Vi-shake by ViSalus Review: Does it work?

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Expert rating: 2.6/5

Customer rating: stars-icon voted

Intro: What is it?

Vi-Shake is a meal replacement shake which they claim, “tastes like cake batter”.  They even offer a short video which explains the entire manufacturing process. According to the video, a scientific advisory board selected ingredients across the world.

Let’s discover if it truly has any weight loss benefit.


Vi-Shake Ingredients

Soy Protein Isolate Digestive Resistant Maltodextrin Whey Protein Hydrolysate Di Calcium Phosphate
Sunflower Oil Artificial Flavor Natural Flavor Whey Protein Concentrate
DiMagnesium Phosphate Magnesium Oxide Medium Chain Triglycerides Maltodextrin
Gum Arabic Xanthan Gum Sodium Caseinate Soy Lecithin
Mono and Diglycerides Patented Protease DiPotassium Phosphate Sucralose
Absorbic Acid Vitamin E Acetate Chromium Amino Acid Chelate Molybdenum Amino Acid Chelate

 The official video explaining Vi-Shake claims scientists went around the world to find the right ingredients. This claim is confusing when you consider the ingredients such as Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Mono and Diglycerides, and others.

According to the Center for Science of The Public Interest, a study showed Sucralose caused leukemia in rats.

Artificial flavors can come from unnatural chemicals, and Mono and Diglycerides are often extracted from animal fats.

There’s no evidence that suggests any of these ingredients come from natural places around the world.

Featured here is the list of micronutrients and calories:

90 Calories, 10 from fat 1 gram of fat
Cholesterol 15 mg, 5% Sodium 75 mg, 3%
Potassium 125 mg, 4% Carbohydrate 7 g, 2%
Dietary Fiber 5 g, 22% Sugars, less than 1 gram
Protein 12 grams, 24% O grams Saturated and Trans Fat

 

The value of the macronutrients is standard for most meal replacement shakes. There isn’t anything new added to the mix. It’s also important to add that although the company proudly claims it has less than a gram of sugar, this comes from Sucralose which one study showed it caused damage to rats.

The form of fiber added comes from Fibersol, which is also known as resistant maltodextrin. The benefits of this fiber source are many:

  • It’s low on the glycemic index, in fact it ranks as having less than 5 points on this scale.
  • It mixes well into shakes.
  • It’s less likely to cause gas and bloating.
  • It can help you reduce fat and calories.
  • Helps promote healthy cholesterol and triglycerides.

There’s also no trans-fat, which is common for any shake which isn’t processed with hydrogenated oils. The benefit of not having these kinds of fat is that trans-fat have been shown to increase the rate of heart disease.

As far as all the vitamins added, there’s 30% of each of the following:

  • Vitamin A, C, D, K, E.
  • Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Biotin, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iodide, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, Molybdenum.

The only non 30% vitamin or mineral is iron, there’s 5% of this. The reason for this is because iron is found in many types of foods from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and meats.

The Quality of Vi-shake’s protein

The company mentions it has a Tri-Sorb formula, which basically means there’s 3 different forms of protein added.

Since the first ingredient listed in the supplements fact is Soy Protein Isolate, this means the majority of the protein is soy based.

There’s 12 grams of protein which is good, but the fact that it’s mostly soy means you’re not getting your money’s worth.

The problems of soy:

  • According to the USDA, 94% is genetically modified.
  • The US National Library of Science claims soy has “endocrine disrupting compounds. This means it can harm hormones which are needed to lose weight, and for the body to function correctly.
  • Another study published by the US National Library of Science mentions soy can produce estrogen, and one study found it produced erectile dysfunction. This same study saw a rise in what’s called Hypogonadism, or a reduced level of testosterone.
  • Soy is one of the cheapest protein sources, so there’s no reason to have to pay a lot of money for it.

There’s a pamphlet by the company which claims soy may reduce the risk for certain diseases. Studies published on Pub Med mention the following truth about soy and diseases:

“High isoflavone intake, in combination with iodine deficiency, has been associated with decreased thyroid function”

Multiple warnings are available from WebMD:

 “high levels of phytoestrogens can be toxic”

“Some research finds that soy might “feed” certain breast cancers”

“might increase the risk of kidney stones”

“might increase the chance of getting bladder cancer”

There are also other risks which go against the companies claims that soy can potentially decrease illnesses.

As far as the other protein sources, whey protein hydrolysate and whey protein concentrate are only the 3rd and 4th ingredient found in the supplements facts list. So of the 12 grams of protein, the majority of it is soy based.

The Price and Quality of Vi-Shake

A 30 serving pouch costs $49.99, it’s recommended to get 2 scoops for weight loss, and 1 for weight management.

So at the maximum portion recommended:

  • 30(serving size) divided by 2 servings a day= 15 days’ worth for each bag.
  • $49.99 divided by 15= $3.32 a day.

The problem with the price of Vi-Shake is that you’re paying for an artificially flavored shake that’s high in cheap soy protein.

To put that into perspective, the highest rated non GMO soy brand on Amazon costs $16.78 for 37 servings. This amounts to $2.20 a day. Considerably lower than Vi-shake.

There are other nutrients added in Vi-shake, but with additives like Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, and Mono and Diglycerides, you end up paying for unnecessary ingredients

Vi-Salus Challenges

They currently have a series of challenges for customers who use their supplements. They claim these programs have helped over 3 million people lose weight. They even say it’s the number one weight loss and fitness challenge in North America.

It consists of a 10 pound loss test, 90 day fitness goal, and 12 months of weight management. There are prizes given depending on the amount of work you put in. Of course, this all benefits the company since it’s free promotion for them.

Also, the amount of weight you lose depends on the effort each person puts in, and not on any special treatment or advice given by the company.

ViSalus Scientific Advisory Board

Not only does this company use a group of scientists, but there are also many different physicians which recommend these shakes.

The problem is that only one of them deals with nutrition.

On the head of the advisory board is Dr. Michael D. Seidman, a doctor of Otolaryngology, which means he studies the ear, nose, and throat.

Others who are supposed to be certified health advisors who recommend Vi-shake are included in the following list:

Chiropractors: Dr. Michelle Craft, Dr. Dustin Craft, Mandy Alexander.

Dentist: Dr. Chris Crawford.

Nurse Practitioner: Christa Zenoski

Gynecologist: Dr. Paul Wehrem.

Steven A. Witherly is the only one who is certified to know anything about nutrition, but since he’s earning a profit off sales, there’s a potential for bias.

In one free 20 minute video available on YouTube called “The Science Behind Vi-shake”, Dr. Dustin Craft makes a controversial statement about estrogen. According to him, the estrogen found in Vi-shake doesn’t cause health problems, and that it’s good for pregnant women.

According to WebMD, the current science proves this is not true:

high doses might cause abnormal tissue growth in the uterus”  

“Higher doses during pregnancy might harm development of the baby”

The reason why it’s important to find out the credentials of these people is because a chiropractor representing ViSalus claimed soy was good for women, and this hasn’t been proven.

One controversial quote by the co-founder of ViSalus Blake Mallen was in reference to why people should trust the scientific board:

“You don’t need to know the science, just trust they know the science”

This kind of reasoning isn’t helpful or recommended, you should know the science since it proves and disproves potentially harmful claims like soy is good for pregnant women.

Controversial History

Two co-founders of the company were taken to Federal court for allegedly violating the RICO act.  This law makes it so more penalties are fined against those who are a part of a criminal organization. According to the lawsuit:

  • It’s alleged they engaged in computer hacking, espionage, theft, intimidation and threats.
  • Two private investigators hired by ViSalus to hack sensitive computer information plead guilty to all charges. They will face 1 to 3 years in Federal prison, and other representatives for ViSalus are still in court proceedings.

What’s Unique?

In one of their pamphlets they mention all the benefits of using their brands in comparison to others.

There’s added digestive enzymes known as Protease added to the shakes. These are meant to improve the overall digestion of the product. The truth is unless you have a medical condition; it’s not required to supplement with additional digestive enzymes.

The FDA has also not approved these enzymes as being either safe or effective.

They’re often only given to people whose pancreas can no longer make it in safe amounts.  It may seem like there’s no harm in adding this ingredient, but there’s the possibility for the following side effects:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Joint pain.

It’s recommended to seek immediate help if you experience any dizziness, rashes, swelling, or difficulty breathing. This may mean you’re experiencing an allergic reaction.

This shake is also gluten free and claims to have “bone healthy calcium”. However many brands also offer calcium and are free of gluten as well.

If you’re someone who works out, it’s recommended to supplement right after exercise to fuel your body. Any high protein food can be taken after a workout. What’s important is to get the right kind of protein.

Their patented digestive enzyme s official trademark name is Aminogen. It’s very difficult to get any information about this product, and only one website mentions exactly what it is:

Aminogen- A mixture of Aspergillus Niger and Aspergillus Oryzae.  Both are molds which are usually added to foods to help them ferment. Aspergillus Niger has been linked to deaths in people, and it’s often found in autopsy reports from people who die from lung and bronchial failure. It’s known as an aggressive additive that can make diseases stronger. It’s also a contaminant that destroys foods such as grapes, peanuts, and onions.

This might explain why the company does a poor job of explaining exactly what this ingredient does. All that’s offered is a brief explanation that it will help you “synthesize protein better”.

The ViSalus Business

They operate a MLM, or multi-level marketing strategy. This basically means anyone can buy their products in bulk and then sell them for “Vi Points”. The more people they recruit, the more the first recruiters at the top get back points and commission.

According to an expose by the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation, ViSalus is:

promising everything to the desperate and gullible, if only they buy in.”

Also, a CNBC reporter named Herb Greenberg declared ViSalus is:

“close to being a pyramid scheme.”

The FTC has warned people to be careful of doing business with companies who run MLM strategies, since there’s risk of it being a scam.

The company mentions you can “live like a celebrity” if you get enough points. You exchange these “Vi Points” for:

  • Free ViSalus products.
  • Exclusive access to parties.
  • BMW’S.
  • Travel and accommodations.
  • Essentially the more people you recruit will increase the amount of prizes and money you can win. If someone you recruited gains more clients, then you end up getting some of that commission.

This practice benefits the people at the top since the money trickles down.  Most of the ViSalus website focuses on trying to recruit people to sell their supplements.

Customer Opinions

It’s hard to know which of the reviews offered by people are legitimate, because customer representatives have joined together to leave fake reviews.

On any message board, independent review website, and other forums, representatives for the company will quickly rush in to defend the company. The reason for this is because anyone can sell their brands. People who work for them get a commission and earn extra points based off how many others they can recruit.

Many distributors sell this shake on their Amazon.com page. There are currently 145 critical reviews against not just the product, but the company:

  1. There are concerns over the overly positive reviews. Some legitimate customers claim most of the opinions left are from representatives.
  2. Many mention that the whole operation is a scam. Those who make this claim say they’ve tried to get a refund but weren’t able. They would have back and forth conversations and emails which led to no refund.

Since some representatives do leave behind fake reviews, it’s impossible to know what’s real.

Furthermore, there are many different negative reviews on websites like ScamBook.com, RipOffReport.com, the Better Business Bureau, and many others.

Conclusion

The intended benefit is not just to help you lose weight, but also to prevent you from losing muscle mass. The way this shake is supposed help you with this, is by giving your body 3 different kinds of protein which provide fast and slow acting amino acids.

The problem comes from the kind of protein that’s used; the number one source is soy, this has had multiple studies showing it’s potentially unsafe and ineffective.

The company uses some clever marketing, but the official website is focused more on recruiting people then it is about selling a quality meal replacement.

There are several things about it that are important to know about Vi-shake:

  • The amounts of protein, fiber, calories, carbohydrates, and calories are all fairly standard for most shake brands.
  • You can mix it with water as a snack. Milk can be used to replace a full meal.
  • For weight loss it’s recommended to replace 2 meals a day.
  • The main source of protein is soy.
  • There’s digestive enzymes added which aren’t necessary unless you have a medical condition.
  • Contrary to the claims made by the company, most studies show soy is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, and it can also cause dangerous side effects.
  • It’s hard to get a real positive customer review, since the people who sell this get a commission off each sale they make. Many people representing the company will say this product works, and then they will offer a referral code so they earn money of the amount of ViSalus products you buy.

The biggest claim made by the company is that Vi-shake has what your body needs for weight loss without losing muscle. Nothing provided by this company suggests this is guaranteed. It’s a fairly average, unremarkable meal replacement shake. The main reason why this company became popular is because it relies on self-motivated people that want to make a profit.

These people run aggressive campaigns and claim they will help others make a profit. The majority focus for ViSalus is to find more recruiters so people at the top can make more money. 

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