- Cal 180
- Protein 9g
- Fiber 8g
- Carb 30g
- Sugar 4g
Whey protein blend, high in protein, good vitamins and minerals
Contains artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and sucralose, higher in calories, no superfoods
GNC TOTAL LEAN SHAKE REVIEW
Are you trying to revamp your health and hoping a meal replacement shake can help you both reach your weight goals and clean up your diet? The GNC Total Lean Shake is a popular diet shake that's high in whey-based protein and fiber, while being low in sugar (yet containing artificial sweeteners).
If you’re following a low-carb/low-cholesterol diet, this shake may not be your best choice. But if you’re very active and trying to build lean muscle, it may be ideal for you, at least for a short time period. Read on to discover the positive and negative aspects of this well-known meal replacement shake…
You won’t drink a meal replacement shake if you don’t like the flavor, so how does GNC Total Lean measure up?
First off, the shake comes in five unique types: French Vanilla, Banana, Mixed Berry, Rich Chocolate, and Cookies & Cream. Though this gives a nice variety, there are many other meal replacement shake brands that offer more flavor options. This allows customers to experiment with different smoothie recipes and expand their palates.
But when it comes to the taste and texture of the shakes, reviews are mostly positive! Some of the top GNC Lean Shake Reviews on the French Vanilla flavor reveal that it: (1)
- Doesn’t have a chalky taste like other shakes
- Is a “must-try” if you love Vanilla
- Tastes so good and has awesome versatility
- Has a better texture than other shakes they’ve tried
- Is easy to mix
Though everyone’s preferences are different and there were some negative reviews, the positive ones outshined them. This gave us full confidence that this is a truly tasty shake that most-likely will not disappoint.
GNC TOTAL LEAN SHAKE INGREDIENTS
A quick glance at the GNC Total Lean French Vanilla Label shows that this shake is packed with extra vitamins and minerals that are perfect for replacing a meal. There are a few ingredients of concern that we’ll discuss further below, and quite a bit of cholesterol, but there’s high protein and fiber – two key elements of the best meal replacement shakes.
180 calories per serving
Starting with calories, GNC Shakes provide a decent amount with 180 per shake serving. For weight management and a healthy lifestyle, your diet shake should be around 100 calories per serving – but you can get away with a higher amount if you add less additional ingredients into your smoothies.
If you aren’t trying to drop pounds, it will be even more important for you to monitor your calorie amount each day. You can use a calorie tracker appto help you determine the right number of calories for your weight goals, or you can go by a recommended guideline… (2)
- Daily Calorie Goal for the Average Woman: 2,000 per day to maintain and 1,500 to lose one pound of weight per week
- Daily Calorie Goal for the Average Man: 2,500 to maintain and 2,000 to lose one pound of weight per week
Following this guideline, the average woman may want to break up her day into small meals, instead of just three meals a day. In doing this, it can also look like 3 small meals and two snacks. Therefore to lose a moderate amount of weight, you would want to break it up into 300 calorie chunks, 5 times a day.
Keeping this in mind, a GNC Total Lean Shake can still work to help you reach and maintain your weight goals, just keep in mind that you may want to drink it with a low-calorie beverage, or add only low-calorie ingredients (berries, cucumbers, spinach) when making a smoothie.
25g of protein per serving
Each GNC Lean Shake has quite a lot of protein per serving (25g) which amounts to 50% of the recommended daily value. Though protein is a vital component of healthy, fat-busting meals, there’s also such thing as having too much protein in a day. But… it all depends on your lifestyle, fitness level and personal health goals.
According to the Institute for Medicine (IOM), the daily RDA for protein for an adult male and female looks like:
- Female 19-70+ years: 46g per day
- Male 19-70+ years: 56g per day
It’s easy to see that with just two GNC Lean Shakes a day, you’d be beyond the daily goal if you’re a woman and very close to the daily goal if you’re a man!
Now, there are exceptions of when people would require more protein… such as if you’re extremely active or pregnant. Therefore, these GNC Total Lean Shakes would be great if you have a hefty muscle-building goal or engage in heavy exercise every week.
But for everyone else, it might be a good idea to stick with only one of these shakes a day. Though relatively high protein intake isn’t likely to cause any major side effects, a large excess over the recommended amount could cause intestinal discomfort, irritability and exhaustion. (3)
GNC Shake Features a Whey Protein Blend
As for the type of protein in GNC Lean Shakes…. They contain a whey blend with: whey protein concentrate, milk protein concentrate and whey protein isolate.
First off – again for muscle-building purposes – whey is a great choice for this shake. Whey in general has a large number of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) including leucine, isoleucine and valine, all essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. (4)
We like that they included both the concentrate and isolate forms of whey, in order to get a balance of benefits, since they each provide unique ones. The isolate form is usually used in bodybuilding shakes, since it has more protein content and less carbs, lactose and fat. However, the isolate form is highly processed, so the concentrate contains much more beneficial nutrients. (5,6)
One of the only downsides to whey is that many people experience digestive problems with consumption such as gas or bloating, and those that are vegan, vegetarian or lactose-intolerant can’t drink it. This is why plant-based proteins are becoming increasingly more popular over whey.
8g fiber / 19g carbs
Moving onto the fiber amount, each GNC Shake offers 8g per serving – which is an ideal amount. For a healthy meal replacement shake that helps you meet your daily fiber goals, you want to aim for one that has 5-10g of fiber per serving.
Fiber is essential to help your body adequately digest the foods you eat, ensuring proper nutrient absorption. It’s also the key ingredient for keeping things “running smoothly”, protecting bowel health, reducing cramps and bloating and assisting with toxin removal.
When it comes to weight management, fiber is what will help keep you full and satisfied in a meal replacement shake. Without it, shakes are usually a thin and watery consistency, instead of rich and creamy.
As for the carb amount, each GNC Shake has 19g per serving, which is fine if you’re managing your weight or drinking these shakes as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, for weight loss (and even sometimes for weight management), you may wish to consider a low carb diet plan. For this purpose, the amount of carbs in GNC Shakes would be too high.
To adhere to a low carb diet, a shake with less than half the amount of carbs (around 7 or 8g per serving) would be ideal. This helps get your body into fat-burning instead of carb-burning mode (known as ketosis) and could boost metabolism to help you burn more calories.
SUGAR / ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
3g of Sugar / Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium
The best meal replacement shakes will be very low in sugar (in fact, our #1 rated shake, 310 Shake, has no sugar or artificial sweeteners). Sugar is an empty ingredient, adding calories but no nutrients. Sure, it tastes good, but there are other more natural ways to get this great flavor, such as with the natural sweetener, Stevia.
GNC Lean Shakes keep the sugar content reasonable with 3g per serving, however, they include two artificial sweeteners in their shakes: Sucralose (Splenda) and Acesulfame Potassium (Sunnett and Sweet One).
Artificial sweeteners are quite controversial these days, with some sources saying that they can help you lose weight, since they don’t contain calories. On the other hand, other sources pinpoint the fact that these artificially-created sugars are actually way, way sweeter than regular table sugar. And all that sweetness can actually interfere with the release of satiety hormones in your body – potentially causing you to overeat and consume MORE calories. (7)
Recent research also shows that these fake sugars can actually kill off the “good”, beneficial bacteria in your gut –negatively affecting everything from your immunity to digestive processes to mood.
If you’re going to consume a protein shake that has artificial sweeteners (and this one has two of them), it might be best to do so in moderation, as the excessive use of these chemical ingredients may end up causing health consequences in the long-term.
FAT / CHOLESTEROL
3.5g fat / 60g cholesterol
GNC meal replacement shakes contain 3.5 grams of fat, with 2g of saturated fat and 0g trans fats. For a healthy diet, you want to focus on the good unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats), which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of disease.
In contrast, you want to minimize your use of saturated fats; The amount in GNC Shake is only 10% of your daily value so that’s not bad.
However, because this shake formula contains whey proteins, the cholesterol per serving is 60mg. If you’re having two shakes a day, that’s 120mg.
Your body actually does need cholesterol to perform essential functions, but high cholesterol can be detrimental to your health. For this reason, you should aim to keep your daily consumption of cholesterol to these daily guidelines:
- For the average healthy person- 300 milligrams per day
- If you’re battling heart disease or diabetes– 200 milligrams per day
With a GNC Shake twice a day, you’re already close to your daily cholesterol goal, so you should aim to eat clean and healthy for the rest of your meals.
GNC protein shakes contain an impressive array of essential vitamins and minerals, at high levels. Each shake contains 22 nutrients at 20-50% daily value.
Some of the most notable nutrients include:
- Vitamin A – 1000 mcg – 20% daily value
- Vitamin C – 30mg – 50% daily value
- Calcium – 500mg – 50% daily value
It’s great that GNC understands the importance of extra nutrients in their shakes since they’re replacing meals. However, the shakes don’t include additional superfoods, digestive enzymes or probiotics that would take it up another notch in the wellness realm.
GNC is a staple brand in the health and fitness world, with stores worldwide. In addition to protein shakes, they offer an array of additional healthy lifestyle products including vitamins and supplements, fitness equipment, herbs and natural remedies, digestive support, beauty and skin care products and food and drink items.
One 16-container tub of GNC Lean Shake comes to $39.99 when you buy it on their website (or $2.50 per serving). This is a great price for a diet shake however, you wouldn’t have enough to last you a month, even with only one shake a day, so you would need to buy in bulk.
In addition to buying online, you can also find this product in one of the many brick and mortar store locations.
GNC TOTAL LEAN SHAKE CONCLUSION
If you’re looking to clean up your health or lose some weight, meal replacement shakes are a great option to help you reach your goals on a busy schedule.
When it comes to GNC Total Lean Shakes, they have both desirable and undesirable qualities, depending on your personal lifestyle and goals. A look at the label shows that these shakes are very high in protein, with 25g of a whey-blend per serving. They therefore may work great for exercise endurance and building lean muscle.
But the shakes contain two controversial artificial sweeteners, which studies show may actually hinder your weight loss goals and potentially be bad for your health in the long-run. They also contain a slightly higher amount of carbs and calories.
GNC Total Lean Shake reviews show that the shakes taste good and contain an impressive vitamin/mineral profile although they don’t have any additional superfoods. If you’re thinking of trying this weight loss shake, see how it compares to other notable brands on our site first…
GNC Shake Comparison:
- Shakeology Shake vs Total Lean Shake
- Vega One Shake vs Total Lean Shake
- 310 Shake vs Total Lean Shake
Protein quality : 7.9/10
9 grams of protein per serving, milk and whey protein
Appetite Suppressant : 7.8/10
8 grams of fiber per serving
Taste : 8.3/10
Value : 7.6/10
$35-44 for a 1-month supply or $2.81 per shake