My Honest Review of Isagenix
As a functional nutritionist, I’m often asked, “Is this product good for me?” “What is the best protein shake?” or “Will it help me lose weight?” In the last couple of months, I’ve been asked these questions about some popular multi-level marketing products. I had a gut feeling but wanted to really research what these products contained and give the most accurate information I can. I’VE HAD A LOT OF PEOPLE ASK FOR THIS LATELY. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENT FOR MINE BUT THIS IS THE LENS I LOOK THROUGH WHEN ANALYZING PRODUCTS. THERE’S ALWAYS A LITTLE GIVE AND TAKE…I THINK FOR THE MOST PART, WE SHOULD JUST EAT REAL FOOD.
From what I’m learning, most people go to the store and look at the products’ Food Facts Label. This is a good start. It gives you a good, overall idea of how nutritious the food is in the package. (It is best, of course, to buy and prepare foods that don’t require a package and a label – whole, unprocessed foods. We live in an age where this is difficult. So, if you are buying labeled foods, than it is best to be educated about reading the labels.)
Back to the point…When I’m looking at a packaged food product, I take a quick glance at the label below but my focus is on the INGREDIENT LIST. This is where you’ll often see a really, really long list of ingredients with chemical names that make it difficult to discern what is really in the food.
IThis post will help you do just that…sort out the ingredients that is in the popular ISAGENIX food/shake products. I have taken the ingredients list from a few popular products from the Isagenix website for examples. Below that will be my explanation of my honest review of the ingredients of these products.
IsaLean® Shake Strawberry Cream
Ingredients: Exclusive Myo-IsaLean Complex™ [whey protein concentrate (undenatured), milk protein concentrate (undenatured), low-heat nonfat dry milk], isomaltooligosaccharide powder, fructose, sunflower (Helianthus annuus)oil powder, natural strawberry flavors, olive (Olea europaea)oil powder, tapioca maltodextrin, flax (Linum usitatissimum)seed powder, xanthan gum, medium chain triglyceride oil powder, Ionic Alfalfa™ (Medicago sativa)leaf extract, natural flavors, beet juice powder, magnesium oxide, tricalcium phosphate, potassium citrate,enzyme blend [lactase (from Aspergillus oryzae), lipase (from Rhizopus oryzae), cellulase (from Trichoderma longibrachiatum), invertase (from Saccharomyces cerevisiae), protease (from Aspergillus oryzae), amylase (from Bacillus subtilis), bromelain (from Ananas comosus), papain (from Carica papaya), acid stable protease (from Aspergillus niger)], magnesium citrate, sea salt, stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)leaf extract, silicon dioxide, yucca (Yucca schidigera)root powder, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), magnesium stearate, psyllium (Plantago ovata)seed powder, biotin, selenium amino acid chelate, vitamin E succinate, copper amino acid chelate, vitamin A (beta carotene), zinc oxide, manganese amino acid chelate, iodine amino acid chelate, niacinamide, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), chromium amino acid chelate, niacin, molybdenum amino acid chelate, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCl), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), riboflavin, Lactobacillus acidophilus, thiamin HCl, folic acid.
Isagenix Snacks!™ Natural Chocolate
Ingredients: Natural fructose, low-heat nonfat milk, natural flavors, whey protein concentrate (undenatured), soy lecithin, calcium caseinate (undenatured), cocoa powder, silica, flax seed (Linum usitatissimum), Ionic Alfalfa™ (Medicago sativa), choline bitartrate, betaine HCl, l-methionine, chromium amino acid chelate
SlimCakes® Oatmeal Berry
Ingredients: Rolled oats, unbleached wheat flour (flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, raisins, maltitol, inulin, erythritol, polydextrose, oat bran, ground flax seed, organic agave syrup, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil shortening (canola, modified palm, and palm kernel oils), organic evaporated cane juice, dried cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), white chocolate chips (sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, skim milk powder, butter oil, soy lecithin, natural vanilla extract), whey protein concentrate, sodium bicarbonate, natural flavors, blueberries, salt, cellulose gum.
LOW-HEAT NONFAT DRY MILK: Nonfat milk is skim milk. Skim milk results when the fats from the milk are separated and the watery milk layer that’s left on top is “skimmed” off the top. This product often has a bluish tinge to it, so to make it more marketable and to make it taste a little more like regular milk, powdered dry milk is added. Here’s my problem with that. To process powdered milk, the liquid milk is first forced through tiny holes under VERY high pressure. This causes any fat in the milk (specifically the cholesterol in that fat) to oxidize. Oxidized cholesterol causes plaque to build up in your arteries. And you all know what that means! The proteins found in powdered milk are so processed (denatured) that it is not recognized by the body – this causes inflammation which sets the body up for a ton of chronic diseases!
NATURAL FLAVORS: Natural flavors doesn’t really mean anything. It is not regulated and a product could potentially include MSG or artificial sweeteners without them specifically being called out on the label. Here’s what the FDA says about “natural flavors:”
(3) The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants listed in subpart A of part 582 of this chapter, and the substances listed in 172.510 of this chapter.
SYNTHETIC VITAMINS: Vitamins that are added to food products and shakes in multi-level marketing are typically synthetic (man-made) and unavailable to the body and cells to actually be utilized. Yes, the food facts label will give a laundry list of vitamins and minerals that can be found in the product. But can your body find them? That’s the million dollar question. If the label says it include Vitamin B6 that means nothing if you don’t know what form it is. Unless you’re educated in nutrition, you probably won’t know what the bioavailable forms of vitamins and minerals are. This applies to supplements as well.
FRUCTOSE: Fructose, even though it is found naturally in fruit, is something that is completely overdone. Often times, people who don’t really care for veggies will think they’ll just eat more fruit to get in their servings of fruits and veggies for the day. This can cause many problems such as fatty liver, dyslipidemia (cholesterol issues), hypertension (high blood pressure), and pancreatitis among others. It is best for most of us to eat a couple servings of fresh fruit per day and not get our fructose in ANY form other than that. It’s difficult with all the marketing schemes out there trying to convince us that fructose is better for us than corn syrup (same thing pretty much) or when a syrup bottle is labeled “NO high fructose corn syrup, then the first ingredients is fructose. Be informed and don’t fall for this tricky marketing! And, the most obvious reason to avoid fructose, is for those with Fructose Malabsorption which is often difficult to diagnose but can make a person very sick! If you have fructose malabsorption, Isagenix is not for you.
CANOLA/SUNFLOWER OIL: These oils are highly processed, nonGMO, and highly inflammatory. They are primarily Omega 6 fatty acids which, in excess, cause inflammation. Our bodies should be taking in a 1:1 ratio of Omega 3s to Omega 6s. There is differing research on the amount we actually consume, but one study showed we take in as much as a 1:25 ratio. No wonder there is so much obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions in our society! In addition, unless these oils are expeller pressed (they are not labeled as such), they are potentially toxic due to substance called hexane. According to the EPA,
“Hexane is used to extract edible oils from seeds and vegetables, as a special-use solvent, and as a cleaning agent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to high levels of hexane causes mild central nervous system (CNS) effects, including dizziness, giddiness, slight nausea, and headache. Chronic (long-term) exposure to hexane in air is associated with polyneuropathy in humans, with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue observed. Neurotoxic effects have also been exhibited in rats. No information is available on the carcinogenic effects of hexane in humans or animals. EPA has classified hexane as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.”
To answer the initial questions…
Will this product help you lose weight? Yes, probably, but do you want to be healthy or just lose weight only to gain it back as soon as you stop their monthly automatic shipping plan. There are many things that can help you lose weight that aren’t necessarily healthy.
What is the best protein shake? That’s a tough question because it depends on the individual’s goals. Contact me for help in figuring out what would be best for you.
Is this product good for me? In short, no. It seems there are not a lot of packaged foods that are really good for us. But, if you are purchasing these products under the guise of being “healthy” or “good for you” than you are mistaken. I’m sure there are worse things for you but again, it’s about education and knowing what you are really putting in your body THEN making a decision.
So this is My Honest Review of Isagenix and how I analyze a label for ingredients. There are definitely a few others ingredients I question but will save you from lengthening this post more. If you have questions, let me know and I can help clarify things for you.
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