Meal replacement shakes have been around for the last fifty years. They’re ideal for athletes who need an energy boost, elderly individuals who need added nutrition, overweight individuals who want to shed pounds, and just about anyone who has a sweet tooth and is looking for a healthy alternative to a soft drink.
You don’t want to use them to replace regular meals too often, as you need “real” (healthy) food to keep your body running as it should. However, you can drink one in place of a meal every so often, especially if you’re out and about and can’t get ahold of something healthy to eat.
AdvoCare and Isagenix are two particularly well-known brand names on the market. Which is better? The truth is, you need to get to know a bit about these shakes to make a decision that best suits your needs and tastes. Read on to discover the good and the bad before investing in a meal replacement shake for you or a loved one.
AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes: The Pros and the Cons
AdvoCare was founded in 1993 with the aim of providing healthy, energizing wellness products to combat obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle and diet. The company employs a scientific and medical advisory board and a sports advisory council to ensure its products are safe, healthy, and effective. What’s more, AdvoCare runs a foundation that is working to eliminate childhood obesity.
The Advantages of AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes
AdvoCare meal replacement shakes are available in four unique flavors: chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, berry, and vanilla. Each shake provides 26 unique minerals and vitamins.
Admirable, the makers didn’t add minute amounts of ingredients just to boast about how nutritious their shakes are.
There are copious amounts of just about every single vitamin and mineral on the list. It’s also worth noting that these shakes have an impressive 1:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein.
Additionally, AdvoCare’s meal replacement shakes use an easy-to-digest protein mix that includes whey, milk, calcium caseinate, and nearly half a dozen L- amino acids.
We’ll tell you more about these acids later but suffice it to say they’re good for you and you’ll be glad they’re included in the mix. There are only six grams of sugar per pouch, which isn’t bad if you’re putting a premium on sticking to a healthy diet.
The Disadvantages of AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes
While AdvoCare seems to have done a great job on the nutritional side of things, there are still faults.
The artificial flavoring is certainly a downside. It’s hard to see why a company that puts a premium on creating healthy shakes would turn to chemical components for flavoring but it seems AdvoCare has done just that.
Unhappy customers complain that AdvoCare changed its shake formula some time back and the new formula isn’t an improvement on the original one.
Furthermore, several reviewers point out that the thick texture makes it hard to drink the shake from certain cups and bottles.
Isagenix IsaLean Shakes: The Pros and the Cons
Isagenix was founded in 2002 and its owners put a premium on using healthy ingredients for every single one of the company’s products.
The firm has a “direct sales” set-up; which means that Isagenix shakes and other products can only be purchased directly from the company or from authorized, individual sellers.
However, you can find many of the flavors for sale on eBay. Amazon has some but watch out as these could be the vegan variety with different ingredients than regular IsaLean Shakes reviewed here.
The Advantages of Isagenix’s IsaLean Shakes
Isagenix gets high marks for steering clear of artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. The company even goes to the extra trouble of ensuring its whey protein comes from grass-fed cows that haven’t been treated with hormones or antibiotics.
The drinks are gluten-free and soy-free, contain 23 different vitamins and minerals, and have 8 grams of fiber per serving. There are multiple enticing flavors, including creamy Dutch chocolate, creamy French vanilla, birthday cake, and creamy strawberry.
The Disadvantages of Isagenix’s IsaLean Shakes
IsaLean’s shakes have 240 calories per serving. It’s not bad, especially when one considers the fact that most of the fats listed are actually good for you (more on that below).
Even so, the calorie count is higher than that of comparable shakes. The fact that there are 10 grams of sugar per serving is also a disadvantage if you’re looking for something that will help you change your sweet tooth, not cater to it.
AdvoCare vs Isagenix: Comparing the Ingredients
Now it’s time to dive into the ingredient list. We’re not going to cover every single one because both AdvoCare and Isagenix have long ingredient lists. However, I’d like to take a closer look at some of the most important ingredients in each beverage to see which has the most health benefits.
As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat”, so knowing what you’re getting in your protein drink goes a long way in creating (or maintaining) a healthy, energetic you.
As I pointed out above, AdvoCare’s Meal Replacement Shake has six grams of sugar per serving, while Isagenix’s IsaLean Shake has ten grams of sugar per serving. On the surface, it would seem that AdvoCare is the healthier alternative.
However, there are dozens of different types of sugar on the market and some are certainly better than others.
AdvoCare uses fructose and sucralose to sweeten its product. Isagenix uses fructose and steviol glycosides. Neither brand will tell you how much fructose is in their products but AdvoCare lists fructose as the fourth ingredient while Isagenix lists it as the third. Too much fructose is bad for your liver.
It also causes a uric acid build-up that can lead to gout and kidney stones. Isagenix likely has more fructose in its products than AdvoCare.
However, AdvoCare’s addition of sucralose in its products is not a good thing. Sucralose was originally made as an insecticide and never intended for human consumption. It contains chlorine and studies indicate that this sweetener can cause diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and a leaky gut.
Sucralose has also been linked to weight gain. Granted, AdvoCare doesn’t add much sucralose to its drink. In fact, it’s one of the last ingredients on the list. However, the fact that it’s there at all is certainly troubling.
Isagenix, on the other hand, uses steviol glycoside as an additional sweetener. This sweetener isn’t nutritious but it has its good points. One study indicates that steviol glycoside could prevent cyst growth in the kidneys. It can also help control blood sugar in people who have diabetes.
On the other hand, bear in mind that it interacts negatively with certain types of medication. If you’re taking steroids or medication for heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, blood pressure conditions, cancer, or hormonal problems, you may want to avoid IsaLean Shakes altogether even though steviol glycoside isn’t a main ingredient.
IsaLean Shakes and AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes both have 24 grams of protein per serving. IsaLean Shakes uses a protein blend made from whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate, and low-heat skimmed milk powder.
AdvoCare’s shakes use a protein blend that consists of whey protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, calcium caseinate, L-Glutamine, L-Lysine, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine.
For those who aren’t familiar with whey, it’s the byproduct of cheese and is typically used by those who want to add extra protein to their diets.
AdvoCare’s milk protein isolate is superior to Isagenix’s milk protein concentrate as isolate contains more protein and is a better option for those who have lactose intolerance.
All the “L” ingredients on AdvoCare’s list are the amino acids I said I’d tell you about earlier. They’re molecules that not only product protein but also regulate body functions.
AdvoCare uses copious amounts of maltodextrin in its shakes. It’s the second ingredient on the list after the protein powder and it’s also found in the sucralose included in the product as a sweetener. Maltodextrin is essentially a “filler” that leaves you feeling satisfied after a meal. Sadly, it’s not a healthy one.
Maltodextrin is typically made from genetically modified corn. It’s not suitable for anyone who has diabetes or who is predisposed to developing diabetes.
It causes weight gain, reduces the growth of healthy probiotics in your gut, and changes your gut bacteria composition in a harmful manner, leaving you susceptible to disease. Studies show a link between maltodextrin and E Coli, a bacterium that can cause autoimmune conditions.
The likely reason AdvoCare adds maltodextrin to its product is that its shakes contain only six grams of fiber, a natural, healthy component that leaves you feeling satisfied while helping your body eliminate waste. Isagenix, on the other hand, uses no maltodextrin and offers eight grams of fiber per serving.
Both brands offer plenty of flavor options. What’s more, both brands have their “steady” options that are always around and “time-specific” flavors that come and go.
As for which type of shake is the tastiest, it’s a matter of opinion. Negative AdvoCare reviews note that the thick texture of AdvoCare’s Meal Replacement Shakes can be described as slimy.
Others say that the drinks have a chalky taste. However, it’s worth noting that nearly all the negative comments about the AdvoCare’s flavors come from reviews on their chocolate and chocolate peanut butter flavors. Vanilla and Strawberry are, it seems, better bets.
At the same time, there are scores of positive reviewers who note that chocolate or chocolate peanut butter is their favorite flavors; what’s more, they say they enjoy the thick texture. To each his own, I guess. You’d probably have to try some out to know if you like it or not.
Isagenix likewise gets mixed reviews. Some people say the shakes have a chalky taste but most people love them. Which one tastes the best? It’s impossible to say. Once again, you’ll have to taste to see which flavor you like best but, if the reviews are any indication, you’ll probably love whatever flavor you pick. Like AdvoCare, Isagenix shakes have a rich, thick texture.
Which meal replacement shake is best, AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shakes, or Isagenix IsaLean Shakes? Truth be told, it’s impossible to say. Both have their good points and bad points.
They contain the same amount of protein and the main protein ingredients used are the same for both beverages. Both are rich in vitamins and minerals. As for taste, both get high marks from happy customers and low marks from people who can’t stand certain flavors.
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