As always, I am going to start this by saying, you don’t know until you know. The point of this blog isn’t to hurt feelings or discredit anyone. I simply feel obligated to share my professional doctor opinion on another green washed* brand- one that regularly fills up my personal social media.
*Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly and therefore ‘better’.
*I tried contacting Herbalife to get some of my questions answered but I have yet to hear back. So that means I have what’s provided on their website.*
I wanted to know the forms of vitamins they have in this drink. Example, it says “Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Magnesium, etc.”- well what active form are these in? Different active forms mean different absorption levels- this is incredibly important.
I did some digging and was pretty taken back by what I found…
I’m going to highlight a handful of things that I have to address.
These two words make me cringe! They sincerely make me cringe more than the word moist. Folic acid is not our friend and we do not want it in the supplements we take or the food we eat. Folic acid IS NOT the same thing as folate and should NEVER be used as an equivalent. Folic acid can inhibit transport of the necessary active folate across the blood-brain barrier where we need it to be able to support reductions in neuroinflammation.
It’s been estimated that more than 50% of the population has an MTHFR genetic mutation making those people unable to absorb folic acid.
Soy protein isolate is the very first listed ingredient- later down the list, soy lecithin is used as well. Soy is rich in phytic acid, blocking mineral absorption and is rich in goitrogens, negatively impacting the thyroid. Soy is also xenoestrogens and mimics estrogen- causing an estrogen buildup in our bodies. As we learn more about what this does to our body, we know it influences autoimmune disorders, estrogen dominance, and female cancers.
Fun Fact: soy is one of our biggest cash crops in the US- over 94% of it is genetically modified. We know that GMO crops destroy not only our health (thanks Monsanto), but also the health of the environment. They’re smothered in harsh chemicals that seep into our water and air supply.
The label proudly claims, “low glycemic” and only 1g of sugar. However, corn syrup solids, maltodextrin, and sucralose are all listed on the ingredient label.
This is a similar labeling tactic to the claim of 0g trans fat.
“Corn Syrup Solids”
This is exactly how it sounds, dried and solidified corn syrup. What’s corn syrup? It’s sugar- 100% glucose.
Fun Fact: up to 92% of corn is genetically modified. Yet again, this product isn’t certified GMO-free.
Maltodextrin is technically classified as a complex carbohydrate. It’s an excessively processed additive that should be avoided by anyone with insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood sugar, PCOS, etc. Maltodextrin can also alter gut flora and suppress our beneficial gut bacteria.
Fun Fact: it’s glycemic index shows that it’s absorbed as fast, if not faster, than other true sugars.
Sucralose (Splenda) is an artificial sweetener, like aspartame. Sucralose is produced by a multi-step chemical process that replaces three hydrogen-oxygen groups with three chlorine atoms. This replacement intensifies the sweetness to 600 times more than table sugar- while containing zero calories. As you can imagine, our gut is not a fan of sucralose. A study on sucralose and the GI microbiome showed that sucralose altered the gut microbiome by decreasing beneficial bacteria by up to 50%. Moreover, 12 weeks after the study the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract had not recovered. The study also found that sucralose may limit the bioavailability of certain orally administered medications- making the medications less effective.1
1. Abou-Donia MB, El-Masry EM, Abdel-Rahman AA, McLendon RE, Schiffman SS. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(21):1415-29. doi: 10.1080/15287390802328630. PMID: 18800291.
“Natural and Artificial Flavors”
Each natural flavor may contain up to 100 ingredients. Those 100 ingredients include synthetic chemicals such as the solvent propylene glycol, the preservative BHA, and GMO-derived ingredients (unless organic or Non-GMO Project verified). Natural flavors can be derived from literally anything in nature, even animal parts.
Artificial flavors are made from anything else that doesn’t fall under the “natural” umbrella.
Fun Fact: these flavors are made by scientists called “flavorists”. The flavorists use "natural" chemicals when they are creating natural flavors, and "synthetic" chemicals when they are making artificial flavorings.
Now, as I stated previously, you don’t know until you know. I am not here to bash anyone’s profession. What I am here to do is show that we deserve better as consumers. Labels are deceiving- they truly are. We should continue to demand better and demand transparency.
I personally use and recommend Truvani, organic plant-based protein powder. Get yours discounted here or check out our Products We Love page!
Let's get back to health,
Dr. Taryn Stittleburg, DC, CFMP, PSc.D