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Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Shake Review: A Dietitian’s Expert Take

Written by Brandi Givens, RDN

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on January 17, 2022

Dietitian Rating:

4.1

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:4.9
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:3.5
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Ka’Chava is a vegan meal replacement powder with an impressive ingredient list of 70 superfoods. While undeniably convenient, there are similar meal replacement powders on the market that are more affordable.

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Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Shake Review: A Dietitian’s Expert Take
Photo credit: iStock.com/DrGrounds

Pros

  • Convenient alternative to meal preparation when time is limited.
  • Made from plants that are considered high-nutrient superfoods.
  • Has an informative website and offers convenient ways to contact the company.

Cons

  • No third-party testing seal to verify quality and purity.
  • Somewhat expensive compared to other meal replacement powders.

What Is Ka’Chava?

Ka’Chava is a meal replacement powder that contains minerals, enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, and synthetic vitamins. Its formulas come in vanilla, coconut acai, chai, and chocolate flavors.

Each serving of Ka’Chava chocolate powder contains 240 calories.

These calories come from 25 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 25 grams of total carbohydrate. This includes 4.4 grams of saturated fat, 9 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of added sugar. The nutritional values are slightly different for each flavor.

The brand presents itself with an earthy vibe, paying homage to ancient cultures and including exotic foods that have been used in wellness for centuries.

Among some of Ka’Chava’s many health claims are promises to boost immunity, provide energy, aid digestion, improve appearance, support a healthy weight, fuel muscle growth and recovery, and support mental health.

Evaluation of Ingredients

Ka’Chava is processed and assembled in the United States, but some of its ingredients are outsourced from other countries.

The foods are dehydrated, ground into a uniform powder, and heat-treated to reduce the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. Then, all ingredients are measured and mixed.

Ka’Chava categorizes its 70 ingredients into groups or “blends.”

While analyzing all the ingredients isn’t possible in this review, I’ll go over some claims for each blend.

Please note that for simplicity, I’ve focused on the chocolate powder in this review. The nutrition label shows slightly different values for each flavor.

Protein Blend, 27.75 g

(45% of the product)

The protein blend includes pea, brown rice, quinoa, sacha inchi, and amaranth proteins.

It’s well established that protein is a macronutrient that provides energy and enables muscles to grow and recover.

Small studies on rice protein and pea protein have shown that supplementation of these plant-based proteins is effective in helping to increase muscle mass in adult men.

Summary

The protein content in Ka’Chava supports the product’s claims to provide energy and support muscle growth.

Omega EFA / Fiber Blend, 9.62 g

(16% of the product)

This blend provides omega-3 fatty acids from chia and flax seeds.

Low intake of omega-3 has been associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and early cognitive decline, so it is vital to get enough omega-3 in the diet.

The chia and flax seeds, along with whole oats and acacia gum included in the blend, also contain fiber.

Fiber is well known for its role in digestive health. Adequate fiber intake helps regulate bowel movements, maintains healthy gut bacteria, and protects the digestive system against disease and cancer.

Fiber can also help with maintaining a healthy weight.

Summary

The omega-3 and fiber blend in Ka’Chava supports the product’s claims for mental health, healthy weight maintenance, and digestive health.

Antioxidant Blend, 6.1 g

(10% of the product)

Antioxidants are substances that are known to neutralize free radicals, which are particles that would otherwise cause damage in the body.

The antioxidant blend includes acai, camu, maqui berries, tart cherries, coconut flower nectar, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.

The antioxidant, vitamin C, is found in abundance in many foods in this blend.

While vitamin C is known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system, vitamin C has also been shown to help protect skin from harmful environmental factors like UV rays.

Additionally, Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, a protein responsible for skin strength and elasticity.

Anthocyanins, found in blue-colored foods like blueberries, have been shown to protect against cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease.

Summary

The antioxidant blend in Ka’Chava helps support the product’s claims to improve your appearance and support mental health.

Adaptogen Blend, 1,020 mg

(1.6% of the product)

Adaptogens are plant foods that help the body perform better under stress.

This blend includes shiitake, maitake, reishi, and cordyceps—all adaptogenic mushrooms.

Reishi and cordyceps mushrooms have been used to boost the immune system for centuries in other cultures. Some evidence shows that they have anti-cancer effects.

It also includes adaptogenic herbs such as maca root and ginger.

Some evidence shows that ginger has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects on the body.

Summary

The addition of adaptogens to Ka’Chava’s formula supports their claim that the product can help to boost the immune system.

Super-Greens Blend, 500 mg

(Less than 1% of the product)

The super-greens blend includes 17 vegetables, some of which include broccoli, kale, beets, carrots, and tomatoes.

These superfoods are normally at the top of my list of favorite foods to talk about. However, notice that this blend amounts to less than 1% of the weight of the product.

That’s about half of a gram in weight, split between 17 vegetables, so there are not likely a significant number of benefits attributed to this blend.

Summary

The amount of ingredients in this blend is too small to warrant a discussion.

Digestive Enzyme Blend, 50 mg

(Less than 0.01% of the product)

The digestive blend includes amylase, protease, cellulase, lactase, and lipase.

Enzymes are proteins that help speed up the rate of chemical reactions. In the case of digestive enzymes, they help digestive processes to occur more rapidly as they break down specific food particles so that the nutrients can be more easily absorbed by the body.

The human body typically makes all of the digestive enzymes that are needed for this process. However, some people have pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, which warrants care and sometimes FDA-approved prescription medication from a doctor.

Supplemental enzymes have uncertain efficacy and safety. In other words, they may not be beneficial or even safe to use, as they could break down in the stomach before they have a chance to work in the small intestine.

It is unclear why Ka’Chava includes lactase, the enzyme that breaks down sugar from milk, in this vegan supplement. Unless a consumer planned to mix this product with milk instead of water, this would be a useless ingredient.

Summary

Including enzymes in this product may have insignificant benefits for most people.

Prebiotic and Probiotics Blend, 50 mg

(Less than 0.01% of the product)

This blend includes inulin, a well-known prebiotic, and the probiotics Lactobacillus rhamnoses and Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Inulin supports digestive health by feeding good gut bacteria and is naturally found in foods including asparagus, onions, garlic, and oats.

However, I am uncertain whether or not there is enough inulin included in Ka’Chava to positively affect the microbiome.

The Ka’Chava label also doesn’t disclose which strains of L. rhamnoses and L. acidophilus are in the product or how many colony-forming units (CFUs) it contains. This information is important when determining if these ingredients will be helpful to you.

Summary

It’s unclear if Ka’Chava includes enough inulin or probiotics to aid with digestive health.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals help boost immunity, improve appearance, and support mental health.

There are 25 essential vitamins and minerals in Ka’Chava. The amounts and the percent daily values (DV) of these ingredients are listed on the nutrition facts label.

These are added to the product, so in this case, it is similar to taking a multivitamin supplement.

Summary

It is well established that getting adequate vitamins and minerals is essential to health and can help support several of Ka’Chava’s claims.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Ka’Chava based on the available research:

Boosts immunityGold Star Evidence
Provides energyGold Star Evidence
Improves appearanceGold Star Evidence
Aids digestionStrong Evidence
Supports a healthy weightGold Star Evidence
Fuels muscle growthGold Star Evidence
Supports mental healthGold Star Evidence

Ka’Chava makes conservative claims that would be achievable with the nutrients found in a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Since their claims are general claims made about the real, healthy foods contained in the product, the available research supports these claims.

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

For dosing, Ka’Chava’s package label instructs consumers to mix two heaping scoops of powder (62 grams) into 12–14 oz of ice-cold water.

The bulk of the weight in the finished Ka’Chava product comes from protein extracts, whole foods, and other ingredients that are added for flavor and texture, generally regarded as safe.

Though rare, some ingredients like probiotics have been known to cause side effects. These can include nausea, gas, and diarrhea. Some experts believe adverse effects of probiotics are underreported in studies.

Supplemental enzymes also occasionally have side effects, including gas, cramping, and a rare allergic reaction.

The company claims to self-test each batch for quality and safety, performing third-party testing “when verification and validation steps are needed.” However, the product does not have an independent third-party testing seal to verify its quality and content.

This product has also not been evaluated for safety in any scientific studies.

It’s always best to talk to your doctor before beginning a supplement routine to ensure the product is right for you.

Cost and Where to Buy

Currently, Ka’Chava is available exclusively from the brand’s website. The price of Ka’Chava is $69.95 for one 15-serving bag, which works out to $4.66 per serving.

The price is discounted to $59.95 or $3.99 per serving for monthly subscribers.

This is somewhat expensive for a product that does not bear a reputable third-party testing seal.

However, some customers may feel the cost of the product is justified because a portion of Ka’Chava’s proceeds is donated to their partner in environmental conservation, the Rainforest Trust.

How Ka’Chava Compares to Alternatives

While Ka’Chava is marketed as a “back to nature” product and uses exotic foods, its nutrients are ultimately comparable to many other meal replacement powders.

For example, Orgain Organic Meal is a vegan product that is also made from plant foods. It can be purchased from Amazon.com for about $2.19 per serving, which is less than half the price of Ka’Chava.

Unlike Ka’Chava, Orgain is a USDA-certified organic product. This supplement has 20 calories less than Ka’Chava, a similar amount of protein and carbohydrates, lower fat, and less added sugar.

Another alternative is the Purely Inspired Organic All-In-One supplemental shake. It is also a concentrated, vegan blend of fruits and vegetables.

It has a higher protein content in 2 scoops of the product, with a similar carbohydrate and fat content in one serving. This product lists 1 billion CFUs of probiotics, whereas Ka’Chava doesn’t offer that information on its label.

Overall, you can find many similar products at significantly lower costs than Ka’Chava.

The Bottom Line

Ka’Chava claims to be “the world’s healthiest meal shake.” The brand boasts its support for the environment and appears to have healthful, exotic ingredients.

According to Ka’Chava, the powder can only be used to replace one of your daily meals. It can be consumed up to twice per day, if it is used to replace one meal and is added to another, such as a smoothie, for an extra boost of nutrients.

With 70 plant foods packed into a serving of powder, along with added vitamins and minerals, if you decide to use a vegan meal replacement powder, Ka’Chava is a fine choice.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of similar alternatives available at a lower price.

Ultimately, whole plant foods are the best source of nutrition. Finding ways to incorporate more of these foods into your diet is important, whether or not you choose to use meal replacement powders.

While meal replacement powders cannot replace a healthy diet, they can be used as a convenient source of nutrition to add to your healthy eating regimen.

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