In the 1930’s, experts encouraged dieters to smoke cigarettes as an appetite suppressant. In the 1970’s, the diet pill emerged. In the 1990’s, it was Dr. Atkins’ high protein, low carbohydrate meal plan. While Atkins may still be making the rounds, we know that other fad diet aids often turn out to be ineffective or even dangerous.
These “miracle” weight loss solutions all promise that you’ll:
- lose weight
- increase energy
- feel better
- get healthy
The latest diet trend isn’t much different. You’ve seen the shake-drinkers at the gym, buying into the claims that these protein- and nutrient-packed shakes are the perfect replacement for unhealthy, high-calorie meals. Among the two most popular are Shakeology and Body By Vi. But, how do we know if these products are destined for the fad diet hall of shame?
Shakeology is a powder that consumers mix with milk to create a meal-replacement shake. The manufacturers boast 70 highly nutritious ingredients and 15-17 grams of protein per shake. Shakeology partners with Beachbody® to encourage exercise and healthy eating in addition to drinking the Shakeology formula.
Body By Vi (ViSalus)
Similarly, the ViSalus Body By Vi product line features a powder shake mix alongside a full line of weight loss foods and products. They recommend users replace up to two meals per day with their substitutes and incorporate exercise. The Vi shake offers 25 vitamins and minerals, and boasts being low in fat, sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium. Additionally, the brand claims that the ingredients within the shake will help to stimulate weight loss.
Both programs promote as lifestyle changes, not “diets,” meaning they are intended for long-term use.
Strategy Magazine Resident Nutritionist Dr. Dana Shafir evaluated the ingredient lists of both products. She advises that consumers should carefully review two major components of any diet-based weight loss program: ingredients and calories.
Shafir explains, “with Shakeology, I didn’t see anything that freaked me out,” referring to the ingredient list. She continues, “they use Stevia for their sweetener and we’re finding that Stevia is a much better alternative than artificial sucralose.” Shakeology offers a standard and vegan formula, both of which use acceptable protein sources, as well. The standard shake contains whey protein, which is a byproduct of cheese. The vegan shake contains brown rice and pea protein.
With regards to Body By Vi, Shafir does not approve of the protein or sweetener sources. “They’re using soy protein, and soy is one of the most genetically modified ingredients,” she says. According to one source, 99% of soy is genetically modified, and soybeans have one of the highest percentages of pesticide contamination of any commercially grown food crop. The same source states that genetically modified soy can cause allergies, infertility, blood oxygen deficiencies, thyroid issues, vitamin deficiencies, and more.