do) this remains a very low calorie meal replacement.  Weight loss is about using more calories than consumed.  Replacing a 500 calorie meal with 130 calories of Shakeology, thereby still receiving adequate nutrition, could be a significant part of daily calorie reduction.

WHEW. And that was only the front.  Turn the bag over and there is a TON of text.  Hopefully I'm not losing you yet.. I'll try and keep it simple.  

The 5 Propriety Blends included in Shakeology and their ingredients are listed.
Proprietary Blend: means that the formula and specific amounts of each are unique to the manufacturer
Adaptogens: plants and herbs that may decrease sensitivity to stress at the cellular level.  These mechanisms are still being researched and are not widely used in western medicine.

Proprietary Super-Protein Blend: Whey, Sacha Inchi, Chia, Flax, Quinoa, Amaranth, Pea
Proprietary Super-Fruit/Antioxidant Blend: Camu-camu, Acai, Acerola Cherry, Bilberry, Goji Berry, Grape Seed, Green Tea, Luo Han Guo, Pomegranate, Rose Hips
Proprietary Super-Green/Phytonutrient Blend: Moringa, Chlorella (not cholera! =] ) Spirulina, Spinach, Barley Grass, Kamut Grass, Wheat Grass, Oat Grass
Proprietary Adaptogen Blend: Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Ginkgo, Maca, Maitake, Reishi, Schisandra, Tulsi
Proprietary Pre and Probiotic/Digestive Enzyme Blend: Yacon Root, Lactobacillus Sporogenes, Amylase, Callulase, Lactase, Lipase, Protease, Bromelain, Papain

Feel free to Google any of these ingredients.  It's a lot, but I like that it is all listed.  There are a TON of videos on Shakeology's youtube page including medical doctor testimonials.  I kind of liked this one about the ingredients.  

Here are the facts and ingredients for Vanilla:

For info about the other flavors click here.

The prep instructions are simple: add 1 scoop to 8-12 oz. of water, milk, almond milk, rice milk, juice, etc.

All this background research is kind of overwhelming, and what I would really like to see is a clinical trail.  I couldn't find a published one, but apparently it is on its way! Until then I really think trying it out for myself is going to be the best way to formulate my opinion. 

 I'm going to do my best to develop a real, unbiased review of using Shakeology for 30 days. Wish me luck! Look for updates along the way!

No comments:

Post a Comment