The HerbaLife weight loss programme promises to help users achieve their weight loss goals; unfortunately these claims have not been proven in scientific studies.
Below we have reviewed HerbaLife against our review criteria to help consumers make an informed decision.
- Products available internationally
- No serious side effects noted
- Some information lacking from the official website, including ingredients lists and prices
- Company accused of running an illegal pyramid scheme
HerbaLife’s meal replacement programme is said to be followed by thousands of people in over 80 countries. Hundreds of customer reviews have been published about the HerbaLife programme (predominantly referring to Formula 1) on the Internet and most of them appear to be of a positive nature. HerbaLife has however been accused of running an illegal pyramid scheme.
Claimed weight loss benefits
HerbaLife claims to aid successful weight loss through the potential appetite suppressing and fat burning effects of the products.
How HerbaLife Works
HerbaLife promises their customers successful weight loss, improved nutrition and enhanced personal care from their supplements. According to the company website, the programme is said to be the number 1 meal replacement shake in the world, and the calorie controlled servings are, supposedly, great for both those looking to lose weight and those hoping to build lean muscle mass.
The first part of the HerbaLife programme is a supplement known as Formula 1 and this is the main part of the regime. Available in 6 different flavours in attempt to appeal to everyone, this meal replacement is said to provide its users with a good balance of high quality protein from milk and soy, essential micronutrients and added botanicals and herbs in order to boost wellbeing. Formula 1 is supposedly designed to help calorie controlling while still maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet and is also available in bars for when you are on the go or simply have no time to make a smoothie.
The second part of the HerbaLife programme is Formula 2, which is a multivitamin complex purportedly produced to support a well balanced diet and ensure that you are consuming vital vitamins and minerals. When used in conjuction with Formula 1 and a good exercise regime, Formula 2 is said to be able to boost results and further support your wellbeing.
The potential effectiveness of the HerbaLife programme can be judged based on the ingredients found within the supplements but there does not appear to be a clear and full list of ingredients on the official website. Amazon, however, provides details of the ingredients within the supplements and here we will look at them in more detail.
Soy Protein Isolate
This ingredient can help to increase your total protein intake. A plant ingredient made from the soy bean, soy protein contains substances known as isoflavones. This means that the substance may be able to help control high blood sugar and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, ultimately promoting a healthy body. Furthermore, soy protein is said to be a good source of fibre, calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins meaning that it could help to keep a balanced diet.
Processed from guar seed extract, guar gum is a thickening agent that is often found in gluten free foods and as a delivery agent for some medications. Due to its thickening abilities, guar gum is thought to be able to work to suppress appetite as it remains in the body for longer and so supposedly creates the sensation that you are fuller for longer.
Cinnamon is rich in manganese, iron, calcium and fibre meaning that it may be a positive substance for wellbeing. It is thought to be able to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and to be beneficial for the heart. The substance is believed to be able to work as an appetite suppressant due to its sweet taste satisfying sugar cravings and its potential ability to regulate blood sugar level while increasing the metabolism of glucose. High blood sugar levels can lead to more fat being stored in the body and cinnamon supposedly helps to prevent this from happening. It is also said to prevent the transformation of metabolised sugar into fat thanks to its influence on the substance in the body.
This natural substance is thought to be able to increase the body’s temperature, which in turn may boost the metabolic rate and burn stores of fat. It is also believed to be able to aid digestion by stimulating certain digestive enzymes. The high level of fibre within the substance is also thought to have the potential to suppress appetite.
Key HerbaLife Ingredients
HerbaLife’s key supplement Formula 1 is made up of a large variety of natural ingredients that all work in various ways to aid weight loss. Here we will briefly look at the key ingredients within the supplement.
This dietary supplement is beneficial for both those looking to lose weight and those hoping to build up their level of lean muscle. It is a form of plant protein taken from the soy bean and is thought to be able to help control blood sugar levels as well as lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. Furthermore, the substance contains a range of vital nutrients such as fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins meaning that it may help users to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Guar gum is a natural thickening agent. Although it is rapidly degraded in the intestines, its purported ability to expand in the stomach means that it may be able to leave you feeling fuller for longer and on fewer calories. Because of this, it is said that you may be likely to eat less and consume fewer calories meaning that you can concentrate on burning pre existing stores of fat without building up any more.
This ingredient is thought to be rich in vitamins and minerals that work to keep the body healthy. The substance is also said to be able to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels while having several health benefits for the heart. Due to its sweet taste, cinnamon is supposedly able to satisfy cravings you may have towards sweet foods and as it supposedly delays the emptying of the stomach, it may also able to curb hunger by leaving you feeling full for longer. Cinnamon is also believed to have a regulatory effect on blood sugar levels meaning that it may help to reduce the amount of fat being stored in the body and therefore help to speed up weight loss.
Ginger is thought to possess thermogenic properties, meaning that it may increase the core temperature of the body and therefore speed up metabolism and increase the amount of fat being burned.
Clinical studies should be conducted on a supplement in order to ensure both its safety and its effectiveness in helping users achieve their weight loss goals. However, many weight loss supplements make it to the market without having undergone any clinical testing and this could potentially prove to have a negative effect on users’ health.
On their official website, HerbaLife is claimed to have initiated 12 clinical studies, 5 of which focus on their own supplements. However it proves to be difficult to locate evidence of these studies on the website as the only link provided does not appear to be of working order. Despite this, there have been studies conducted on the main product’s key ingredient.
The main ingredient within HerbaLife’s Formula 1 is soy protein and this substance is used in order to suppress appetite. Studies have found that a high protein diet is able to result in a greater decrease in energy intake and therefore weight loss and fat loss. Recommendations for increased consumption of protein are common in popular diets as dietary protein has been found to modulate energy intake, giving the body the sensation of satiety while increasing total energy expenditure by increasing the thermic effect of feeding. Furthermore, the low glycaemic index of soy protein means that it may not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after its consumption meaning that users will experience fewer cravings and should therefore consume fewer calories.
Another way in which scientists have found soy protein to aid weight loss is in its ability to lower triglyceride levels in the body. Although it is a crucial substance, too much triglyceride can result in stores of fat being produced in the body and can lead to weight gain. In lowering the likelihood of excess triglyceride, soy protein is able to prevent fat from being stored.
HerbaLife Side Effects
There is no mention of any potential side effects from the HerbaLife programme or supplements on the official website; however this does not necessarily mean that the substances do not carry any. As there appears to be no evidence of any clinical testing on the safety of the product itself, there is currently no way to know for certain the full extent of the potential side effects that users of HerbaLife could experience. However, there has been clinical testing conducted on some of the product’s key ingredients and there are some known side effects to have come from these substances. It is unlikely that, when used in the short term, HerbaLife will have any serious side effects on its users but they could experience bloating, constipation, nausea, flatulence, diarrhoea and heartburn due to the inclusion of certain substances.
When taken in large amounts or for long periods of time, some of the key ingredients within HerbaLife’s Formula 1 could cause worsen side effects, such as gastrointestinal obstructions and abnormal tissue growth. Furthermore, some of the substances found within Formula 1 are not suitable for certain groups of people and so those who suffer from pre existing medical conditions or who are taking prescribed medication should speak with their doctor before using HerbaLife. Due to the potential risks associated with some of the ingredients, we advise that those under the age of 18 and pregnant and breast feeding women avoid using HerbaLife.
Soy Protein Isolate
Soy protein isolate is thought to be safe to use in the short term, although it may cause some mild side effects in some users, which include bloating, constipation and nausea. The safety of using the substance in the long term is uncertain, however it could prove to be unsafe – especially in women as it could cause abdominal tissue growth in the uterus. The substance may also interfere with some types of cancer, kidney disease and under- active thyroid disease and so anyone suffering from these conditions should avoid using soy.
As guar gum acts as a thickening agent, consuming large amounts of the substance could result in blockages forming in the intestine. These gastrointestinal obstructions could potentially expand further and cause problems. To avoid this from happening, guar gum and products that contain it should be consumed with plenty of water. There are some other less serious side effects that may be experienced such as flatulence, diarrhoea and loose stools.
Ginger is considered to be a safe substance to use but has been known to cause some mild side effects in some people including heartburn, diarrhoea and general stomach discomfort when taken in larger amounts. The use of ginger is deemed controversial in pregnancy, as some people believe that it can result in miscarriage or bleeding. Furthermore ginger could potentially increase the risk of bleeding and so those who suffer from bleeding disorders should avoid the substance, it could also worsen heart conditions.
Not enough is known about cinnamon in order to determine whether it is safe or not for pregnant and breast feeding women to use. The substance could also interfere with type 2 diabetes and so if you have this condition it is important to closely monitor your blood sugar levels while using the substance. Large amounts of cinnamon could be unsafe to use and so it is not recommended.
How to Use
The first part of HerbaLife is Formula 1. This supplement is said to be designed to be taken each day as a healthy meal option. The instructions on the HerbaLife website state that users should mix 2 tablespoons or 26g of the formula with 250ml of semi- skimmed milk. When used for weight control, users should replace 2 meals each day with the shake and then eat one nutritionally balanced meal. If you are using the supplement to maintain a healthy diet, you should replace 1 meal each day with the shake and then eat 2 balanced meals.
HerbaLife also provide their customers with their product Formula 2, which is a multivitamin complex. It supposedly supports a well balanced diet and when used in conjunction with Formula 1 can boost results. Users of Formula 2 should take 1 tablet 3 times a day with their meals in order to experience the maximum effect.
In order to further the effects of HerbaLife, users are recommended to exercise regularly and eat healthy during their meal each day, as well as ensuring that they stay hydrated.
Who Makes It?
Founded in 1980, HerbaLife International of America Inc is a health supplement company based in the US that supposedly strives to produce innovative products while keeping personal wellness goals in mind. The company claims to pride itself in its science based products, staff training and established formula of its key supplements as well as its large network of independent distributors who span over 80 countries worldwide and create sales of over $3.5 billion each year. HerbaLife present a business opportunity to visitors of their website, offering them the chance to become a HerbaLife independent distributor themselves to earn extra money and be a part of their team.
The website also states that HerbaLife has a Nutrition Advisory Board which ensures that the company is a leading success in the market. The board is said to consist of highly respected scientific experts who direct the development of supplements – mainly through product testing – to make sure that they meet the highest standards set for the industry today.
HerbaLife’s UK base is situated in Middlesex and there is a physical address provided on the company website as well as a work day telephone number. The company do not provide a customer Email address as they say that they prefer phone contact in order to ensure a high level of service, however there is an Email address provided for immediate PR for those who wish to share their positive story.
HerbaLife has however come under scrutiny from the media, and is currently under investigation for running a pyramid scheme. This means that the company earns the majority of their money from hiring new distributors (and encouraging them to sign up more distributors) than they do from selling the product itself.
Where to Buy HerbaLife
HerbaLife is not available to purchase from UK high street shops, nor can customers buy it from the official website or directly from the company. Instead, HerbaLife works by employing independent distributors all over the world who sell their products for them. The HerbaLife official website provides a directory of these distributors who span over 80 countries and they also offer a telephone helpline number and contact form for customers who wish for advice on which distributor to use. HerbaLife also provide customers with the opportunity to join the company and become an independent distributor themselves. Prices of the products are not revealed on the official website.
HerbaLife products can also be purchased from online retailers such as Amazon, however it is worth remembering that these sellers may also be independent retailers and so we suggest that you ensure they are legitimate HerbaLife approved distributors before purchasing from them in order to keep your personal details, money and health safe.
Does HerbaLife Meet our Approved Criteria
Money-back-guarantee: There is no mention of a money-back guarantee.
One-off payment: The product is sold via a one-off payment, but it cannot be purchased from the official website and is instead sold via a number of independent distributors.
Manufacturing Standard: We were unable to find details of a manufacturing standard.
Accompanying Diet Plan: There is no specific diet plan, but healthy eating advice and recipes are available on the official website.
Ingredients and quantities disclosed: Some ingredients are revealed, but a full ingredients list is not available on the official website.
Company contact details readily available: Yes, full contact details are provided.
HerbaLife does not meet our ‘Approved’ criteria as there is no money-back-guarantee or diet plan, and some information is lacking, including manufacturing standards and full ingredients lists.
HerbaLife’s meal replacement programme is advertised as a structured way of living that encourages its users to stay healthy while reaching their weight loss goal. The products are claimed to instigate fat burning and appetite suppression, although there is little scientific support for these claims. There does not appear to be any serious side effects connected to the formulas used and the groups of people who should not use the supplements are clearly stated. HerbaLife does not however reveal full ingredients lists or prices on the official website, and has been accused of running an illegal pyramid scheme.Google+