Chocolate Shakeology

Perhaps the biggest thing in weight loss trends is Beachbody, which markets P90x and Shakeology.

Of late, several groups are starting to market to post-op WLSers.

The irony is that it is a “diet” – and didn’t many of us have WLS so we would never have to diet again? Or at least that was the thought. It was lost with my first child (thus regain) and the magick ended.

Regardless, this is the newest “craze” out there, and much like the Roca Labs “method,” there is a lack of real information out there about this product, so I decided to do a taste test and go over the product for those of us with designer guts.

Beachbody says:

The healthiest meal of the day.

Want a simple way to transform your health? All it takes is one glass of Shakeology® a day. This ultra-premium nutritional health shake contains the world’s most powerful superfoods. It’s the perfect combination of antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, prebiotics, protein and many rare ingredients – including adaptogens, camu-camu, and sacha inchi – giving you the essential nutrients you can’t get from an ordinary diet.

Replace one meal a day with Chocolate or Greenberry Shakeology to increase your energy, reduce cravings, lose weight, improve digestion and regularity, and transform your health.* It tastes great, and it’s just 140 calories.

First off, a shout out to Josie over Yum Yucky at  for providing me two samples of the Shakeology. (I originally asked a WLSer for samples, but she refused. She was afraid of a possible negative review.) She gave me a chocolate and a greenberry and as of now, I’ve only had the chocolate and hopefully soon I’ll get up to trying the greenberry and will add to this post. She also thoughtfully included a calendar of “recipes” for each of the two flavors (which are the only flavors available), but almost all of them required fruit and/or fruit juice. For many of us bypassers, this is simply not a good idea as we are either:

  • dumpers
  • reactive hypoglycemics *raising hand*
  • restricting calorie intake and fruit adds a whole lot

Some examples directly from Shakeology include:

 

  • 1 serving of Chocolate Shakeology
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 serving of Chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 serving of Chocolate Shakeology
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 serving of Chocolate Shakeology
  • ½ medium banana
  • 2 fresh pineapple rings
  • 2 large strawberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 serving Chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 dashes cinnamon
  • 1 cup skim (nonfat) milk

 

Also, I tend to do all of my reviews with water only, to the amount on the package, so I can get an idea as to what the powder tastes like without modifications. I’m a simple girl – I don’t want to need a blender to make my protein each day, and if I can’t stand it with water, I’m not likely to drink it long-term. I might do something special every once in awhile.. but I’m one of those that literally needs something that I can put together in about 30 seconds or I won’t drink it. RTDs are designed for people like me.

Directions say to mix with 8oz of fluid (water, milk, etc.) so I did that with my blender bottle -

All mixed up.

No clumps that I can see. Or at least noting huge. It’s a bit thin -

Probably why many people add things like fruit to give it volume.

Initially, it’s not horrible. I’ve certainly had worse – see my reviews of EnergyFirst, for example. But I wouldn’t call this good, either. Another reason people doctor it up, as well.

It was thin, and tasted.. fake? Like it had a fake sweet taste to it. Looking at the ingredients, it has stevia as the sweetener, so that may be where that is coming from — I’m not a huge stevia fan to begin with. If you are, you might not notice the “wang” that I tasted.

I was drinking it and chatting with Rob from Former Fat Dudes (Yes Beth, I did take my social media coursework seriously) when I found a small clump of something and when it hit my tongue, it was VERY TART. Which somehow doesn’t seem to fit with chocolate in my head. It wasn’t appropriate in my head somehow.

Kid review was this – they thought it tasted like coffee. To be fair, they’ve each maybe had a sip of coffee in their entire lives. So they don’t have a huge yardstick by which to measure. But they both liked it. Daniel also jumps from the table to the couch on a regular basis, and will have a broken bone by the age of 4, so…

20 minutes after starting to drink the Shakeology, there was this fire in my pouch. Like – liquid burning fire crawling through my pouch, down through the anastomasis, into my guts. I don’t know if there is a series of ulcers starting (given the book stress, some of the community stress, familial stress? Would not be surprised) but all I know is that I was in pain.

Consequently, I did not finish it. I let it sit in my sink for a few days before dumping it, and rather than just liquid sour milk smell from my normal protein drinks? It was solid – like pudding.

The nutritionals, just looking at it from standard point of view, look impressive:

Amount Per Serving % Daily Value** PROPRIETARY SUPER-FRUIT BLEND: 2075 mg
Calories 140 Acerola powder (fruit), Camu-Camu powder (fruit), Pomegranate powder (fruit), Bilberry powder (fruit), Blueberry powder (fruit), Lycium (Goji) powder (berry), Açai powder (berry), Cordyceps, Maitake powder, Reishi powder, Citrus biofl avonoids, Rose Hips powder (fruit), Schisandra powder (berry), Suma powder (root), Gingko powder (leaf).
Calories from Fat 10
Total Fat 1 g 2 %
Cholesterol 15 mg 5%
Sodium 100 mg 4% Amount Per Serving % Daily Value**
Total Carbohydrate 17 g 6% PROPRIETARY FRUIT POWDER BLEND: 1500 mg
Dietary Fiber 3 g 12% Banana powder, Carrot powder, Orange powder, Pineapple powder, Raspberry powder, Strawberry powder.
Sugars 9 g
Protein 17g 34% Maca powder (root) 1000 mg
Vitamin A (as beta-carotene) 5000 IU 100% Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) 1000 mg
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 180 mg 300% Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) 1000 mg
Vitamin D (as cholecalciferol) 200 IU 50% Flax (seed) 700 mg
Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl 15 IU 50% Chia (seed) 500 mg
Vitamin K1 (as phytonadione) 40 mcg 50% Chlorella 350 mg
Vitamin B1 (as thiamin HCL) 1.5 mg 100% Spirulina 350 mg
Vitamin B2 (as ribofl avin) 1.3 mg 77% Hydrilla 300 mg
Vitamin B3 (as niacin) 5 mg 25% Apple fi ber powder 250 mg
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCL) 2 mg 100% Astragalus powder (root) 200 mg
Folic acid 200 mcg 50% Blue green algae 200 mg
Vitamin B12 6 mcg 100% Spinach powder 200 mg
Biotin 90 mcg 30% MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) 150 mg
Pantothenic acid (as d-calcium pantothenate) 5 mg 50% Pea fi ber 150 mg
Calcium (as dicalcium phosphate) 500 mg 50% Quinoa 150 mg
Iron (as ferrous fumarate) 4 mg 22% PROPRIETARY NONDAIRYPROBIOTIC BLEND: 150 mg
Phosphorous (as dicalcium phosphate) 250 mg 25%
Iodine (as kelp) 52 mcg 35% Bifodobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus thermophilus.
Magnesium (as oxide) 80 mg 20%
Zinc (as zinc oxide) 6 mg 40%
Copper (as copper oxide) 0.8 mg 40% PROPRIETARY ENZYME BLEND: 130 mg
Manganese (as manganese amino acid chelate) 2 mg 100% Amylase, Papain, Cellulase, Lactase, Lipase, Protease, Bromelain.
Chromium (as chromium amino acid chelate) 60 mcg 50% Ashwagandha powder (root) 100 mg
Molybdenum (as sodium molybdate) 30 mcg 40% Barley grass 100 mg
Whey protein (isolate) 15g Kamut grass 100 mg
Oat grass 100 mg
Wheat grass 100 mg
Stevia 75 mg
Amaranth (sprouted) (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) 50 mg
Grape seed extract (seed, 95% proanthocyanins) 50 mg
Green tea decaffeinated extract(leaf, 50% polyphenols) 50 mg
50 mg
Holy basil powder (leaf) 50 mg
** Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
† Daily Value not established 

 

 

 

Let’s look at this line by line, though -

 

The vitamin A is sourced from beta-carotene only. Beta-carotene needs an acidic environment to absorb (1), which RNYers, VSGers, and DSers do not possess. Therefore, vitamin A from Shakeology doesn’t mean anything.

It is alright for the B’s, although it should be noted this should never ever ever be thought to replace a multivitamin or b-complex.

To get enough vitamin E to meet ASMBS requirements, you would need 4 shakes a day — and at $4 a shake — that’s a bit pricey.

The calcium is a form that requires a high degree of stomach acid — dicalcium phosphate. This means it will not absorb in us.

The iron, ferrous fumarate, is not a good type for achlorhydriacs. (2) Additionally, there are 500mg of the dicalcium phosphate. The threshold for ionic iron is 300mgs – so even if both the calcium and iron were absorbable, the iron would be “cancelled out” by the calcium. (3)

Remember also that chelates are known to absorb in the duodenum (4) so the chromium and manganese are pretty much useless as well.

So basically, this cannot, cannot, cannot replace any of your vitamin needs if you choose to take it as a post-RNY, DS, or VSG patient.
Now, Shakeology doesn’t claim to be a vitamin. They DO claim to have a number of proprietary blends that help with various activities throughout the body. And in many cases, these look good on paper.

A few standouts to me are:

Chlorella, Spirulina, Blue green algae – depending on whom you ask, these are either the best things on the planet in terms of nutrition, or things to stay very far away from. Both tend to be classed as blue-green algae, or very specifically cyanobacteria, even though this is somewhat of a misnomer for Chlorella. Regardless, Chlorella has been found to possess a neurotoxic amino acid (B-N0methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA for short) which had only been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The problem does not look to be a widespread issue, but rather one for vulnerable patients. Pablo et al (5) state the following:

As cyanobacteria are widespread in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems, this finding suggests that cyanobacterial neurotoxins may be an environmental factor for certain sporadic neurodegernative diseases in vulnerable individuals.

Cyanobacteria may produce potent toxins that may be deleterious or even fatal. One such of these, anatoxin-a is a potent neurotoxin produced by several species of cyanobacteria, but not known to be Spirulina as of know. Rellan et al. took 39 samples of food supplements containing cyanobacteria and tested them for anatoxin-a. 3 samples were found to contain dangerous concentrations. As the most common name referred in the labels of cyanobacterial supplements is Spirulina, the question becomes where did the toxin come from. The authors have a theory:

.. the genera Arthrospira is a potential anatoxin-a producer and has been very often confused with Spirulina. This could potentially lead to mislabeling of cyanobacterial food supplements, justifying the finding of anatoxin-a or its degradation products.

Also a warning:

Consumers and sellers should be informed that cyanobacterial cells produce many metabolites, including toxins and other bioactive substances. .. Cyanobacterial food supplements products should be controlled not only for their toxicity but also for their content in toxins in order to protect consumers who should be well informed about the risks of using natural products.(6)

 

Now, if you do Google searches, the health food industry assures us that these products, when grown and harvested in a safe manner are completely safe, are great sources of nutrition, and even have the WHO believing Spirulina is a great product for an undernourished person (6).

It’s the unscrupulous side of people that I don’t trust. And if you know me much at all, you’ll know I trust little. Especially when neuro and toxin get mixed together in the same word. But that’s just me.

 

 

Available from Beachbody in a 30-serving bag or in 24-count single serving package supply for$119.95. ($4 – $5 per serving)

 

References:
(1) Gastric acidity influences the blood response to a beta-carotene dose in humans
(2) Iron disorders institute – Supplements
(3) Does calcium interfere with iron absorption?
(4) Bioavailability of Magnesium Diglycinate vs. Magnesium Oxide in Patients with Ileal Reseaction
(5) Pablo J, Banack SA, Cox PA, Johnson TE, Papapetropoulos S, Bradley WG, Buck A, Mash DC. Cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA in ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neurol Scand. 2009: 120: 216-225
(6) Rellan Sandra, Osswald Joana, Saker Martin, Gago-Martinez Ana, Vasconcelos Vitor. First detection of anatoxin-a in human and animal dietary supplements containing cyanobacteria. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2009; 47: 2189-2195

 

 

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2 Responses to “Shakeology and WLS”

  1. Hala says:

    Thanks for the review. I was wondering how good this thing is. My friend was trying very hard for me to buy that from her.
    I think not…

  2. david dan says:

    thank you for the ubiased review. i tried this at the recommendation of a friend. the problem is, there are many people recommending this product as part of their “multi-level marketing business”. these people are not doctors, but are true believers pushing a product which i believe could have bad side effects for some people. this product really messed with/trashed my system. now i am off it and back to my walnut milk smoothies with protien powder.

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