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Health Guide Review: 3,2/5

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Advocare Shake Review: Does it work?

Intro: What is it?

Advocare shake is a meal replacement shake that claims to provide a balanced mix of both protein and fiber.  It’s available in 4 flavors, Chocolate, Vanilla, Berry, and Chocolate Mocha.

It’s sold in individual pouches and can be mixed with fruit and water. It claims to provide a potent mix of nutrients, vitamins, and easy to digest protein. The supposed benefit is that this shake will help you lose weight. Is it actually effective? To answer this question and more read this review for a through breakdown.

Advocare Shake Ingredients

Here’s a list of the ingredients found inside the Chocolate:

Whey Protein Concentrate Calcium Caseinate Milk Protein Isolate L-Glutamine L-Lysine
L-Leucine L-Isoleuicine L-Valine Crystalline Fructose Dicalcium Phosphate
Potassium Citrate Potassium Chloride Magnesium Oxide Absorbic Acid Choline Bitartrate
Ferrous Fumurate Inositol Vitamin E Acetate Zinc Oxide Niacinamide
Vitamin A Palminate Copper Gluconate Calcium Pantothenate Manganese Sulfate Chromium Citrate
Riboflavin Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Selenomethionine Thiamine Hydrochloride Biotin
Folic Acid Phytonadione Cholecalciferol Sodium Molybdate Potassium Iodide
Cyanocobalamin Dutch Cocoa Processed with Alkali Maltodextrin Gum Arabic Natural Flavors
Artificial Flavors Guar Gum Xanthan Gum MCT Oat Fiber
Cellulose Powder Citrus Pectin Soy Lecithin Sucralose Bromelain
Papain

The added sugar Crystalline Fructose has shown the possibility to cause the following:

  • Increased risk for obesity.
  • Elevated triglycerides.
  • A higher rate of bad LDL cholesterol which can clog the arteries.
  • Cardiovascular diseases.

It’s also one of the sweetest sweeteners available; this means it can lead to unwanted metabolism changes that might make it harder to lose weight.  It’s also known to increase the rate of hunger, and it can harm insulin levels.

Included inside are also digestive enzymes that you don’t really need. According to studies published by WebMD, these additives are only required for those who can’t naturally process digestive enzymes.

Stripped Nutrients

Another ingredient is Dutch Processed Cocoa with Alkali. This form of processing makes it so the powder is milder in taste. Unfortunately it also destroys many of the antioxidants.  According to the physician Michael Greger, this processed cocoa can have as little as half the antioxidants as regular cocoa.

Artificial Flavors

This could have been left out; the only reason why this ingredient is added is because a more wholesome substitute would have cost more. Avoiding Artificial Flavors is best when you’re trying to get a wholesome meal replacement. Under these caloric restrictions your body needs the best ingredients. Without all natural nutrients to provide you with sustenance, there’s the possibility for unwanted side effects.

Artificial Flavors have been known to give certain people hives and other allergic reactions.

Macronutrients and Calories

Calories 220 Calories from Fat 30 Total Fat 3g, 5% Saturated Fat 1g, 5% Cholesterol 40mg, 13%
Sodium 80mg, 3% Potassium 700mg, 20% Carbohydrate 24g, 8% Dietary Fiber 6g, 24% Sugars 12g
Protein 24g Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 50% Iron 20%
Vitamin D 15% Vitamin E 15% Vitamin K 15% Thiamine 15% Riboflavin 40%
Niacin 15% Vitamin B6 15% Folic Acid 15% Vitamin B12 20% Biotin 15%
Pantothenic Acid 15% Phosphorus 30% Iodine 20% Magnesium 40% Zinc 15%
Selenium 15% Copper 20% Manganese 30% Chromium 15% Molybdenum 30%

There’s 220 calories in the chocolate, and 210 for the vanilla. This is an incredibly high amount for a meal replacement. Typically high caloric shakes are offered for bodybuilding types who need extra supplementation. For someone looking to cut weight and not increase in mass, it would make it harder to lose weight than say a 90 calorie meal replacement.

To put this figure in perspective, about 3 filling eggs equals 200 calories. So you’re getting an additional 10 to 20 calories on top of that.

12 grams of sugar are also added which comes from Crystalline Fructose and Maltodextrin, both are processed sweeteners that are often found in unhealthy foods.

Quality of Advocare Shakes Protein

With 24 grams of protein, it all comes from many different sources; the following is their protein blend:

  • Whey Protein Concentrate: An extract of the cheese making process that has between 29% to 89% protein by volume. There’s also a lower level of carbohydrate and fat.
  • Calcium Caseinate: Slow acting protein that’s extracted from skim or 1% fat milk. It has been stripped of lactose, minerals, and fats.
  • Milk Protein Isolate: A mixture of casein and whey, its lactose and sugar is removed to make it easier to digest. However, it can still have trace amounts of milk.
  • L-Glutamine: Amino acid often supplemented with by vegetarians and vegans. It’s not required for most people who get this through natural foods. Many wholesome foods offer enough of it.
  • L-Lysine: Often found in many types of foods such as eggs and beans, this amino acid is often found in sufficient amounts through a regular diet.
  • L-Leucine: The main branch chain amino acids that help retain muscle. Though supplementing with these are not required unless there’s an excess of muscle breakdown, or when fasting.
  • L-Isoleucine: Another branch chain amino acid that’s used to help prevent the breakdown of muscle.
  • L-Valine: Considered the least necessary of the branch chain aminos, it’s not well studied enough and it appears to have no noticeable effect.

Usually a proper meal replacement shake offers all the branch chain amino acids from its whey. The reason why there’s added BCAAS’ is because of the stripping of these aminos. The other forms found in Lysine and Glutamine can be gained simply by eating cheaper food sources.

Calcium Caseinate and Milk Protein Isolate are decent, though not as useful as using just whey. Though there’s whey in Advocare Shake, most of the protein is a blend of other ingredients, so it degrades the quality. The overall quality isn’t impressive even if it’s 24 grams. It’s more important to make sure you get a quality source, and not just look at a high number of proteins.

The price and quality of Advocare Shake

The standard retail price for a box which includes 14 pouches is $44.95.Distributors and advisers get it for cheaper, but this requires signing up to their service or becoming a salesmen for the company.

So at the average price you get:

$44.95 divided by 14= $3.21 a day

It’s fairly pricy when you consider you have to pay $89.99 for around a months’ worth which is exactly 28 days.  For this price you’d expect a better source of protein that doesn’t have Artificial Flavors added. This detracts from the overall quality of the product.

Lack of cited studies

It’s mentioned on the official website that Advocare Shake has the optimum mix of protein and fiber for healthy weight loss .They claim this has been proven through clinical studies.

They never cite these studies so it’s unknown if what they claim is true.  There’s also never mention as to what customers have not experienced, nor is there any before and after photos to prove what the company claims is actually true.

Companies will often mention there are studies out there to prove their claims, but without providing links to them, it may be a flawed or biased study which isn’t useful.

High amounts of sugar

Not only are you going to consume 24 grams of sugar a day if you replace 2 meals, but the quality of the sweeteners added aren’t very useful.

Sucralose does not add much if anything to the amount of sugar, but it’ still a controversial sweetener. Some studies have shown it can cause leukemia in mice.

As mentioned previously, their Crystalline Fructose that makes up a large portion of the sweetener is known to actually prevent weight loss. It also has many other effects, and has been linked to potential cardiovascular damage and even weight gain.

Sugar is added to help give a pleasant taste, but there are nonnutritive sweeteners which are not only safe to eat, but have no insulin spiking effects.

Business

Advocare International LP is a multilevel marketing business that operates out of Texas. They’ve listed their contact information:

Phone Number: (800) 542-4800

Address: 2801 Summit Avenue
Plano, TX 75074

There are over 60,000 people who market and distribute their brands. This strategy has been criticized by people because of the aggressive tactics to win over customers.

They’ve also had a few controversies over the years:

  • They were fined $1.9 million for their trade practices and the way they dealt with distributors. They dealt in fraud and manipulated their business strategies.
  • A supplement that was marketed to children had elevated levels of caffeine which can be harmful. The company decided to pull the marketing for this brand after this fiasco hit.
  • A scientific study into one of Advocares brands revealed it had been contaminated. A former spokesperson for the company was fined for having taken illegal substances which she claimed were provided by Advocare. After denying this accusation it was revealed that she was correct.

Customer Opinions of Advocare Shake

Reviews on websites such as Amazon.com have been mixed:

“Be prepared to be bloated and gassy”

“I add fruit to make the taste better”

“Taste is very hard to choke down”

“yuck!”

Due to the multilevel marketing strategy employed by the company, many distributors admit they work for the company, and they leave behind good reviews. So it inflates the overall value of the brand, and its unknown which of the positive reviews are real.

An average comment from people is from those who complain about the flavor. People mention it’s terrible and does not mix well. There have also been a few customers who have complained about the lack of a quality control. Apparently some of the pouches they bought had been tampered.

Conclusion

Advocare Shake can be best summarized as providing the following:

  • Mixture of different proteins, but with added amino acids to make up for the lack of quality: The reason why you find extra BCAA’s added back into this formula is because of the lacking amount found in their whey. It may seem like you’re getting a good deal since there’s added amino acids, but it really means the protein isn’t as pure as it could be.
  • It’s heavy on the amount of calories: At 220 calories, this amount is usually reserved for meal replacements that bodybuilders get. In fact, it’s over twice the amount of calories you would get from a quality meal replacement. This will require more effort on your part to exercise and burn off these excess calories.
  • There’s 12 grams of potentially harmful sweeteners: The reason why Crystalline Fructose isn’t often included in meal replacements is because it can lead to obesity. Especially at 12 grams, or 24 if you consume 2 a day. This Fructose sugar is actually known to also cause other symptoms related to weight gain such as insulin resistance, increased hunger, diabetes, and elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Included are processed ingredients and Artificial Flavors: These cheap additives are substitutes for other natural ingredients. They’re not as beneficial and they can potentially lead to an allergic reaction. One unfortunate consequence is the lack of nutrients found in their processed cocoa; studies show this version has about 60% less vitamins and minerals than its natural counterpart.
  • The price is very expensive, and many customers have complained about the quality: The most common concern you’ll hear from customers is the bad taste. Many have mentioned it not only doesn’t mix well, and that it doesn’t have a pleasurable taste. The other problem with this brand is that it will cost you $89.99 for under a month’s supply. At this price you would expect overall quality; however, this brand has too many unnecessary additives that prevent it from being one of the best.

Overall the price of this brand does not reflect its quality, it’s been poorly reviewed and the protein source is lacking. There are lower calorie, all natural alternative meal replacements that are much better for you.

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