Garden of Life Raw Fit Review: Does it work?

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Expert rating: 3.3/5

Customer rating: stars-icon voted

Intro: What is it?

Garden of Life Raw Fit is a meal replacement that has only vegan plant based protein added. It’s made for weight loss, blood sugar control, increased energy, and stress management.

This shake is offered in only organic ingredients, and it also has digestive enzymes and probiotics. It’s made for weight loss but is it effective at all? If so, how useful is it? Does it taste good since its plant based protein? Answered in this review are all the questions needed to understand if Garden of Life Raw Fit is truly useful.

Garden of Life Raw Fit Ingredients

There’s 4 proprietary blends mixed together, many of the ingredients that can be organic are:

Sprouted Brown Rice Protein Flax meal High protein cracked-wall chlorella Amaranth Sprout Quinoa Sprout
Millet Sprout Buckwheat Sprout Garbanzo Bean Sprout Lentil Sprout Aszuki Bean Sprout
Flax Seed Sprout Sunflower Seed Sprout Pumpkin Seed Sprout Chia Seed Sprout Sesame Seed Sprout
Vanilla Flavor Stevia Leaf Sea Salt Naturally Decaffeinated Green Coffee Bean Extract Ashwagandha Root
Baobab Fruit Cinnamon Alfalfa Daikon Radish Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Bifidobacterium Lactis Prohydrolase Hemicellulase Xylanase Protease
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Lactobacillus Bulgaricus

 

Some interesting things to note about the ingredients:

Xylanase: Enzyme that breaks down plant ingredients into usable nutrients.

Naturally Decaffeinated Green Coffee Bean Extract: This unroasted coffee bean is added to weight loss supplements for its role in improving metabolism. Some studies have shown no weight loss benefits no matter what the dosage strength. Very few studies have been performed on the overall safety.

Many other enzymes are added which are meant to make this easier to digest, however there’s no need to take them unless prescribed by a physician.

Macronutrients and Calories

Calories 170 Calories From Fat 10 Total Fat 1g, 2% Polyunsaturated Fat <.5g Monounsaturated Fat <.5g
Sodium 25mg, 1% Potassium 180mg, 1% Total Carbohydrate 12g, 4% Dietary Fiber 4g, 16% Soluble Fiber 1g
Insoluble Fiber 3g Sugars <1g Other Carbohydrate 7g Protein 28g, 56% Vitamin A 30%
Vitamin C 4% Vitamin D 250% Vitamin E 100% Vitamin K 100% Calcium 10%
Iron 30% Chromium 100% Magnesium 90%

 

Calories

170 calories are added per serving, this equals 340 calories a day.

The amount of fat can be calculated by the following:

10 calories from fat/170=0.058 times 100= 5.8% fat.

Keeping your calories low is essential in losing weight. It’s considered a unit of energy that when over consumed, turns into fat instead of being used as an energy source. Keep in mind that to burn the 340 calories provided there is extra effort needed on your part, and other brands offer much less calories.

To put it into perspective, a one hour gym session is estimated to burn around 300 calories.

Fiber

There’s a total of 4 grams of fiber, with 3 grams of insoluble and 1 gram soluble.  This comes from the garbanzo beans, lentils, aszuki bean, and other grains.

The Quality of Garden of Life Raw Fit’s protein

Many different protein sources are added into a proprietary blend:

Sprouted Brown Rice Protein:  Low in the essential amino acid Lysine, it’s quickly absorbed and known to cause digestive problems such as diarrhea. Since it’s not a complete source of amino acids, it’s required to supplement with other protein sources.

Flax Meal: Lignans in this seed can produce estrogen like effects.  For this reason it’s recommended not to supplement with this ingredient if you are trying to control hormone changes in the body. There’s also the potential issue of gastrointestinal complication such as lack of vitamin and mineral absorption, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

High Protein Cracked Wall Chlorella: Green algae that have a high amount of protein and nutrients. It’s cracked in order to be better metabolized in the body. One study published in Pub Med showed it can cause severe inflammation. Another study published mentioned it lead to a weakened immune system.  There’s no evidence to suggest this is a superior protein source to other ingredients. Some studies have also shown contaminations with heavy metals that include lead.

There’s several other ingredients mixed into the blend which come from grains, seeds, beans, and legumes.  The reason why there are 15 different protein sources is because otherwise it wouldn’t have all the essential amino acids. More concentrated forms of amino acids are available by simply using ingredients such as whey protein.

Plant based protein is also often high in heavy metals due to the way they’re processed. Taking too many of these ingredients can lead to dangerous side effects such as organ damage.

The Price and Quality of Garden of Life Raw Fit

The price varies depending on where you get it from, the cheapest price online was for $29.31 which provides 10 servings.

So at 2 shakes a day you get 5 servings, to find out the daily price there’s a simply formula:

$29.31 divided by 5= $5.86 a day.

Each canister only lasts a total of 5 days at 2 servings, which is a very small amount at this, is at a high price. Considering there’s a mixture of many different additives to make up for the lack of individual amino acids strength in each plant protein, it would be cheaper to just eat whole foods. Better alternatives are offered for a reduced price.

Another thing that raises the price is the unnecessary addition of 8 different probiotic strains. Probiotics are often pricy and they’re not well processed by the body.

Stress Relief Claims

There’s mention that by using this meal replacement you’ll be able to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.  This will also lead to a reduction of stress based overeating according to the manufacturer.

This is accomplished by the ingredient Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha: Herb traditionally used in Indian Ayurverdic medicine.  It’s considered an effective herb that can reduce stress. It’s been tested and studies show it can help reduce anxiety, as well as stress.

The only issue is that Garden of Life Raw Fit uses 300 mg of Ashwagandha per serving, so at 2 shakes a day you get 600 mg.  According to Examine.com, the optimal dose is separate 3 dosage strength at 6,000 mg a day.

This is considerably higher than the 600 mg that’s added in this meal replacement. It’s unknown if there’s any benefit in just using such a small amount.

Digestive Enzymes

A total of 8 different digestive enzymes are added. These are considered to be useful in improving overall digestion, and according to manufacturers, they improve the metabolism of the surrounding ingredients.

According to WebMD, they’re only used when:

The pancreas cannot make or does not release enough digestive enzymes”

They also add that these enzymes are often only given in extreme cases of people who have cancer in the pancreas or the gut.

Symptoms which may arise if you take these enzymes unnecessarily include nausea, bloating, gas, painful irritations, urination problems, and joint problems.

Also, these probiotics are often expensive and they don’t keep enough to actually be considered useful. Many probiotics blends are added into liquid formulas which only last a few weeks. When added to a meal replacement its unknown if the bacteria will make it far enough without dying. Also, when digested it’s often the case that the healthy benefits are lost due to the stomach acids which dissolve them.

Business

Garden of Life makes this brand as well as other supplements. Their contact information is listed on their official website:

Phone Number: (866)465- 0051

Address: 4200 Northcorp Parkway Suite 200

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410

They’ve been subject of a few controversies:

  • In January 2016, the company recalled their Raw for Life lineup of flavors for contaminations of Salmonella Virchow. This strain of salmonella can lead to diarrhea, nausea, aneurysms, and arthritis. It’s unknown how this happened and it’s unknown what steps are being taken to ensure it won’t happen again. So far the company has listed many different varietals and serving sizes which they advise customers destroy.
  • An independent study into Raw of Life saw elevated levels of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. These types of additives are common in plant based protein blends. The company has said it would work on reducing these potentially dangerous additives.
  • The company did a recall over a vitamin C supplement which was contaminated with soy protein. The company claims that a 3rd party manufacturer produces their items in a facility which produces soy.

Customer Opinions

There are several different reviews available, currently Amazon.com has over 1,ooo customer opinions, listed are the most common type of reviews:

“Gritty texture”

“Serving size is a joke”

“High heavy metal content”

Most people had a problem with the limited amount of product, and the overall taste. A few customers who did research mentioned that they didn’t appreciate the fact there was potentially harmful ingredients such as lead added.

Conclusion

Garden of Life Raw Fit did have a lot of unique things about it such as:

  • The average customer didn’t appreciate the portion size: Each canister only has 10 servings, or 5 if you drink 2 shake a day. This amounts to a high price for such tiny portions which will only last you a short time. Many of the ingredients come at a small fraction than what’s recommended for there to be an effect. For example, Ashwagandha is offered in 600 mg at 2 shakes a day, instead of the recommended 6,000 mg a day for there to be effects. The overall limited ingredient strength and the 10 portion serving size was often criticized by other customers.
  • It’s been tested for elevated levels of lead, and there was even a recall: There was a 2016 recall for this specific meal replacement because of fears over salmonella contamination. It’s unknown how this ever came to be, also there’s no indication by the manufacturrs of what is being done so this won’t happen again. Salmonella contaminations are incredibly serious, and in some people it may require antibiotics.
  • The price is high considering the level of protein: It may look inpressive at first glance to see a high amount of protein sources added. However, all these ingredients are added in order to make up for the lack odf individual amino acids. They’re all mixed together because by themselves they wouldn’t be enough to satisfy as a meal replacement. The problem with these kind of proteins is that they’re often cheaper when purchased in whoel food form. Also, they can produce digestive problems and they’re often not as effective for long term protein synthesis.
  • Many customers didn’t like the taste: The average customer has complained about both the texture and the overall taste of each flavor. Many said it was hard to stomach, and that it reminded them too much of vegetables. It’s hard to stick to a diet if you can’t enjoy what you eat. There are a few reviews from people who tried different combinations with different liquids and fruits, these same people report not being able to make it taste any better.
  • Some of the ingredients aren’t needed: Additives such as digestive ensymes of which there are 8, aren’t neccesary. The only reason why someone would ever need these enzymes is if their body can’t naturally produce them on their own. In this case, it would be advised to seek a physician’s support, since only they can prescribe an accurate dosing. For the average person it’s an unnecessary additive that does nothing but drive up the costs. Another thing to mention is that these strains are not well processed by the body, since by the time you get them they degrade in quality.

Though the company does practice ecofriendly practices, they don’t produce the very best meal replacement. Many customers felt that it’s overpriced and that the flavor wasn’t enjoyable, also there are many unnecessary additives such as enzymes. Plant based protein simply isn’t as good as other sources which provide all the amino acids in just a few ingredients.

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