3 Long-Term Side Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes
3 Long-Term Side Effects of Meal Replacement Shakes
As many of you know, my wife Adrienne and I were distributors for Herbalife Nutrition from 2012-2016. For those that aren't familiar with the name, Herbalife is a multi-level marketing company that specializes in the distribution of nutritional supplements. They, similar to Advocare, Thrive, Beachbody, and more are most known for their meal replacement shakes and various supplements that help promote weight loss.
Once we left the company due to personal and professional disagreements, I would go on to expand my education and become a certified Nutrition Coach, Mental Health Specialist as well as a Hormone & Thyroid Specialist within the industry. Needless to say, the true experts in the field of nutrition and wellness such as my mentor Jason Phillips, Layne Norton, Alan Aragon and others, truly opened my eyes to just how complicated the human body is, thus why every human-being needs (and deserves) a wellness protocol tailored to them specifically.
***Pause! Before I continue, let me clearly explain this won't be your typical blog about health and bodily related side-effects from drinking meal replacement shakes. There have been numerous clinical studies that have been conducted, specifically on Herbalife, that reveals the potential damaging effects they have on individuals. I'll link those below for those interested in learning physical effects shakes have on the human body. This will be a more non-traditional side effect listing that will reveal to you how these companies and shakes in general have a negative effect on your overall lifestyle and mental health. Now, let's continue...***
Upon receiving such eye-opening education, I started to slowly notice how manipulative these shake or (multi level marketing) companies truly are. Now, before I continue, I fully understand by writing this that there will be 2 very distinct type of individuals that read this...there will be those that search this topic in Google and come to this with a completely un-biased point of view with the sole intention to learn more about meal replacement shakes and whether they would be truly beneficial to add into their daily regimens. Then, there will be those that are inside the industry and are active distributors or "coaches" for one of these popular companies. They might get halfway through reading this before they exit out or leave a hateful comment because how dare I write something negative and so thought-provoking about the company they love and make supplemental income through. I get it, I was this person once upon a time. I would simply encourage those individuals that get triggered by this blog to simply TRY to keep an open mind and ask yourself - "if I'm truly passionate about helping others achieve a healthier way of life, why not do it legally and pursue further education by becoming a CNC (certified Nutrition Coach), Registered Dietician, and/or Nutritionist?"
Without further ado, here are 3 (non weight loss related) side-effects of meal replacement shakes, specifically from multi-level marketing companies...
1. They develop an unhealthy dependence on the products.
The problem with a lot of these nutrition MLM companies is they never educate the client (you) on how to create your own meal plan that doesn't involve the products. If asked if someone has to use the products forever, we were trained to tell you that even though you don't HAVE TO, we recommend it and due to our love of the products, we stay committed to them for years and years. Due to this unhealthy strategy, I saw dozens and dozens of individuals get off the products (myself included) for a number of reasons only to have the weight come back and sometimes double since nobody was properly educated on how to create their own meal plan.
2. If you stopped using the products, your "team" or support group leaves you too.
God forbid you switch over to a different protein powder, you might as well have told them you were a born and raised Yankee's fan only to become a Red Sox fan suddenly. Imagine being someone that suffers from chronic depression, you join this MLM "family" or "team" and begin feeling really happy again only to get off of the products (maybe due to financial reasons) and since you aren't providing a paycheck to your upline anymore, your support disappears. I saw it time and time again. It would break my heart seeing the amount of depression going around!
3. If you don't achieve results, it's always YOUR fault!
It would be taboo to say anything negative about the products. They were created PERFECTLY, no way could they have been improved. We would constantly see it during evaluations, people suffering from weight plateaus or actually gain weight. We would be trained to question you on if you were following the plan 100% and lets be real, who follows their meal plans 100%...no one! So we would find that one thing you didn't do well that week and say it's because of that reason. You have to remember, distributors are not professionally trained dietary experts, so honestly, we had no idea why you weren't losing weight since we don't have formal nutrition or wellness training other than what ingredients are in the products we sell.
Despite all the negatives that come out of these companies, it's important to note that meal replacement shakes as a whole are not bad or evil. Plenty of my personal clients, due to their busy schedules, I advise them to purchase a meal replacement shake. I just wouldn't advise them to purchase one from a MLM company since these company's primary agenda is to recruit you to become a distributor so your signee can profit off of all of your sales. Earning some extra money on the side is always nice but it's not nice misleading individuals to believe you are a "coach" or "expert" in something when you haven't had the necessary training needed to truly care for something as important as someone's health and wellness. For a larger insight as to why my wife and I left our MLM company, here is a recent blog I wrote about our departure.
If you're struggling with your weight loss, I encourage you to reach out to one of our professional trained PT's or Nutrition Coaches today.
"Drug-induced hepatotoxicity of select herbal therapies" - PMID 25546878
"Herbal does not mean innocuous" - PMID 17692989
"Association between consumption of Herbalife nutritional supplements and acute hepatotoxicity" - PMID 17692424
"Acute liver injury induced by weight-loss herbal supplements" - PMID 21173910
"Coach Taz" aka Taylor Rodriguez is the owner and head coach of Taz Fitness & Nutrition. He is a Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach located in Deltona, FL that coaches individuals online and in person. Taylor was a former partying pro wrestler turned fitness enthusiast after the economic downturn of 2008-2010. After losing almost 70 lbs, his new passion is to help struggling individuals find new confidence within themselves to achieve any goal that they see possible. To begin coaching with Taylor or to request a free consultation, contact us today.