Herbalife shakes are popular meal replacements—especially among those who are in the community of sellers who promote and sell Herbalife products. You may have read that the company has come under scrutiny for its network-based multilevel business practices. But how do their products measure up from a nutrition and health standpoint? How do Herbalife shakes compare to other meal replacements on the market? It’s important to compare nutrition claims to nutrition facts to get the answer.
The following nutrition information is provided for one serving or two heaping tablespoons of Herbalife Formula 1 nutritional shake mix in French vanilla (25g) and is provided by the USDA.
- Calories: 90
- Fat: 1g
- Sodium: 95mg
- Carbohydrates: 13g
- Fiber: 3g
- Sugars: 9g
- Protein: 9g
One of the most popular Herbalife products is the Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix. The product comes in a variety of flavors including French Vanilla, Banana Caramel, Dutch Chocolate, Wild Berry, and many others.
The product label indicates that the shake mix primary ingredients are soy protein isolate, a form of plant-based protein powder, and fructose (a form of sugar). The shake will provide you with protein (nine grams) to help you feel full, but will also contribute nine grams of sugar to your daily total.
Calories in Herbalife shakes increase when you add milk. If you use nonfat (skim) milk to mix your shake, you’ll consume 170 calories and no more fat. But you also get the nutritional benefits of milk (including calcium and an extra 8 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrate, and 12 grams of sugar.
So how does this Herbalife shake compare to similar products on the market? If you compare it to Slimfast, for example, you’ll see that the Herbalife product (mixed with skim milk) has 20 fewer calories and 1.5 grams less fat. But Slimfast provides an additional three grams of protein, four fewer grams of sugar, and two extra grams of fiber.
And what about Shakeology shakes? When you compare a Herbalife shake (mixed with skim milk) to the popular Beachbody product, you’ll see that a single serving of Shakeology delivers about 13 extra calories, one more gram of fat, three extra grams of fiber, only 17 grams of carbohydrates (compared to Herbalife’s 25) and far less sugar. Shakeology has 6 grams of sugar, compared to Herbalife’s 25.
Consumers who want to lose weight use the Formula 1 shakes as part of a combined program. There are three to choose from Quick Start Program, Advanced Program, and Ultimate Program. Each package provides the Formula 1 shake mix along with different combinations of supplements that the company claims will help increase your chances of weight loss.
Other Herbalife Products: Nutrition
Besides Formula 1, there are other Herbalife Shakes on the market.
- Herbalife Protein Drink Mix contains 110 calories, 5 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams protein, 3 grams of fat, and one gram of sugar. If you mix the protein powder with milk, you’ll need to add the milk nutrients to get complete nutrition facts.
- Herbalife Personalized Protein Powder contains 20 calories, 0 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams protein, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of sugar in each serving (without milk)
- Herbalife H30 Fitness Drink contains 60 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams protein, 0 grams of fat, and 12 grams of sugar. This beverage mix is designed for after-workout consumption and also provides 100 milligrams of sodium and 100 milligrams of potassium.
Other popular Herbalife products include a selection of vitamins and supplements such as the Herbalife Formula 3 Cell Activator and the Herbalife Formula 2 Multivitamin. These products do not contain any macronutrients and, therefore will not contribute any calories, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, sugar or protein to your daily numbers.
Herbalife Shake Weight Loss
Using meal replacements to lose weight is effective for some people. When you replace a typical meal (that usually totals 300-500 calories or more) with a shake that only provides 170 calories, you will significantly reduce your calorie intake for the day. This may allow you to create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
However, there is nothing unique about this (or any) weight loss shake that makes it more effective than creating your own shake at home. According to Herbalife, the Formula 1 shake mix provides 21 vitamins and minerals and essential nutrients. But if you use fresh fruits and vegetables at home to create your own low-calorie smoothie, you’ll also benefit from essential vitamins and minerals.
The company also claims that ingredients included in some of the supplementary weight loss pills and products will help boost weight loss. They acknowledge that the claims have not been evaluated for accuracy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Stimulants like caffeine can boost your energy level to help you burn more calories, but a cup of strong coffee can do the same thing.
Herbalife Product Safety
For many years, scientific researchers have expressed concern over the safety of Herbalife products. Several published reports have linked Herbalife products to liver injury and even death. Study authors from Switzerland, Israel, and Venezuela have expressed concern over the use of the products, often citing the potential dangers associated with stimulants contained in the supplements and shakes.
Other researchers, however, and the Herbalife company believe that the products are safe. They say that the incidence of injury is very low considering a large number of people who use the products. They also say that their own internal testing demonstrates that the products are safe.
Researchers on both sides seem to agree that it is very hard to say for sure what caused death or injury in the cases where Herbalife users got sick. Critics of Herbalife say that since specific formulations are not provided on the product label and since many consumers combine several different Herbalife products, it’s hard to know what caused the actual illnesses.
So what does this mean for you? It is always smart to discuss the use of any supplement with your doctor. It doesn’t matter if the supplement or weight loss product is natural or herbal—it can still cause harm. Herbal products can interact with each other or with your current medications to create problems. Your doctor will be able to evaluate the product and your health history to provide a personalized recommendation.
The Cost of Herbalife Products
In order to buy Herbalife products, you need to connect with a distributor. The distributor then makes money based on the amount of the product you buy. The distributor may continue to contact you to encourage you to buy more products in the future. They may also encourage you to buy into the program and become a distributor yourself.
This system—called multilevel marketing (MLM)—has come under fire from critics who believe that it is a losing game for the consumer because data shows that most distributors don’t earn back the money they invest. Some have even compared the structure to a pyramid scheme. It is possible that this multilevel marketing structure may affect Herbalife product costs making them slightly higher than comparable products that you would find at your local drugstore or grocer.
For example, the Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix sells for $39.90. One container provides enough mix to make about 30 shakes. That means that you’ll pay about $1.33 per shake plus the cost of milk. If you compare that to the cost of Slimfast shake mix, you’ll see that Slimfast shakes cost about .45 per shake plus the cost of milk.
If you are interested in the comprehensive package, the Quickstart Program sells for $115.30. A 3-Day Trial Pack sells for $11.95. Products combos are also available ranging in price from $194 to over $300.
Make Your Own Weight Loss Shakes
If you are thinking about using meal replacement shakes to lose weight, consider using one of these recipes to create your own drinks at home. When you control the ingredients and use your own fruits and vegetables, you have the comfort of knowing what you’re putting in your body and you can tailor your drink to your own personal tastes.
A Word From Verywell
Buying a Herbalife product might be the right choice for you. Herbalife shakes provide important nutrients that will help you to stay full throughout the day and provide energy when you are trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight. But you can also get those nutrients from other products or from shakes that you make at home.
If you choose to use Herbalife or any dietary supplement for weight loss, communicate with your health care provider if you notice changes to your health. Weight loss can improve your sense of confidence and well-being, but staying healthy is more important.