Shakeology Diet Review: A Dietitian’s Objective Analysis
Shakeology is a shake-based diet plan by Beachbody that is easy to follow for individuals new to fitness. Costs are high but may be worth it due to it being tied to a bundle of branded Beachbody programs.
Shakeology is a premium superfoods nutrition shake that combines over 60 ingredients per shake to provide protein, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics, adaptogens, super greens, and phytonutrients to fill common gaps in nutrition.
Each Shakeology shake provides 160 calories, 16g protein, 6g fiber, and between 2.5–3g of total fat.
Shakeology was developed by the Beachbody Company. Why does that name sound familiar?
You may recognize Beachbody as the on-demand workout company that made the famous P90X and Insanity home exercise programs.
Shakeology is claimed to help people feel better, lose weight, curb cravings, improve energy levels, support digestive health, and benefit overall health.
According to the company, Shakeology powders alone are not meant to be a meal replacement. Instead, Shakeology is meant to be complementary to your meals.
However, these shakes tend to become meals when combined with other ingredients such as nut butter, milk, fruit, or seeds, typically used to round out a normal shake.
Beachbody also claims that its powders are more than a protein shake.
If you decide to purchase one of the Beachbody Challenge packages, you are offered access to two healthy eating programs:
- The 2B Mindset program created by Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RD
- The Ultimate Portion Fix by the trainer and author Autumn Calabrese
You are also given a Quick Nutrition Guide that details an overview of Beachbody’s nutrition principles and serves as an advertisement for Beachbody supplements, bars, and nutrition programs.
The basic nutrition principles for Beachbody are as follows:
- Eat the right proteins: about 20g of protein per meal
- Eat plenty of fiber: approximately 25–30g per day
- Choose smart sources of energy: high-fiber carbohydrates, low doses of caffeine from sources like tea
- Seek out superfoods: coming from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and other healthy sources
- Eat healthy fats: from sources containing mono- and polyunsaturated fats including avocados, olive oil, nuts, chia, flaxseed, and fatty fish
- Stay hydrated
Foods not recommended include processed foods, fatty foods, foods, and beverages with added sugars, as well as refined grains.
Shakeology has one relatively recent clinical trial published in 2018 to help support its claims for promoting satiety and reducing energy intake.
In this study, 50 overweight or obese men and women were given either a high protein, high fiber beverage (Shakeology, chocolate flavor) or a placebo 30 minutes prior to access to a pizza meal where participants could eat as much as desired.
Participants who had Shakeology (and were over 25 years old) had reductions in a desire to eat, decreased appetite, and subsequently lower pizza intake compared to those who had a placebo shake.
This study was sponsored by Shakeology and therefore may be subject to more bias than a study funded by a neutral and independent source.
Overall, the research for Shakeology’s efficacy is lacking.
Shakeology is easy to follow – at the basic level, you use one scoop of Shakeology powder with 8–12 ounces of your liquid of choice (and additional ingredients as desired) daily in combination with a healthy diet.
If you choose a Challenge Pack (detailed below), you receive a guide for the 2B Mindset and Ultimate Portion Fix diets that teach you portion sizes and how to balance your meals.
There are a multitude of ways to customize how you use the Shakeology powder – as a protein drink, as a smoothie or mocktail, in energy balls, and even a variety of desserts.
The website offers over a hundred different recipes involving Shakeology powder to suit your preferences.
Shakeology has both whey protein and vegan protein options for their shakes.
If you are allergic to one of the ingredients in the shake, you might need to avoid this product.
Beachbody offers several methods of accountability to increase the likelihood of individuals following this diet.
When you first sign up for Shakeology, you are assigned a free Beachbody coach.
These coaches are often individuals who use Shakeology products and are part of the Beachbody MLM-model, meaning that they are not legally qualified to give expert advice on nutrition and your health.
There are also BODGroups available through an app, where individuals can connect with their coach and their fitness challenge cohorts to post updates, track progress, and motivate each other.
To increase your integration into the full line of Beachbody products, they offer membership to their Nutrition+ programs for increased accountability and professional expertise on your fitness journey.
A monthly subscription to Shakeology is $129.95 per month, which comes out to about $4.33 per day.
It sounds like a really good deal considering what it has to offer, right?
Well, the pricing is a bit deceptive. While the shakes alone may cost $129.95 per month, the “Challenge Packs” are highly encouraged to get the best results.
These packaged deals include not only Shakeology but access to Beachbody On Demand and the Nutrition+ membership.
The Challenge Packs may cost anywhere between $160–295 for the first month, with recurring monthly costs of $129 for the shakes and optional costs to continue the nutrition plan and fitness programs.
Beachbody offers a 30-day full refund of your used Shakeology products if you’re not satisfied with your results (minus shipping and handling).
Shakeology is recommended for individuals ages 18 years or older.
If you are pregnant or nursing, it is recommended to consult with a medical professional prior to starting to determine if there may be risks to starting this program.
This advice is also echoed for anyone who is on prescription medication, has a medical condition, illness, or injury.
Individuals using Shakeology shakes for the first time may experience bloating and gas due to the high fiber content in the shakes.
These products are manufactured in a facility that processes ingredients from the top 8 most common food allergies.
Because Shakeology is often used in combination with the Beachbody fitness programs, take caution with finding the appropriate degree of physical activity for your personal fitness level to prevent injury.
Shakeology is an expensive option compared to other meal replacement shakes.
Shakeology powders are often combined with other ingredients that you have to purchase, adding to the cost of the shakes.
Other meal replacement shakes like Soylent or Huel are often cheaper, are marketed as complete meal replacements, and may only require the addition of liquid.
A unique aspect of Shakeology is that it is fully integrated with a variety of exercise programs that are good for people at any level.
Some other diet plans may provide a “one size fits all” exercise plan, but others only focus on the food.
If you’re new to healthy eating and exercise, getting into Shakeology and the entire Beachbody line of programs may be a good option for you.
Buying a challenge plan not only provides the shakes, but additional accountability support, nutrition information, and an exercise program to help you along the way in one package.
However, many of the benefits that you can get from Shakeology can also be achieved from a healthy diet and exercise alone.
The money spent on the Shakeology shakes could instead go toward a regular gym membership or fitness library subscription, or towards purchasing foods and supplements to meet your nutrition needs.
It is also important to note that the adaptogens, superfoods, and most other ingredients in Shakeology are of a proprietary blend which makes it impossible to know if they are present in amounts proven to be effective in the research.
Overall, I’m not sold that Shakeology is truly effective on its own and I’ve heard mixed reviews from people who have tried it.
For some, Shakeology helped change their lives and their relationship with their bodies, but for others, it was a waste of time and money.
For the best level of customization of diet and physical activity to your needs, speak with health professionals including physicians, registered dietitians, and certified trainers to find a plan that works best for you.
At WellnessVerge, we only use primary references for our articles, including peer reviewed medical journals or well-respected academic institutions.
- Effect of a High-Protein, High-Fiber Beverage Preload on Subjective Appetite Ratings and Subsequent Ad Libitum Energy Intake in Overweight Men and Women: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study: