Arbonne vs Herbalife – Which Meal Replacement Wins?

Wednesday 12th June 2024

Arbonne and Herbalife are two well known health brands. In this article I will compare Arbonne essentials vs Herbalife Formula 1 meal replacement shake. We will analyse their nutrition content, find their differences and similarities.

What I find will come as a surprise to some. There are some hidden negatives to both shakes, such as sugar content and price. Let alone some of the ingredients are suspect. Let’s dive in.

Who are Arbonne?

Health supplement company or MLM Company (Multi-level Marketing)??

I had a sneaky suspicion Arbonne were a MLM company.  I noticed there was no picture or real story behind how Arbonne was set up. My suspicions where confirmed when I visited their “about” page and discovered their business opportunity section.

 It was an opportunity to make money by selling Arbonne products and by recruiting other people to do the same. This module is called network marketing or more commonly Multi-level marketing.

Essentially, Arbonne are a network marketing business primarily and not a supplement company

MLM’s operate with different levels of promoters/recruiters. These recruiters can recruit people under them to sell for them. The recruiters get paid a commission every time a hire under them sells a product their promoting.

You may be familiar with skin care brands like Avon or Rodan and fields who have skincare products with very basic ingredients yet are so popular because they were built off the back off rigorous marketing from mlm recruits.

There are some downsides to MLM’s that I have come across…

Claims can be made up or falsified just to make a sell. Nutrition and supplementation is an area where you really need to know the impact of what goes into your body. So its important that products are being sold by credible people who know about nutrition and not regular joes. 

MLM shakes tend to be more expensive too. A portion of the sale needs to pay recruits, which inflates product prices. You could be paying extra into pockets of recruiters rather than for a higher end product. 

In all my research, I don’t know any top meal replacement shake from a MLM company that has a great price, low sugar, and healthy nutrition content. 

Arbonne Essentials


Having done my due diligence on the company I did not have high hopes for Arbonne Essentials meal replacement shake.


Flavours: Arbonne essentials meal replacement comes in a 30 serving pack or a 10 pack. The shakes come in two different flavours. For example, chocolate, and vanilla.

Protein source: Protein comes in the form of rice and pea. Rice protein is a form of protein derived from brown rice. Both normally combine together to get the full branch amino acid profile. Pea and rice are both decent protein sources since their derived from plants and almost have no fat, sodium, and sugar.

Although both have about the same impact on muscle performance,plant based pea and rice is generally considered healthier and easier to digest than whey.

They have a lower possibility for an allergic response and make up a complete amino acid profile for a protein.

Vitamins and minerals: Comes with over 20 vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamin a,b,c,d,e with minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron.

How to use: To use Arbonne Essentials you need to mix up with water, or another liquid like almond milk and shake up. 3 scoops counts as one serving. You should only be taking 2 servings max a day.


Mixability, durability,  and taste 

The taste of Arbonne is generally tasty and drinkable. It is not going to be like downing a chocolate sundae but from my trials, plant based shakes are always going to be less tastier than whey.  

Pea and rice protein

 Both are safe and healthy forms of protein. Pea and rice protein are normally combined together so that they give the full benefit of a complete protein. This includes the makeup of a full branch amino acid. For example, pea protein is much higher in lysine than rice protein but much lower in cysteine and methionine. In contrast, rice protein is high in cysteine and methionine as an amino acid.

Together they form a plant based, low carb, lactose free option to whey.

Over 20 vitamins and minerals

For example, Arbonne contains good levels of vitamin C. Consuming one serving will makeup up about 50% of your daily allowance. The same goes with vitamin E and B12. Consequently there is a decent level of vitamins.

No dairy, soy, cholesterol and artificial sweeteners and Gluten free

 I believe all shakes should be free from artificial sweeteners and be gluten free. In the case of artificial sweeteners you can literally be drinking cancer. E numbers are common in cheap protein shakes which can wreak havoc on your gut and immune system. It’s comforting to know that there are no e numbers in Arbonne.

In addition, your stomach will not be in discomfort considering their is no lactose which comes from dairy produce. Whey protein shakes contain lactose.  Lactose is a type of sugar present in milk.If you suffer intolerance it can pass through system undigested which can cause you to break wind and feel irritable bowels.

Nothing wrong with whey protein but it has to be from a quality source and plant based proteins are always healthier.

Lastly, I’m glad Arbonne Essentials contains no soy. Soy is still in infant stage of research and there has been some research suggesting that isoflavones contained in soy can negatively impact your hormones. I would avoid soy until more conclusive research has been done on the health benefits of soy.

High amount of servings (30 servings)

 Some shakes only last 20 days or have only around 20 servings.  The fact Arbonne has 30 servings ensures you can last a whole month if you take one serving a day.

However, this is also a downside as we discuss later, considering the they recommend taking 2 servings a day…It won’t last long.


Arbonne contains Folic acid which makes up about 50 % of your daily value. Folic acid is a synthetic ingredient derived from b vitamin. Although naturally found in foods like citrus fruits, avocado and lentils, the synthetic substance found in Arbonne may not be as healthy.

Some research has done to show folic acid has been linked to helping promote the growth of cancer cells.

Another downside is folic acid is hard to digest for many individuals considering it needs a rare enzyme to help break it down. This can cause un-digested folic acid to be flowing in your blood stream which can prevent the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

Does not Last long

 Arbonne essentials meal replacement has the potential to only lasts 15 days, which is not long at all! Arbonne recommends 2 servings for a 30 serving packet.

This means you will run out just after 2 weeks. That’s over $90 dollars on a shake, gone after 2 weeks. Pretty expensive if you ask me even if you do lose a couple pounds.  


On official website last time I checked it was over $90 for the 30 serving pack. The 10 pack cost about $60!

After just 2 weeks you would have finished the pack, if following the recommended 2 servings a day.

In comparison the 10 pack would only last you barely a week. I don’t think it is worth spending the money for such a short supply of meals.

12g of sugar content!

Arbonne contains a ludicrous amount of sugar for something that is marketed as healthy. 12 grams is just way too much. If one teaspoon is about 4 grams, Arbonne contains 3 teaspoons of sugar in one serving.

The daily recommended sugar intake for women is about 22 grams of sugar. Consequently,  two servings of Arbonne puts you over the sugar limit! …NO THANKS!

In addition, the sugar content may not be from natural sources. You always have to question what “natural” really means. The sugar content in Arbonne includes stevia and cane sugar. Although cane sugar is a “natural” form of sugar, it is still extremely unhealthy for a shake.

Did they extract the sugar from a sugar cane producing factory or from sugar canes outside with fresh organic soil. You really don’t know. Many places can pass something off as natural when their not.

Corns, gums and thickeners

Thickeners and gums are added to shakes to give it that thickness and hold it all together. It prevents ingredients from separating.

Too much of these gums and fillers can be very unhealthy for your gut. This is because they are artificial so your gut will have problem digesting them. This explains why you could experience gas and bloating. 

Another one of these network marketing type businesses

I knew from the moment I saw their homepage they looked like a MLM type business model. I have never come across a MLM that sells amazing products.

Contains corn starch

Corn starch is a carbohydrate that is derived from corn. It is mainly used as a gluten free thickener. Although it is gluten free it’s still not that healthy.

  • For one it can aggregate the digestive tract and is highly processed.
  • It is also packed full of unnecessary carbs to make it a suitable bulking agent which may not help with weight loss.  
  • In addition, corn likely genetically modified will contain herbacides and pesticides.
  • Corn starch simply offers no benefit except for being a thickener.

How to use

Add 3 scoops to cold water, Milk, or Almond milk and shake vigorously. Enjoy 2 servings (of 57 g each) per day. Combine with a healthy whole foods.

Is Arbonne Essentials Good For You?

Arbonne is not an ideal shake to buy for the following reasons:

  • Overall ingredients are not as healthy as they could be.
  • Sugar content is what throws me over the edge. For over $90 to get 12  grams of sugar is crazy. Premium meal replacement shakes which Arbonne is priced as should have a sugar content below 5g.
  • When I first found out that they were an MLM it kind of made me doubt the quality of their products.

Overall there are too many negatives to make this shake credible. I would buy something else. A meal replacement needs to be as healthy, clean and nutritious as possible especially considering it is replacing whole foods.

Herbalife Formula 1

Herbalife formula 1

Herbalife is also another multi-level marketing company that sells health products like nutrition supplements, shakes and personal care products. Given my surrounding pessimism about MLM companies…I was wondering if Herbalife would change my mind.


The meal replacement for Herbalife is their Formula1 shake. 

Herbalife Formula 1 comes with:

  • 220 calories per serving.
  • 20 g of protein from dairy and soy.
  • 9 flavours to choose.
  • Vitamins and minerals

Herbalife recommends replacing two meals a day in order to lose weight. It’s a great way to build muscle while also lose weight due to the high protein in this shake and restricted carbs.


Everyone knows Herbalife

 Herbalife sponsors big sports clubs, and athletes. Last time I checked they had Cristiano Ronaldo advertising their brand.

Of course, this does not always mean they are a great company as we will find out, but it is a reassurance that big companies like Herbalife will come under some public scrutiny.


Many users say the shakes taste good. Having browsed forums and review sites majority enjoy the taste of Herbalife.


There are many fruity and dessert-like flavours to indulge in. If there is one flavour you don’t like you can always try another. For example, some of the flavours include

  • Toffee apple and cinnamon,
  • cookies and cream,
  • vanilla,
  • mint chocolate,
  • raspberry and blueberry.

Has Vitamins and minerals

Herbalife Formula 1 contains 21 vitamins and minerals. For example, some of the main minerals include zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3,B6, B7, B12 and a heap of others are also included.

Here is the full list (opens in new tab) of vitamins and minerals found in Formula 1.


Contains dairy and soy

 What’s the point of enjoying benefits of plants when Herbalife’s Formula1 contains both dairy and soy. One of the main reasons you don’t have whey is because of  the dairy. Yet dairy is included in this shake.

Soy on the other hand has been shown to disrupt hormone levels in both men and women. The levels of testosterone and estrogen are thrown out of sync. Soy is also highly likely to be genetically modified.

Not multi-source 

Herbalife gets its protein from only soy protein which is one source of protein. I would prefer multi-source plant proteins from hemp, pea, brown rice, or flaxseed. There is a multitude of better alternatives and plant combinations that I would go for over purely soy.  

No Nutritional label

  Nutritional label is nowhere to be seen if you visit their product page. I believe this is a little sneaky and done in a way to prevent you from knowing what you’re putting into your body.

Too much sugar

 9 g of sugar per serving. This is also in the form of fructose. fructose is basically fruit sugar but can also come from unnatural sources. For example, fructose can come from sucrose, added sugars, and corn starch. Fructose from these ingredients is unhealthy.

Herbalife does not reveal where they get their fructose from, but I have a sneaky suspicion it is not from natural organic fruit.

Corn starch.

 Just like Arbonne, Herbalife also contains corn starch. The downside to cornstarch is it is likely genetically modified, which will mean it contains herbicides and pesticides. As stated above it also provides zero nutrition.

Although cornstarch is included in plenty of baking products and other meal replacement shakes, I would still be wary of daily consumption of these ingredient.

Contains artificial flavourings

Herbalife Formula 1 does contain artificial flavourings. You can a list of their artificial flavourings here.

We all know how bad artificial flavourings can be especially since it has been linked to causing cancer. At the end of the day who has a healthy meal that contains artificial flavourings….I don’t think anyone.

SUMMARY: What really separates these shakes?

ProteinCaloriesFiber SugarIncludes Vitamins and Probiotics?ServingsPrice
Arbonne Essentials 20g (Soy protein)210g6g12g20 Vitamins and minerals 30 ServingsSee lowest price on Amazon
Herbalife Formula 1 20g (Pea and Rice protein)220g2.3g9g24 vitamins and minerals, no probiotics 20 servings See lowest price on Amazon

Protein content

Although both shakes contain 20grams of protein, they both come from different sources of protein. Whereas Herbalife is effectively a soy protein shake, Arbonne gets its protein from a many different plants that do not include soy.

In my opinion, Arbonne’s protein content is higher quality than Herbalife’s because it is not from soy.


Hard to find price of Herbalife but it’s in the region of 30-50$ for a formula 1 shake. Much more affordable than Arbonne. A 30 serving Arbonne essentials meal replacement is over $90!

Similarities between two shakes?

  • Both these shakes contain high amounts of sugar. Too high for a proper meal.
  • Companies are both mlm’s. These are not good business models that benefit the consumer
  • Both have high quality Vitamins and minerals. 

What do Other people think?

Reading online reviews are very mixed and I think some are ill-informed. When I hear the question, does it work and can they lose weight? – it makes me cringe. Drinking meal replacement shakes is not the only way to lose weight. A side of salad everyday will help you lose weight but it won’t be practical nor healthy. The same can be said for Arbonne and Herbalife.  You can lose weight with these shakes but it won’t be in a healthy way. The damage to your body is done internally and it’s the things you can’t see that happen over time.

If you visit amazon you can check out what other people think.

Who wins??

None. Here is a summary of why I don’t recommend buying them.

  • Very expensive and a rip off.
  • Sugar content is way too high
  • MLM company
  • Overly filled with starches, gums, thickeners and emulsifiers.

What do I recommend?

When picking the right meal replacement I would pick a shake that meet all the criteria below.

  • Soy, dairy, gluten free with no artificial preservatives or colourings.
  • Clean plant proteins or whey protein isolate
  • Under 4g of sugar per serving.
  • Affordable price. Nothing over $80.
  • Not overly filled with starches, gums, thickeners and emulsifiers.
  • They are also not a mlm business. You can tell by the branding of their website.

Check out the below shakes which meet my criteria.


Orgain Organic Meal Replacement Shake


Orgain is completely natural, tastes good, mixes well, healthy, and has very little sugar content. Below are some of the key reasons I love the shake so much.

  • Pea, chia, and rice protein
  • 1g of sugar
  • 8g of fiber
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Organic greens blend
  • Soy, dairy, gluten free
  • Affordable price

Primal kitchen

Primal Kitchen Meal replacement


Primal kitchen is an incredibly tasty and simple shake, which includes pre-biotics and a higher than average fat content. The fat is from coconut and is great addition if your a on the keto diet. Even if your not on the keto diet, the healthy coconut fat can act as a appetite suppressant.

This shake does include whey so if you are lactose intolerant its best to avoid.

  • Whey,
  • Pre-biotics,
  • Fat from coconut,
  • Coconut milk
  • Stevia

It is low carb and high in coconut fat so if your on a the paleo diet this would be perfect.


If you came here to looking to buy either Arbonne or Herbalife I am sorry to disappoint. The ingredient list is simply not up to the high standards I expect from these two popular brands. Plus there is no way I can justify drinking the high levels of sugar content in these two shakes.  

Although I recommend Orgain or Primal kitchen, the choice is really down to you. At the end of the day nothing really beats a natural, whole food diet.


2 thoughts on “Arbonne vs Herbalife – Which Meal Replacement Wins?”

  1. Love this article!! I’m so glad I read this before I bought either. I’ve seen a lot of articles that have proven those shakes to be bad, but this one has so much more information! Do you have any other healthier alternative for the Herbalife teas and the Arbonne fizz sticks?

  2. Love this article! Thanks for doing the homework for us all.
    I rep for Arbonne and one correction on the Arbonne sugar content:

    1) We use raw cane sugar, which is different then refined, table sugar. Different sugars are processed differently. Depending on what else you eat with that sugar, your body processes it differently. When protein and carbs are balanced correctly, there is negligible rise in blood sugar.

    2) Sugar cane juice is a natural sweetener, just like the sweetener in an apple. An apple has twice the amount of sugar as one of our shakes. Most would eat half an apple without batting an eye. **Please see below for all the benefits of cane sugar on the body.

    3) Arbonne is clinically tested and certified to have low glycemic index, which has little effect on blood sugar levels and does not cause a spike in blood sugar. Our products are safe for diabetics.

    4) There is a reason that everyone says our shakes are the best tasting shakes they have ever tried. We supplement with sugar cane because when it is 100% stevia it does not taste very good. And when your shakes taste amazing, people STICK WITH IT and even those who were originally concerned still see improvements and feel amazing.

    5) We use NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. I am absolutely speechless when someone will say “no” to ingesting less natural sugar than what you find in an apple, but will drink shakes with artificial sweeteners. Newsflash! Any company that calls themselves a health company or says they are there to get you healthy, then uses artificial sweeteners, does NOT care about your health! SUCRALOSE sounds natural but it is one of the worst offenders!

    Also on your little chart you mis quoted the protein chart for each brand.


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