Tag Archives: vegan

Shakeology Reviews: An Unbiased Nutrition Facts and Ingredients Analysis

Most Shakeology reviews have one thing in common: a vested interest in selling Beachbody products. 

That’s because they’re all written by Beachbody “Coaches.” [side note: I was a Coach for a short stint several years ago, so I’m very familiar with their marketing methods.]

While I do sell a plant protein powder of my own, my analysis/review of Shakeology’s products is unbiased because I use three objective criteria when evaluating their protein powders: 1.) Ingredients, 2.) Nutrition, and 3.) Cost.

Here’s the thing …

Shakeology actually has a lot of good stuff in it.

Unfortunately, there are some ingredients they use that concern me though, as you’re about to see.

Scroll below to see the summary and full versions of my Shakeology review …

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet of plant protein powders comparable to Shakeology (20+ brands included).

Shakeology Reviews (Summary Version)

Similar to my other plant-based protein powder analyses, I am judging Beachbody’s Shakeology protein powders based on health and nutrition … NOT taste.

So here’s the deal …

In this section I’ll provide an analysis of Shakeology’s products as a whole and tell you the 4 things that concern me most about it. Below we’ll look at the complete nutrition facts and ingredients for each product separately.

Here we go …

Shakeology Nutrition Summary: All Products

Calories160-170
Grams of Protein16-17
Protein Source(s)Regular Shakeology: Whey protein isolate, pea protein, sacha inchi, flax, chia, quinoa

Shakeology Vegan Protein: Pea protein, oat protein, rice protein, chia, flax, quinoa

Grams of Sugar6-8
Free of “Natural” FlavorsNo
Free of Gums & ThickenersNo
OrganicNo
VeganYes
Cost Per Gram$.10

 

Here are 5 things I wish Shakeology would improve:

  1. Shakeology’s products are not organic.
  2. Shakeology shakes have an average of 6-8 grams of added sugar per shake.
  3. At $.10/gram, Shakeology is one of the more expensive protein powders on the market. (Note: I use cost per gram to account for different serving sizes).
  4. Most of Shakeology’s non-vegan shakes contain whey protein isolate. Whey protein may do more harm than good for many people with dairy sensitivities or allergies.
  5. Shakeology has “natural” flavors. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has an awesome web resource that evaluates the safety of the most common food additives. In its “Safety Ratings,” CSPI says natural flavors “may trigger an acute, allergic reaction, intolerance, or other problems.”
is shakeology bad for you
source: https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine

Click here to get my FREE report on the dangers of natural flavors.

Next we’ll break down the nutrition facts and ingredients for each of Shakeology’s products/flavors separately.

Shakeology Ingredients / Nutritionals Review

Alrighty, let’s start with the good. I actually like a lot of the ingredients in Shakelogy:

  • Seeds: chia, flax, and quinoa
  • Greens: moringa, chlorella, kale, spinach, and spirulina
  • Probiotics/digestive enzymes
  • “Adaptogenic blend”: ashwagandha, maca, etc.

However, like I said above, there are 5 major issues I have with Shakeology’s products:

  1. They’re not organic. Any “superfood” that’s not organic may be sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides and/or high is in heavy metals. In fact, Shakeology found itself in hot water a couple years ago when Dr. Oz. issued a warning about the lead levels in their products. Beachbody, Shakeology’s parent company, has since reformulated their products to address these concerns.
  2. Sugar content. 6-8 grams of added sugar is too much for a 160-170-calorie protein shake for non-athletes. If your body isn’t using that sugar during exercise, it will get converted into fat.
  3. Price. At $.10/gram, Shakeology is one of the most expensive protein powders on the market. It retails at $130 for 30 servings.
  4. Whey protein. For people sensitive to dairy, whey is not a good protein choice. Read my article Whey Vs Plant Protein. Shakeology does make several vegan proteins, as you’ll see below … but they all have 6-8 grams of added sugar, depending on the flavor.
  5. “Natural” flavors. Natural flavors can contain hundreds of different substances–many of them chemicals–and still be called “natural.” Here’s what the EWG has to say about them:

Consumers may be surprised to learn that so-called “natural flavors” can actually contain synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol or the preservative BHA.  Flavor extracts derived from genetically engineered crops may also be labeled “natural,” because the FDA has not fully defined what that term means.

Shakeology has 8 different products/flavors: chocolate, vanilla, cafe latte, strawberry, greenberry, chocolate (vegan), vanilla (vegan), cafee latte (vegan), and tropical strawberry (vegan).

shakeology review

Let’s have a look at the nutrition facts and ingredients for each, starting with the vegan ones, which I recommend over the whey protein based shakes.

I highlighted areas of concern in red below …

Beachbody Shakeology Nutrition Facts Labels

Vanilla Vegan Protein

shakeology vegan vanilla
There are some ingredients in Shakeology’s “superfood blend” I really like: the protein sources, mushroom powders, and herbs. However, beware of the red flag ingredients: sugar, “natural” flavors, xanthan gum.

Cafe Latte Vegan Protein

plant-based shakology
8 grams of sugar in a protein shake is way too much unless you’re a hardcore exerciser! It doesn’t matter is it’s “organic cane sugar” or high fructose corn syrup … your body processes these the same way.

Chocolate Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder

shakeology chocolate vegan protein ingredients
Again, some great superfood ingredients here; however, you should be wary of the added sugar and gums.

Vegan Tropical Strawberry Protein Powder

shakology tropical strawberry protein nutrition
Lots of different “natural” flavors going on here.

Chocolate Protein Powder

shakeology chocolate nutrition facts

Vanilla Protein Powder

shakeology vanilla nutrition

Greenberry Protein Powder

shakeology reviews unbiased

Strawberry Protein Powder

beachbody shakeology nutrition label

Cafe Latte Protein Powder

shakeology ingredients

Bottom Line: Is Shakeology Good for You?

Even though I have strong opinions about protein powders, I tried to remain as unbiased as possible in my Shakeology reviews.

From a nutrition standpoint, there are some really nice ingredients in Shakeology: quality protein sources in their plant-based ones along with with a nice mix of adaptogenic herbs, mushroom powders, and other superfoods.

However, the problems I have with Beachbody’s Shakeology shakes is they a) are not organic; b) have 6-8 grams of added sugar per serving, c) contain flavors, and d) are not cheap.

There are definitely worse protein powders you can buy, and the Chocolate Vegan flavor is the “cleanest” of the bunch when it comes to ingredients, based on my analysis.

But for the money, I recommend sticking with an organic, plant-based protein with 100% real food ingredients instead.

Click here to get instant access to my FREE Google spreadsheet comparing 20+ plant protein powders similar to Shakeology by ingredients, nutrition, cost, and more.

How to Find the Best Gluten Free Dairy Free Protein Powder

gluten free dairy free protein powderI know lots of peeps that don’t eat dairy or gluten, two of the most common allergens that can cause all types of health issues.

This (obviously) means they shop for protein powder brands that are gluten and dairy free too.

Today I want to dispel a common myth though:

Just because you’re buying something without dairy or gluten, doesn’t mean it’s “healthy.”

In this article, I’ll break down exactly why that is and show you five questions to ask to find a gluten and dairy free protein powder that’s actually good for you.

Here we go …

99% of Gluten Free Dairy Free Protein Powders Are Complete Junk (Even the Organic Ones)

That’s because most of the time, the bestselling protein powder brands are highly processed, pseudo-health foods that can actually do more harm than good.

Today, there are lots of companies vying for the title of healthiest protein powder. But how do you see through the marketing hype and objectively assess which powders are worthy contenders?

First, you consult the only two pieces of objective information on the food label: the nutrition facts panel and ingredients list.

A lot of times, gluten free and dairy free protein powder manufacturers will add a bunch of chemical fillers, sugar, and/or other unhealthy ingredients to make the product taste better. 

Here are the “Big Five” questions you should ask to find the healthiest dairy free and gluten free protein powder (or any high protein plant-based foods, for that matter):

5 Questions to Ask to Find the Healthiest Protein Powder WITHOUT Dairy and Gluten

  1. How much sugar is added? Sugar—no matter if it’s from cane honey, maple syrup, molasses, or coconuts—turns to fat in your body. Eating too much sugar increases your risk of dying from heart disease too. I recommend avoiding all protein powders with added sugar. If your protein is gluten-free and dairy-free yet contains a bunch of sugar, that pretty much defeats the purpose of taking a protein powder.
  2. Which artificial sweeteners do they use instead of real sugar? You don’t see a lot of fake sugars like saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose in vegan protein powder blends. But look out for the supposedly “all-natural” sweeteners. Xylitol and erythritol are highly processed “sugar alcohols” that can cause gut imbalances. Whole stevia leaf powder in its natural state is a healthy, green, all-natural sweetener. But the stevia most food companies use is a chemically-altered, bleached, stripped down version that’s likely to contain GMO fillers (often with allergens like corn and soy).
  3. What types of protein do they use? Vegan protein powders made from organic pea, rice, hemp, sacha inchi, and pumpkin seed are generally healthy sources of protein. Whey and casein proteins are milk-based and have lots of side effects so obviously aren’t good choices for those looking for a dairy free option. And if your vegan protein powder isn’t organic, you’re drinking pesticides with your protein smoothie.
  4. How are their ingredients processed? This is a tricky one because protein manufacturers are hesitant to disclose this information (which is the first sign they’re hiding something). Most vegan protein powders—even the organic ones—are processed using high temperature methods that destroy vital nutrients in the plant and render much of the protein useless. If you have a severe allergy to gluten or dairy, you’ll want to avoid brands that are manufactured in a facility where other gluten- and/or dairy-containing products are produced. There are now several reputable organizations that “certify” protein powders as gluten-free. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker unless you have a disease like celiac though.
  5. What other ingredients do they add? This is where most protein powders—especially the ones you may have thought are healthy—fail miserably. Here are a few common unhealthy ingredients to look out for:
    • Natural flavors. Here’s all you need to know: up to 90 percent of natural flavors are made of allergens like dairy, soy, corn, and gluten … as well as chemical solvents and preservatives, says David Andrews, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group.
    • Many protein powders that claim to be all-natural have gums like carrageenan, guar, xanthan, locust bean. These cheap, processed fillers often have other additives and can lead to gut imbalances.
    • Lecithins. To make most lecithins, oil is extracted from soybeans or sunflowers using a toxic chemical called hexane.

The Bottom Line About Dairy Free and Gluten Free Protein Powders

There are lots of protein powders available these days without gluten and dairy. But a lack of those two allergens doesn’t make a product “healthy” or “clean,” like most of these brands claims to be.

Learn how to read and understand the ingredients list and nutrition facts label. It’s the only way to see through the marketing hype and know if your gluten and dairy free protein powder is healthy.

Check Out My Best Plant Protein Powder Comparison Chart to Compare 20 Plant-based, Gluten Free / Dairy Free Protein Powders