Kai Meal Replacement shake Review: Does it work?

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Expert rating: 2.7/5

Customer rating: stars-icon voted

Intro: What is it?

Kai Meal Replacement shake is meant to prevent hunger, provide high protein, and it’s mixed into what claims to be an easy to process protein source. There’s mention that you’ll to able to promote lean muscle growth recovery at a rate greater than the competitors.

It’s currently available in both plant based protein and in whey protein. It’s made without GMO ingredients and features only natural ingredients. It claims to provide enzymes and a higher amino acid profile than other meal replacements. They claim a 4 times increase of protein absorption than other meal replacements. So is this actually true? What kind of results can you expect from Kai Meal Replacement shake? This full review provides all the information needed to make a decision on this shake.

Kai Meal Replacement Ingredients

Here are the Whey Vanilla ingredients:

Whey Protein Concentrate Non Fat Dry Milk Chia Natural IsoMalto Oligosaccharide Tagotose
Stevia Extract Monk Fruit Extract Natural Flavor Sunflower Oil Maltodextrin
Sodium Caseinate Mono & Diglycerides with Citric Acid Tocopherols Tri-Calcium Phosphate Natural Flavor
55 Organic Non-GMO Superfood Blend Guar Gum Xanthan Gum Carrageenan Retinyl Palminate
Cholecalciferol dl-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate D-Biotin Folic Acid Niacinamide
Calcium Pantothenic Acid Thiamin HCL Cyanocobalamin Riboflavin
Pyridoxine HCL Ascorbic Acid Tricalcium Phosphate Chromium Chloride Potassium Iodide
Magnesium Oxide Manganese Sulfate Sodium Molybdate Sodium Selenate Zinc Oxide
Endohydrolicpeptidase

Some important ingredients to look out for:

Mono and Diglycerides: An emulsifier which helps fats and water mix together well. According to Live Strong.com, this ingredient:

may contain trans fats”

Usually a product has to list exactly the amount of trans fats due to FDA laws; however this ingredient is the exception:

“even though mono- and Diglycerides may contain trans-fatty acids, (sic) they don’t have to be listed”

Limiting trans fats is important in order to reduce the risk for cardiovascular damage and artery clogging.

Carrageenan: Edible seaweed that is used as a thickener in processed foods.  Multiple studies have listed possible side effects one may experience from this additive. NCBI listed their clinical findings which showed:

Inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal malignancy”

“direct toxic effects”

There have been reports of it causing cancer as well.

Guar Gum: Processed guar beans added to help provide thickening and to act as a fiber source.  The FDA requires companies to list their warning label for this ingredient mentioning it may cause a choking hazard. It’s known to potentially clog the throat and intestines.

Xanthan Gum: Commonly added thickener found in processed foods.  Web MD mentions it may lead to:

flu-like symptoms, nose and throat irritation, and lung problems”

Sodium Selenate: A selenium supplement that is often found in pesticides and as a fungicide. It is potentially toxic when swallowed or inhaled. Large amounts can cause problematic effects to the lung, liver, and kidneys.  Other possible side effects may include hair loss, upset digestive tract, fatigue, and nerve damage.

Endohydrolyicpeptidase: I couldn’t find any research about this ingredient. When putting into a Google search it’s only featured on the Kai website. It’s unknown what this ingredient does.

Peptides are found in protein, but it’s unknown if this ingredient is an extract of amino acids.

Macronutrients and Calories

Calories 290 Calories From Fat 50 Total Fat 6g, 9% Saturated Fat 1.5g, 8% Cholesterol 55MG, 18%
Sodium 100mg, 4% Total Carbohydrates 34g, 11% Dietary Fiber 17g, 67% Sugars 9g Protein 25g
Vitamin A 60% Vitamin C 50% Calcium 40% Iron 6% Vitamin D 110%
Vitamin E 50% Thiamin 100% Riboflavin 100% Niacin 100% Vitamin B6 100%
Folate 100% Vitamin B12 100% Biotin 50% Pantothenic Acid 100% Iodine 25%
Magnesium 15% Zinc 25% Selenium 25% Manganese 25% Chromium 25%
Molybdenum 25%

 Calories

Of the high amount of 290 calories, 50 of them come from fat. This means the total fat is:

50/290= 0.17 times 100= 17% fat per serving.

This brand is also incredibly high on calories. Usually only mass builders have more than 200 calories per serving.

It’s estimated that a common one hour gym session burns around 300 calories. So on top of having to introduce daily exercise, at 2 shakes a day you’re getting 380 calories. This high amount can be difficult to burn.

Sugar

The 9 grams of sugar come in at 18 at 2 shakes a day.

This high amount of sugar is not optimal when looking to lose weight. Sugar has been linked to cardiovascular damage and increased risk for obesity related illnesses.

Fiber

There’s a total of 17 grams of fiber.  Web MD mentions the daily intake should be:

Men: 38 grams a day.

Women: 25 grams a day.

So 2 shakes provides 34 grams, which surpasses the required amount for women by 9 grams. Too much fiber can lead to stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

The Quality of Kai Meal Replacements protein

For the whey blend there’s 25 grams of the following:

Whey Protein Concentrate: A 29% to 89% protein source which is cheaper than whey isolate.  It also has less lactose than isolates.

Non Fat Dry Milk: At least 50% milk solids that have been evaporated. This form of milk is defatted, which studies show may actually increase weight gain since it’s not as filling.  Penn State also showed it could lead to altered cholesterol. According to studies:

oxidized cholesterol triggers a host of biological changes, leading to plaque formation”

The same study mentioned it’s unknown how much of it would be considered safe.

Chia: A seed providing between 15% to 25% protein by weight. It has been shown by Live Strong.com that the:

digestibility of chia protein is very low.”

Therefore the protein isn’t well processed by the body.

The protein is intended to be highly more absorbent than other meal replacements. However, both chai seed and nonfat dry milk have been shown to be potentially harmful. They also fail to add whey protein isolate, which is a higher protein source than concentrate.

The Price and Quality of Kai Meal Replacement

A 2 pound canister has 14 servings, and the brand is available through the manufacturers for $49.99. Therefore the daily price is:

$49.99/ 7= $7.14 for 2 shakes a day.

It’s considerably pricier than most meal replacements. Though it claims to provide a higher quality protein, 2 of the 3 aren’t as beneficial for optimal muscle growth. The other whey protein concentrate isn’t as beneficial then when it’s added next to isolates.

Also, many of the additives are known to cause side effects, and the fiber might cause digestive issues.

Use of 55 fermented super foods

There are 55 non-GMO fermented ingredients meant to preserve and add to the strength of the nutrients.  This includes ingredients such as carrot, papaya, sweet potato, and much more.

Though the brand mentions it’s processed in way that keeps the nutritional density, this isn’t true since the company reads vitamins and minerals.

The same type of nutrients such as vitamin A is reintroduced into Kai Meal Replacement. This means that it wouldn’t be enough to just add the super foods, since their nutritional profile has been reduced.

Carrots for example have around 167% vitamin C at just 50 grams, this brand has only 60% vitamin A. Including the various other ingredients that are high in this nutrient, it would also produce a greater amount had it not been processed. Therefore, the nutritional profile of this super food mix is inflated, since it’s not represented in micronutrients.

Better than the Competitors claim

According to the manufacturers, they tested Kai Meal Replacement against what the companies claims are the top brands found:

between the months of July 2014 and April 2015”

Though they never list the names of any of these brands. Without knowing this important detail, it’s unknown if the intended protein absorption benefits are true. Without being able to look at the ingredient listing of the competitors, it’s unknown if the brands they compared themselves to are actually any good.

They do add that they feature higher amounts of protein and fiber. However, a more important thing to compare is the quality of the protein and fiber. This brand doesn’t have the optimal mix of whey proteins, and their fiber comes from common ingredients used to thicken processed foods.

Business

Silver Fern Brand makes this product and they can be reached below:

Phone Number: (888) 525-9605

Address: 510 South 200 West Suite #200

Salt Lake City, Utah 84075

Returns can only be made within 30 days for unopened packages, and this comes with a 5% restocking fee and shipping costs.

There wasn’t any other available information on how the company treats its customers.

Customer Opinions

There were just a few reviews available online, her ear some featured on Amazon.com:

“Couldn’t tolerate taste”

“Tastes awful”

“Couldn’t stomach the taste”

“Does not mix well”

There aren’t many reviews available, but from what’s available it appears there was a low tolerance for the taste. The company unfortunately only offers returns on unopened products, therefore any and all complaints felt have to be dealt with only by the customer.

Conclusion

Many key points need to be considered about Kai Meal Replacement:

  • The quality of protein isn’t as good as it could be: Chia protein has not been shown to be well digested by the body, which goes against the claims of digestibility made by the company, Nonfat dry milk is also a cheap ingredient which has been shown to potentially increase weight, and cause damage to health. The only quality protein comes from whey concentrate, though it would be much better had it been mixed alongside whey isolate. There are better sources of protein available, and this price is expensive for the 3 tiered protein blends which aren’t as useful as it could be.
  • Some of the ingredients have lost their nutritional profile: The added super food blend has a lot of impressive ingredients, though they’ve been processed in a way that the nutrients have been lost. Even just one small portion of the ingredients added would regularly provide much more nutrition than the supplements facts list provides. This means that although the company mentions their super food blend retains their nutrients, it must then mean they only add tiny portions which have no effect.
  • It’s compared against unknown competitors: The company features a graph comparing itself to 7 other meal replacements. It’s never revealed exactly who these groups are. Without knowing who they’re comparing themselves to, it’s unknown if the competitors are actually any decent. One flaw in this comparison is the amount of protein and fiber. Quality of these ingredients is most important, since not all fiber is wholesome, and not all protein is well absorbed. For example, the chai protein added in this mix is not processed properly by the body.
  • The fiber added is from a cheap source: The common thickeners such as xanthan gum, carrageenan, and guar gum are often found in processed foods. They’re cheap to make and they have been shown to produce side effects, especially in large quantities. This brand offers a high 17 grams of fiber, which at 2 servings a day would greatly surpass what is needed as a maximum for women. This high amount has been linked to intestinal issues. Also, the quality of the fiber is low, and studies have shown these additives can promote choking and loss of vitamins and minerals.
  • Some of the additives have shown potential side effects: The fiber has been shown to potentially cause choking and mineral loss, the protein may potentially cause oxidative damage, and other ingredients such as carrageenan have been linked to metabolism disorders. The high amounts of sugar may potentially make weight loss more difficult. All together it’s unknown what kind of total effect may be felt. Some of these ingredients have shown the possibility of causing serious side effects.

The lack of protein quality, poor use of common fibers, and the rate of sugar and fiber can potentially cause problems. The brand has also faced complaints for being difficult to drink according to customers. It’s also one of the priciest meal replacements per serving.

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