- Cal 240
- Protein 24g
- Fiber 8g
- Carb 24g
- Sugar 11g
High level of protein, high level of vitamins and nutrients, taste
High level of sugar, high calorie level, price
It claims to be clinically proven to “support healthy weight loss and lean muscle growth.”[i] Backed by a company with a reputation for creating healthy and nutritional supplements, it’s easy to want to believe everything they have to say about their meal replacement shake. However, before jumping on the bandwagon we always recommend digging deeper into the details of a diet shake. Marketing claims in reality aren’t always what they seem to be on paper. This critical review of the IsaGenix IsaLean meal replacement shake will help you cut through the hype and get to the truth about the nutrition of this product.
IsaLean Nutritional Facts
The first thing we noticed about IsaLean is the serving size. It comes either individually packaged in single-serving packets that weigh 60 grams, or in a container. This is almost double the serving size of most meal replacement shakes, which are usually around 28 grams (1 ounce) each serving (give or take a little). This isn’t a good or bad thing necessarily, it just means there’s more powder you’ll be mixing or blending in with your desired base.
IsaLean comes in at 240 calories per serving. This calorie count is much higher than most other meal replacement shakes, which tend to range around 100 calories per serving. It’s common for meal replacement shake advocates to blend their favorite formula with either milk or fruit to create a tasty smoothie. This is a great strategy, especially when you’re using healthy fruits and greens in your smoothie, but it does increase the calorie count of the shake. With the IsaLean shake, you would definitely want to only blend it with water to avoid adding any more calories.
All in all, the high calorie count isn’t necessarily a horrible thing; 240 calories is much closer to a normal “meal” calorie count. However, when you’re trying to lose weight, it makes sense to lower the overall amount of calories you eat.
IsaLean diet shake comes with several notable claims. First, the product is stated to be soy free and gluten free. However, neither of those claims are backed by official certification. Looking through the ingredient list, we see no reason to disbelieve the claims, but it’s important to note they have not been verified by a credible outside source.
Isagenix also proudly touts that the shake is low-glycemic. Foods low on the glycemic index take more energy to digest than foods high on the glycemic index. The theory goes that by eating foods lower on the glycemic index we cause our body to expend more energy digesting, thus boosting our metabolism and supporting weight loss. The literature available on Isagenix’s website doesn’t communicate what makes the shake low-glycemic, and they spend little time explaining why that feature is beneficial.
A final claim Isagenix proudly makes is that their protein is “Cheerful Cow Certified”. On further research, this official looking label isn’t used anywhere except on Isagenix products. Essentially, the company is trying to communicate they use dairy from cows that haven’t been treated with hormones or antibiotics. But similar to the soy- and gluten-free claims, this claim isn’t backed by anyone official either. All of their verbiage on the subject is also careful to never use the words “grass-fed” when describing the cows, either.
The first controversial ingredient that stands out is fructose. This form of sugar (also used in Herbalife’s Formula 1 shake) is not a healthy sweetener. We’ll go into more detail about that below.
The “natural flavors” ingredient is also troublesome. The difference between flavorings listed as “natural” and “artificial” is negligible, and the line between the two is not closely regulated. This makes it easy for companies to list trace molecules as “natural” when they’ve actually been highly processed. In other words, “natural flavors” in your strawberry yogurt doesn’t equal pureed strawberries. It probably means a small chemical from a strawberry has been removed, enhanced, and then added into your food. This isn’t necessarily what’s going on with IsaLean’s shake, but it’s such a grey area with so little official regulation that it’s a yellow flag.
Protein Sources (Core Engine)
IsaLean uses Isagenix’s exclusive Myo-IsaLean Complex™ for protein, which is a combination of undenatured whey protein concentrate, undenatured milk protein concentrate, and low-heat nonfat dry milk. At its simplest, “denaturing” is a term implying the milk and whey have been altered. In the case of IsaLean, they are claiming the process used to create the powder is more careful using lower temperatures in order to preserve more of the original nutrition[ii]. For the lactose intolerant, Isagenix has created a berry-flavored non-dairy option using hemp and pea proteins.
One of IsaLean’s unique features is its high fiber content. At 8 grams per serving, it’s higher than many other meal replacement shakes. Most other shakes have closer to 5 grams of fiber. This is good news, because fiber does a lot to help keep you feeling full for a longer time after eating.
Fiber is a carbohydrate the body can’t easily digest which means it doesn’t cause blood sugar to rise. Fiber fills your stomach, which then sends signals to your brain that you’re full. Another beneficial aspect of fiber is that it keeps digestion moving properly. Since most Americans don’t get enough fiber, (women need about 25 grams a day and men 38 grams[iii]), having this increased amount is a definite plus.
What Are the Sweeteners?
Pure fructose occurs naturally in plants (namely fruit), and table sugar is a combination of 50% fructose and 50% glucose[iv]. The problem with fructose is how our body metabolizes it. The only organ in our body that can handle fructose is the liver, and when we eat too many calories and too much fructose, the liver responds by turning the excess fructose into fat[v]. When we eat fructose straight from the source (raw fruits and vegetables), it isn’t bad for us; it’s when fructose is used as an added sugar (like it is in the IsaLean shake) that it becomes harmful.
Who’s Behind IsaLean?
IsaLean is made by Isagenix, a multi-level marketing company that’s been around since 2002 and has become an international company. The company heavily emphasizes health and using their products to become free from pain.
Fructose is bad news when it comes to health, as it’s known to increase fat around the organs, heart disease, liver disease, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure[vi]. Fructose doesn’t impact your body’s satiety signals as much as other foods, making you feel hungrier and thereby eat more calories.
While the high fiber content is a good thing, since most American diets don’t incorporate enough fiber, a significant increase could cause constipation at first as your body adjusts. To prevent this, be sure to drink lots of water along with your shake and throughout the rest of the day.
How to Contact
The Isagenix website’s Contact page[vii] seems to make it easy to contact the company. An address is listed as 2225 S. Price Road, Chandler, Arizona 85286. Customer Care by phone is available Monday-Friday 6am-7pm and Saturday 6am-2:30pm at 1-877-877-8111. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The page also features a Live Chat option available Monday-Sunday from 8am-10pm.
Does it Work?
The IsaLean shake is a fairly solid shake with fewer problematic ingredients than other comparable options. However, in order to lose weight most effectively, it’s suggested users follow the Isagenix program. This program calls for replacing meals with the shake, eating fewer calories and healthy meals, and also doing “cleanse days” when calories are further restricted while taking a variety of Isagenix supplements. There is some evidence the shakes work but if used alone, there doesn’t seem to be any compelling evidence that makes the IsaLean shake work any “better” than other healthy protein shakes out there.
Protein quality : 8.9/10
24 grams of protein per serving, whey and milk protein
Appetite Suppressant : 7.9/10
8 grams of fiber per serving
Taste : 9.0/10
Value : 6.0/10
$56.00 for a 2-week supply or $3.80 per shake