Herbalife vs Advocare. These two meal replacement brands are very popular in the fitness industry and provide many people with a way of making some money.
The issue with this is that most of the people who sell these two brands aren’t fitness or nutrition experts.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to make money, generally I would prefer that the people selling me the product actually have my best interests at heart.
Now, I’m not saying that the sellers have nefarious intentions. Not at all. But when they pitch to you, both shakes sound like the best thing on earth for weight loss and health.
So which one is the best? Do the shakes do what they claim to do and are they actually a healthy choice?
I always believe that eating real food is the best way to go. But we’re all busy and sometimes a shake is a quick way to get the nutrition you need.
So let’s pit these two shakes against each other and see which one is the best and whether they are worth it.
What is Herbalife?
Herbalife is a multilevel marketing company specializing in health and weight loss supplements.
There is still some debate as to whether or not Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. But no official rulings have been made to ban their multilevel marketing practices.
It was established in 1980 by Mark Hughes and has since expanded into a company that is active in around 90 countries across the globe.
The aim is to provide natural and convenient health and weight loss solutions. They sell teas, pills, shakes, and edibles like cookies and bite-size bars that cater to different health needs.
In addition to the above-mentioned products, they also sell haircare and skincare products.
We’re looking at the Herbalife Formula 1 Instant Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake.
What is Advocare?
Although they do still produce and sell health drinks, shakes, and supplements, they are now banned from operating as a multilevel marketing company.
This is because they were found to be a pyramid scheme.
The products are formulated by scientists employed by Advocare as opposed to external scientists. So this needs to be kept in mind too.
We’re looking at the Advocare Meal Replacement Shake.
What’s Better About Herbalife?
Plant Protein Means Healthier Fats
Herbalife is a good option if you are on a plant-based diet. Overall, plant-protein is healthier than animal protein.
This is because there is less saturated fat in plant protein and more of the heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
This may sound a bit confusing, but it comes down to the chemical structure of these fats and how the body uses them.
This is good for your brain too.
Plaque buildup in the brain may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. This buildup of plaque isn’t good for any part of your body, and especially your heart.
It’s caused by excessive levels of LDL, VLDL, and trans fat.
Trans fat is a man-made fat and is now banned in many countries because of the negative impact it has on health.
Saturated fat is used in the body, but because it raises bad cholesterol levels, it’s best to keep your saturated fat intake low.
Plant Protein Works Just as Well as Animal Protein
It’s a myth that plant protein is inferior to animal proteins.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. A complete protein contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce on their own.
Plants do contain protein, but very few contain all the essential proteins. But, they can be combined to create a full amino acid profile (complete protein).
Animal protein contains all 20 amino acids which include those that our bodies can make on their own.
But even when not combined to get a full amino acid profile, it still promotes muscle growth if that is your goal as well as muscle maintenance and satiety.
Muscle maintenance is important. It keeps your metabolism running more efficiently and gives your body that toned look.
And ladies, you won’t look like a bodybuilder. It’s much harder for us than our male counterparts.
Of course, satiety is important too. No one likes going around “hangry” and no one enjoys being around hangry people either.
Pea protein contains all the essential amino acids. But it’s low in methionine, an essential amino acid, which is why it’s often combined with other plant protein sources.
It also contains iron and is easy to digest. It also mixes well unlike some plant protein powders.
Soy is a complete protein, but many still feel uncomfortable about consuming it. Research is still ongoing although research to date suggests that there are many positives.
Soy protein is rich in minerals including iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
These trace minerals are used in many daily bodily functions such as carrying oxygen around the body, maintaining bone health, and producing enzymes for digestion.
It may also be beneficial for menopausal women as it acts like estrogen in the body which is a hormone that decreases during menopause.
Lower in Sugar
The Herbalife shakes have only half a teaspoon of sugar per serving for the chocolate flavor and just under a teaspoon of sugar for the vanilla.
While no sugar at all is preferable, you should still be able to stay within the recommended sugar limit per day depending on your other food choices.
Women shouldn’t have more than 6 teaspoons (25g) of added sugar per day. That means all sugar that isn’t found in food naturally, for example, in fruit.
Foods like cookies, pies, soft drinks, and yes, meal replacement shakes contain added sugar since these foods didn’t come directly from nature.
What’s Better About Advocare?
Advocare has more fiber than Herbalife. In comparison to the vanilla flavor from Herbalife, all the Advocare flavors have 100 percent more.
Fiber is essential for the health of the gut.
It feeds the healthy bacteria so that they can fight off the bad bacteria. Fiber also keeps you keep you less bloated.
Your tummy is swept clean of nasties.
It keeps your cholesterol and blood sugar levels balanced too. It’s healthy for your heart and helps to minimize cravings.
It also keeps you fuller for longer which is always a major benefit for weight loss.
On the SAD (Standard American Diet) we often fall below the recommended fiber intake of 25g per day for women and between 30g and 38g per day for men.
We should all be aiming to reach at least the recommended fiber intake every day.
Lower in Sodium
If you are on the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), you need to restrict your sodium intake to 2300mg per day on the standard DASH diet.
If you are on the lower sodium DASH diet, your intake needs to be limited to 1500mg. This is, in fact, the recommended intake for everyone for optimal health.
The Advocare meal replacements have only about a quarter of the sodium that’s in the Herbalife Formula 1 Instant Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake.
Problematic Ingredients in Herbalife
There are some definite benefits to consuming soy, but there are also negatives.
Soy can be hard on the digestive system and if you already have gut issues, I recommend that you avoid it. Your body and the people around you will thank you.
There are some conflicting results when it comes to women’s health.
In many studies, soy had a protective effect against breast cancer in Western women, but in some studies, it appeared to be the culprit in Asian women.
It was thought to be the type of soy consumed that made the difference between the results in America and the results in Asia.
Hormonally, there is no issue for men as long as intake remains below 240 mg (soy isoflavones) and 70g (soy protein) per day.
But soy crops are often heavily sprayed with pesticides. Not all pesticides are excreted by our bodies. Some accumulate and increase the risk of damaging health effects.
If you have an allergy to soy, it goes without saying that you should avoid this product.
We’ve already established the sugar content.
However, these shakes also contain sucralose, an artificial sweetener. Which begs the question, why the sugar?
But secondly, artificial sugars are not the healthiest sweetener option.
They may have a negative impact on the gut microbiome. A healthy gut is essential for good health and even weight loss.
It also may raise your blood sugar, and subsequently your insulin levels, if you don’t regularly consume sucralose. Insulin is the hormone that controls your blood sugar levels.
Having said that, it does affect people differently. If you respond to it without any problems, that is fine. But many people may not respond well.
It’s really up to you whether you want to use artificial sweeteners or not.
This isn’t a problem for everyone, but many people can’t process this artificial form of folate. In these people, it can build up in the body and may even lead to cancer.
The issue is that the only way to know if you are one of these people is if you get your MFTHR gene tested.
It seems like a pretty good reason to me to use natural folate instead.
Problematic Ingredients in Advocare
Whey and Casein
There is nothing wrong with these protein sources in and of themselves.
But, we don’t know for sure that these shakes are free of rBST (Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) or rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) hormones.
These hormones aren’t good for acne sufferers or people struggling with hormone-related cancers Such as breast cancer.
Some people also struggle to digest casein, although the digestive enzymes may help with this.
If you are lactose intolerant or have an allergy to milk, avoid this product.
As mentioned, it’s best to stay away from artificial sugars.
One of the main reasons that manufacturers use folic acid instead of methylfolate is because of the cost.
This is possibly because folate is less stable when taken out of the foods that it naturally occurs in.
But, again, with so many of us possibly not being able to use folic acid, it’s better to be on the safe side.
Who Should Get Herbalife?
Those on a plant-based diet and athletes.
Who Should Get Advocare?
People who struggle with digestive troubles. The digestive enzymes may help and also make sure that protein and other nutrients are absorbed better.
Athletes will also benefit from this supplement.
Herbalife Formula 1 Instant Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake
Each serving of the Herbalife Formula 1 Instant Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake provides 24 vitamins and minerals according to their marketing.
Potassium is listed under the macronutrients (nutrients needed in large amounts, fat, protein, carbohydrates) instead of with the other micronutrients (nutrients needed smaller amounts).
So this product can be said to contain 25 nutrients.
The optimal intake of potassium is 4700mg which is more than the rest of the micronutrients, That may explain why they put it with the macronutrients which are needed in much larger quantities.
There is 3g of total fat and 20g of protein. All this at 200 calories when blended with water.
This may seem high, but undereating is harmful to your health. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also going to halt your weight loss progress as your body will go into survival mode and retain fat.
Women generally shouldn’t get less than 1200 calories per day, and men no less than 1500 calories per day.
However, there is no fiber in the vanilla dream flavor, which for a meal replacement shake is no good. You would at least need to eat some fruit or additional veggies to take care of this issue.
The creamy chocolate flavor has 2g of fiber.
This is a plant-based shake. The protein comes from a combination of soy protein isolate and pea protein isolate.
There are 20g of carbs (2g of sugar) in the chocolate flavor and 23g (3g of sugar) in the vanilla.
The sodium content ranges between 410mg and 420mg respectively. This is quite high for a meal replacement shake geared toward health.
- 24 vitamins and minerals
- 20g of protein
- Still tastes creamy when combined with water
- Low sugar content
- Suitable for those on a plant-based diet
- Contains artificial sweetener
- Using cows milk or coconut milk pushes the calorie content up
- Some found they didn’t enjoy the flavor even after adding fruit
- There is little to no fiber
- Contains soy protein
The Advocare Meal Replacement Shake provides 26 vitamins and minerals. The fat content is low at 2g. The berry flavor has 4g of fat.
It also contains MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) which are known to benefit the heart and possibly brain health. MCTs are a great energy source and may also assist with weight loss.
There is 24 g of protein (whey protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, calcium caseinate, L-glutamine, L-lysine, L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine).
All three flavors have 6g of fiber which is still low for a meal, but certainly not the worst as we’ve seen with regard to meal replacements.
There are 24g of carbs with 6g of that being sugar. There is 4g of added sugar per serving which works out to a teaspoon of sugar. Just like Herbalife, there is also sucralose.
There are digestive enzymes for better digestion.
The sodium content is low at 70-90mg depending on the flavor.
The exception is the chocolate peanut butter which contains 320mg per serving which is a pity. PB and chocolate is a winning combo.
The calorie content is 200 across all flavors. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate mocha, or berry flavor.
This shake is also available from the Advocare website.
- 26 vitamins and minerals
- Contains MCTs
- Has enzymes for better digestion
- 24g of protein
- 6g of fiber
- Low in sodium (except for the chocolate peanut butter)
- Contains artificial sweetener
- Using cows milk or coconut milk will drive up the calorie count
- Some people found the shakes too sweet
- The chocolate peanut butter is high in sodium
Unless you are on a plant-based diet, I would recommend Advocare because:
- The fiber content is higher
- The sodium content is lower (except for the chocolate peanut butter flavor)
- The protein content is higher
However, a far better alternative to both Advocare and Herbalife is the Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement.
The protein is plant-based and provides a full amino acid profile but contains no soy. There are no artificial hormones.
This shake uses stevia as the sweetener and contains no added sugar. Stevia has no negative effects on the gut or blood sugar levels.
It also contains enzymes and probiotics for gut health. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, vanilla chai, and lightly sweetened flavor.
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