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Health Guide Review: 2,7/5

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Usana Nutrimeal shake Review: Does it work?

Intro: What is it?

Usana Nutrimeal shake is a meal replacement available in both large pouches and single serve packages. The product is free of any GMO protein, and it’s gluten free as well.

It’s also made specifically as a low glycemic alternative to full meals. It only features Soy protein and the company claims it’s beneficial for overall health. Does this shake have the quality of a proper meal replacement? How useful is it for weight loss? This full review answers these questions to figure out if Usana Nutrimeal is worth the investment.

Usana Nutrimeal Ingredients

Here is the French Vanilla flavor ingredients:

Soy Protein Isolate Crystalline Fructose High Oleic Sunflower Oil Maltodextrin Soy Fiber
Cane Fiber Oligofructose Gum Arabic Xanthan Gum Organic Agave Inulin
Cellulose Gum Natural Flavors Prune Powder Prune Calcium Sterate
Potassium Phosphate Calcium Carbonate Sodium Caseinate Magnesium Oxide Soy Lecithin
Sea Salt Zinc Glunate Ascorbic Acid Ferrous Fumurate D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate
Vitamin A Palminate Niacinamide Cholecalciferol Folic Acid Cyanocobalamin
Pyridocine Hydrochloride Riboflavin Potassium Iodide Thiamin Hydrochloride

Special consideration has to be paid for some of the ingredients:

Calcium Carbonate: A calcium supplement that makes up things like eggshells and the shells of marine life. High levels of this can cause milk-alkali syndrome, which means there’s excess calcium in the blood. This can promote renal failure, kidney failure, and even death. Usually this ingredient is given in specific dosages in order to prevent potential side effects.

Cholecalciferol: Vitamin D3 which is also used as a poison for rodents. It’s known to lead to renal failure, heart attacks, and hypertension. It’s also potentially fatal to cats and dogs.

Niacinamide: Niacin supplement which can be toxic to the liver. It’s also possible for it to cause rash, itchy skin, and burning.

Macronutrients and Calories

Calories 240 Calories From Fat 70 Total Fat 7g, 11% Saturated Fat 1g, 5% Sodium 320mg, 13%
Potassium 460mg, 13% Total Carbohydrate 33g, 11% Dietary Fiber 8g, 32% Soluble Fiber 3g Insoluble Fiber 5g
Sugars 18g Protein 15g Vitamin A 15% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 30%
Iron 30% Vitamin D 25% Vitamin E 15% Thiamin 20% Riboflavin 255
Niacin  15% Vitamin B6 20% Folate 20% Vitamin B12 8% Phosphorus 30%
Iodine 25% Magnesium 25% Zinc 25% Copper 10% Manganese 8%
Molybdenum 20%

 Calories

There’s 240 calories of which 70 are from fat. This is a high amount of calories considering it’s meant to help you lose weight. There’s a lot more effort required on the customers part to burn off these calories.

It takes around 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat. Therefore it’s important to limit your caloric consumption as much as possible.

The total fat content can be found via a simple formula:

70 calories from fat divided by 240= 0.29 times 100= 29% fat per serving.

The FDA lists any food 20% or above as being high fat and this shake far surpasses that limit. Usually Soy Protein Isolate is defatted, so it’s unknown exactly where this fat comes from.

Fiber

There’s plenty of fiber added here at 8 grams, however, quality is just as important. Some companies add fillers and cheap processed binders to their fiber formulas. The fiber used in this brand includes:

Cellulose Gum: Thickener found in processed foods.  Nature’s International Weekly Journal of Science performed a study on mice. According to the results, Cellulose Gum was responsible for:

low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome”

In other words, this means it causes damage and can lead to an increased risk for obesity. This cheap thickener is not required and the company claims it’s part of their potent fiber blend.

Acacia Gum: Thicken extracted from the acacia tree. Possible side effects include loose stools, nausea, and stomach pain. It’s also known to potentially cause indigestion as well as a loss of vitamins and minerals.

Xanthan Gum: Food thickener that is often found in processed foods. This additive can be extracted from numerous things including common allergens such as wheat, dairy, corn, or soy. It can promote choking if you don’t drink enough water. Other side effects include diarrhea and bloating.

The Quality of Usana Nutrimeal’s protein

All 15 grams of protein come from once source:

Soy Protein Isolate: At minimum a 90% protein by weight additive. The company mentions their soy isn’t GMO. There’s major controversy over the use of soy as a primary protein source, since studies show it may cause side effects.

A thorough study on Pub Med which focused on phytoestrogens showed it could lead to:

“malformations in the ovary, uterus, mammary gland and prostate, early puberty, reduced fertility”

The same study showed an increase risk for reproductive tract cancer.

Everyday Health.com also showed that taking soy can lead to:

thyroid issues in healthy adult men and women”

“decreased sperm count and sexual side effects in mice”

Soy also has Trypsin which is known to block the healthy absorption of protein. Since all the protein comes from soy, there’s a potential risk for all the mentioned side effects.

The Price and Quality of Usana Nutrimeal

The largest bag contains 9 servings for $34.05, at 2 shakes a day the total price is:

$34.05/9= $3.78 times 2-= $7.56 a day for 2 shakes.

Considerably pricy considering the processed fiber sources and the lack of quality protein added.  There’s also a potential risk factor for obesity due to the higher than average amount of sugar.

High amounts of Sugar

The 18 grams of sugar comes from one source:

Crystalline Fructose: A 100% fructose sweetener that’s extracted from corn, likely GMO corn unless otherwise stated.  Studies show this sweeter is linked to:

high rates of diabetes and obesity.”

The Kansas City Medical Center performed a clinical study which showed that consuming more than 25 grams of Fructose can lead to:

“gastrointestinal distress, including stomach pain and diarrhea”

2 shakes of Usana Nutrimeal provides 36 grams of sugar, far surpassing the recommended 25 grams limit to prevent side effects.

The American Heart Association has also set their own standards for avoiding heart disease and an increased risk for obesity. According to them, the daily limit should be:

Men: 9 teaspoons a day.

Women: 6 teaspoons a day.

2 shakes a day provides 9 teaspoons of sugar, meeting the men’s limit and passing the women’s by 3 full teaspoons. This means for men you aren’t allowed to eat any other sugar sources, and this includes fruits.

There’s exactly 4 calories per gram of sugar. To determine the amount of sugar in this brand you multiple by 4, so 18 grams of sugar means Usana Nutrimeal provides 72% sugar. This is much higher than any other meal replacement available. High amounts of sugar has also been linked to addiction.

The Way to Weight Loss

The company sells a full nutritional package along with advice it claims will lead to weight loss.

It’s unknown what kind of benefit Usana Nutrimeal shakes have on their own, since the company spends a lot of time claiming that the way to weight loss is through their prepackaged meals.

These foods are said to be specialized by a nutrition specialist named Dr. Ray Strand. Although he is a doctor, he does not specialize in nutrition. He’s a family practitioner, which is a general field of medicine.

Business

USANA Health Sciences is a global company that operates a multilevel marketing strategy. This has been criticized by many as being a potential fraud that some refer to as a pyramid scheme. You can reach their US customer service below:

Phone Number: (888) 950- 9595

Address: 3838 West Parkway Boulevard

Salt Lake City, Utah 84120

Email: customerservice@USANA.COM

They have had a history of controversies:

  • A statistician in New Zealand who specializes in pyramid schemes claimed this company is likely to operate illegally. This was testified in court after an investigation went into the company.
  • A massive lawsuit was filed against the company after a 500 page investigation was sent to the FBI, SEC, and IRS, alleging the group operates a pyramid scheme. The company countersued only to be dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

Customer Opinions

There’s only a few reviews available on Amazon.com:

“Toxic sugar not natural”

“not so happy about the taste”

“just don’t like the way it tastes”

“ok”

I didn’t find any reports of weight loss; the main complaint was due to the taste and consistency.  There are very few opinions available however, so it’s difficult to understand what the average consensus is. From the small variety of customers, it’s been noted how taste is a big flaw.

Conclusion

Some important facts to look at:

  • The quality of protein is lacking: All the protein comes from soy. This ingredient has a controversial history due to the numerous clinical studies which show it’s potentially dangerous. There are reports of it causing estrogen production, damage to the thyroid, blocking of protein, and reproductive damage. It’s also known to cause allergies in certain people. Soy is considered to be one of the most estrogen forming ingredients available according to some.
  • There’s a higher than normal amount of sugar: A full 72% of this shake is from sugar. 2 shakes a day will provide you with the maximum allowed limit you can have as a man, and it passes the limit set forth by women. It’s also potentially damaging to cardiovascular health, and there’s major concern over the possibility of increasing weight. Limiting sugar is important for overall health since it’s known to be potentially damaging. Also, the added sugar comes from fructose, which is considered one of the worst sweeteners. 36 grams of Crystalline Fructose are added which is considerably higher than most meal replacements.
  • Much of the fiber comes from processed additives: Some of these ingredients like Cellulose Gum have been shown to cause metabolism disorders and obesity in mice. The company touts its fiber blend as being beneficial, however Acacia Gum and Xanthan Gum are commonly found in processed foods. They’re also known to be extracted from many common allergens, and there’s a potential for choking as well. None of these fiber blends are at all as wholesome as natural whole foods fiber. They’re also known to cause potential side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.  Considering the high price for this shake, it doesn’t reflect the value you’re getting.
  • A high amount of calories are provided per serving: 2 shakes has 480 calories, this is much higher than what other meal replacements offer. Usually this high amount of calories is reserved for what’s considered a bulking or mass builder. It takes approximately one hour in the gym just to burn 300 calories, and it takes 3500 calories burned to lose one pound. Taking this excess amount of calories can make it potentially harder to lose weight. It’s also largely from sugar, since 78% of this shake is simple fructose sugar. This can also make it harder to lose weight.
  • Some of the ingredients can cause side effects: The processed binders, Calcium, Vitamin D3, and much more have been shown to cause serious problems. Some complications which may arise includes increase risk for obesity, cardiovascular damage, damage to the internal organs, stomach pain, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, and much more. The reason why all this is possible is because the added ingredients come from cheap extracts which aren’t as wholesome as other alternatives. These ingredients are recommended to be limited according to clinical studies. Some of this additive require specific dosing in order to prevent taking excess amounts.

The lack of positive reviews and the overall concern over the ingredients is an issue with Usana Nutrimeal. There’s also an incredibly high amount of sugar, and a low quality protein added. It’s considerably more expensive than what it should be when you consider all the ingredients added. Also, there’s a lot of marketing which makes the brand seem better, however it’s full of common additives that run of the mill meal replacements have.

 

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