After an overwhelming amount of requests to review Arbonne, I’ve finally done it. I wanted to like Arbonne, which is why I think it took me so long to look at the ingredients. Their branding lends to the idea that they truly are “all natural” – a term that has all but lost its meaning. And it’s just that – branding. Not reality. It isn’t the truth and it’s not very transparent.

I want people who are using or selling these products to truly know what’s in them. I want them to know about the less than healthy ingredients. Most people who are introduced to these things just aren’t aware. They don’t know that pea protein is a subpar protein source, they don’t know that rice syrup contains arsenic, they don’t know that sunflower oil is highly inflammatory. I do these reviews because I want to educate people on what they’re putting into their bodies. It may be marketed as healthy, but let’s take a look at the ingredients so you can actually get an unbiased review of Arbonne.

Vanilla Protein Shake Ingredients:

Arbonne Protein Matrix Blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugar cane, sunflower oil, natural vanilla flavor, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, flax seed, stevia leaf extract, gum acacia, guar gum.

Chocolate Protein Shake Ingredients:

Arbonne Protein Matrix Blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugar cane, cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavor, sunflower oil, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, stevia leaf extract, flax seed, gum acacia, guar gum.

Chocolate Nutrition Bar Ingredients:

brown rice syrup, brown rice protein, pumpkin seeds, water, crisp rice (rice flour, sugar, salt, calcium carbonate), pea protein isolate, alkalized cocoa, chicory fiber, oats, dates, cocoa butter, glycerin, natural flavors, quinoa, sunflower lecithin, sea salt.

Chocolate Protein Ready To Drink Shake:

water, Arbonne Protein Matrix (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugar cane, natural chocolate avor, sunflower oil, cocoa powder, corn starch, inulin, cellulose gum and gel, locust bean gum, calcium carbonate, sodium chloride, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, magnesium oxide, ax seed, stevia extract, ascorbic acid, coenzyme Q10, alfalfa, kelp, ginseng, d-alpha tocopherol acetate, sodium selenate, biotin, niacinamide, retinyl palmitate, d-calcium pantothenate, potassium iodide, zinc oxide, copper gluconate, manganese sulfate, folic acid, ergocalciferol, pyridoxine hydrochloride, ribo avin, thiamine hydrochloride, sodium molybdate, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), chromium chloride.

GMOs

I just got off the phone with Arbonne customer service. It took quite a while to get an actual human on the phone.

“Hi! Are Arbonne products certified GMO free?”

The woman, who was very nice, clearly had no idea what I was talking about. She asked which products I was looking at at. I told her I was wondering if all of them were GMO free.

“Are you looking at the 30 day supply?”

“No, I just want to know if all of the products are certified GMO free. Like the ready to drink chocolate shake. It has corn in it. Is the corn GMO free?”

It tuns out she was pulling up the page to that particular product.

“It’s vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and all natural.”

I waited. After it was clear she wasn’t going to say anything else, I asked again. Is it GMO free?

At this point I was put on hold for a bit.

She came back and said “Our products are GMO free.”

To which I asked “Great! Are they certified GMO free?”

“I don’t know.”

So in short, I’m not buying that these products are actually genetically modified free. If they were, this information would be readily available on their website. This is something they would actively promote, because it’s a huge selling point. I couldn’t find the GMO free certification anywhere on their website. And if customer service doesn’t even know what I’m talking about when I ask that question…that’s not a good sign.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is naturally found in food. This is a huge problem. Folate is a naturally occurring water soluble B vitamin. Folic acid, however, is a synthesized form of folate that the body is unable to properly absorb or utilize.

In fact, folic acid supplementation has even been linked to cancer.

“…in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. “The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England.”

Another study out of Chile linked folic acid supplementation with an increased risk of colon cancer.

And yet another study out of Norway linked folic acid supplementation with a 21% increase in lung caner.

“Folic acid and B12 supplementation was associated with a 21% increased risk for cancer, a 38% increased risk for dying from the disease, and an 18% increase in deaths from all causes.”

While folate is a necessary part of a balanced diet, folic acid has actually been linked to increased rates of cancer (another source for ya).

Pea Protein and Rice Protein

First, let’s consider how protein rich peas and rice are…or aren’t. 100 grams of peas contains 5.4 grams of protein. 100 grams of rice contains 2.8 grams of protein.  100 grams of whey contains 78.13 grams of protein. Of course, we’re talking average here. This isn’t exact. But even so, whey is clearly the higher source of protein.

Not only that, but pea protein is lacking in amino acids, namely cysteine and methionine. This makes it a poor protein source. Rice in general (but specifically as a protein source) is difficult to digest, particularly brown rice. It’s also high in phytic acid, which prevents the absorption of minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, etc.

Natural Vanilla Flavor

I take issue with anything listed as “natural flavors.” Because chances are, it’s not all that natural. Hell, even monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be masquerading as a natural flavor. The labeling is loosely regulated. In Food Rules: A Doctor’s Guide To Healthy Eating, Dr. Shanahan discusses a study in which 95% of ingredients listed as “natural flavor” contained MSG.

As for “natural” vanilla flavor, it could even be secretions from a beaver’s butt. Beavers secrete castoreum, which smells and tastes remarkably similar to vanilla.

Castoreum is a chemical compound that mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, which are located between the pelvis and the base of the tail. Because of its close proximity to the anal glands, castoreum is often a combination of castor gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine…Still concerned you’re chowing down on beaver-bum goop? Because of its FDA label, in some cases, manufacturers don’t have to list castoreum on the ingredient list and may instead refer to it as “natural flavoring.” Yum. Source

I’m not saying Arbonne definitely uses beaver butts in their products, but without transparency and truth in labeling, we can’t be entirely sure.

Corn Starch

Corn starch is a processed food additive usually derived from genetically modified corn. Corn starch is a highly processed carbohydrate, it contains no nutritional value and packs roughly 7 grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon.

It can also be aggravating to the digestive tract, particularly if you’re consuming corn starch on a regular basis. Overall, I’m most concerned with the possibility that the corn is genetically modified. Read more about the detriments of genetically modified corn here and here.

Brown Rice Syrup

When consuming sweeteners, I prefer to opt for healthy versions with nutritional benefits, like raw honey. Brown rice syrup, however, has no nutritional benefits. It’s also high on the glycemic index, meaning it can raise your blood sugar rapidly.

One study even found that products sweetened with rice syrup had twenty to thirty times the amount of arsenic than those not sweetened with rice syrup.

Sunflower Oil

While not as bad as corn, canola or soy oils, sunflower oil still isn’t my favorite. Consumed once in a while is fine, but daily in a protein shake or snack bar? That’s when this seemingly innocuous oil becomes an issue. Sunflower oil is extremely inflammatory. We know that there needs to be a proper balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. An abundance of omega-6 fats lead to inflammation (which has been linked to everything from cancer to heart disease).

It’s difficult to determine what kind of sunflower oil Arbonne is using exactly, but let’s assume it’s similar to this. The omega-3 content would be around 27mg and the omega-6 content 5374mg per tablespoon! That’s an incredibly inflammatory oil.

And quickly, I want to address Arbonne’s Green Balance product. Is it a healthy product? Yes. It has some great ingredients, excluding the quinoa which has naturally occurring phytates, which bind to minerals and prevent them from being absorbed. What I can’t stand is the $50 price tag for one month’s supply. Who can afford that? And why should they? There are even healthier options for cheaper. For example, I use the Garden of Life raw + organic green superfood powder, which is about the same price for two months!

In conclusion, I’ve definitely seen worse products. But I’ve also seen a lot better. The reason I do these reviews is because I want people to know what they’re buying and eating. I want them to know the science behind the ingredients. I want to help people. I want them to know what they’re spending their hard earned money on.

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An-Unbiased-Review-of-Arbonne-Not-As-Healthy-As-You-Think

51 Comments

    • dani stout Reply

      Please reference the studies I cited. Also the WHO has recently labeled glyphosate and a probable carcinogen.

  1. I have so many issues with this… but my greatest issue is how much of this is based on assumptions and opinions. I’m not sure how you can call that “unbiased”, especially when you compare specific products against the ones you use, that you already believe are superior. You addressed pea protein and basically called it subpar, comparing it to whey protein and noting a lack of amino acids. The thing is that you didn’t even give the cranberry protein a nod, which has a full amino acid profile and is combined with the pea powder. Also, you compared it to whey protein, which is a common allergen, not to mention has a full array of digestive issues associated with it from bloating to nausea and everything in between, whereas the proteins used in the Arbonne nutrition products are not.

    Arbonne products have to pass the standards for the EU, as their ingredients are not modified from one country to another, so whatever is banned there, is not permitted to be used in Arbonne products here, either, and that would include anything GMO.

    As for associating the flavoring with Beaver gland secretions, especially without any facts to back it up, definitely doesn’t show an unbiased opinion or a responsible review. Just saying.

    • dani stout Reply

      I linked to several studies and different publications.

      Cranberries have an even worse amino acid profile than peas. If someone has an allergy to whey, they can consume a variety of different proteins that actually contain complete amino acids – eggs, chicken, beef, etc.

      Then shouldn’t their products be certified GMO-free? Wouldn’t that be a selling point?

      Can you prove or definitively say that the “natural flavors” are not beaver butt secretions? Or that they don’t contain MSG? Because like the book I linked to says, roughly 95% of ingredients listed as natural flavors contain MSG. That’s not something I, or anyone, should gamble with.

      • Angelique Suddock Reply

        Thank you for your research & review of this product – I’m sorry that you received criticism. Obviously, those are defensive reps of the company.
        I am currently halfway through the Arbonne 28-day detox/cleanse & actually feel great, despite the non-organic and potentially irritating ingredients. In researching organic & non-GMO products that I can substitute for Arbonne, when the 28 days is over, I’ve found that Garden of Life’s daily vitamin, probiotics & protein powder provide all the nutrients (& more) than the Arbonne line does. I only want to put the healthiest options into my body.
        I have nothing against Arbonne, in fact, have been a rep for that company as well as Amway. I fully support the business concept of multi-level marketing and am happy to recommend a product when I believe in it. However, I am yet to find a MLM company that offers organic, GMO free health products & chemical free skincare…

        • dani Reply

          Garden of Life has some great products. I personally use their prenatal.

        • That company would be Purium hands down. Certified Organic and non GMO. Garden of Life is Amazing but Purium takes the cake. I just use the products, not a distributor.

    • Why do they call it flavored and not vanilla….because it is not vanilla

  2. OMG, this is so freaking dumb. You are biased completely here. Whey protein better than Pea and Rice, wow. Arbonne is Certified Vegan and use no animal products or by-products or do animal testing. Someone slap her.

    • dani stout Reply

      Did I say they aren’t vegan or that they do animal testing? Was that ever one of my points? No. Just because something is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Whey protein is a much better protein than pea and rice, as I stated, because pea and rice lack specific amino acids. Someone get a clue.

      • Vegan means no animal byproducts……therefore no beaver butt…..i believe that is what she was getting at with the vegan comment.

        • dani Reply

          Oh! The interesting thing about this is that companies are not required to disclose the source of “natural ingredients” – it can contain over 200 substances including castoreum and still be labeled as vegan legally.

  3. Scott Johnson Reply

    Great review. I have been reading many of these and your review is pretty consistent with others I have read. I have a friend who is really caught up in this company and I wanted to support her but the items are very over priced and not as healthy as they claim. Not to mention the whole MLM brainwashing. I will stick to my local health food store and home,ease items that I know are healthy because I made them. I have seen these companies come and go and in my younger years joined one I think almost everyone joins one at least once in their lifetime spends a ton of. Only and realizes this is just not going to work. The flashy cars are not free they are leased and the rep has to pay for it. All I all if I need the product there is a ton of it on eBay and Craig’s list up to 75% off that you can purchase from a person who was stuck holding the bag and wants to liquidate. Great review!

  4. “As for “natural” vanilla flavor, it could even be secretions from a beaver’s butt. Beavers secrete castoreum, which smells and tastes remarkably similar to vanilla.”
    Considering that Arbonne just received Kosher certification and beavers are not Kosher, this does not seem to be an “unbiased” idea.

    • dani Reply

      It doesn’t even have to be disclosed in the ingredient list, so they could label it as Kosher legally.

  5. Looks like the Arbonne soldiers are out in full force. I appreciate your review. I have a family member that sells Arbonne. I have done the 30 day program. I found it ironic because it calls for no sugar and no corn and yet the protein shake has both. Not to mention all the ingredients that can’t be pronounced. *sigh* everyone just needs to stick with what they like and with what they feel is good for them. I personally am done with Arbonne. Too many vague answers to important questions.

  6. Funny how all the people who have responded are backing Arbonne!! Saying Dani is biased yet they are as well!! Go Dani finally someone with some intelligence reviews rubbish products like Arbonne.

  7. Thank you for the review! I really enjoyed reading and I found it very educational. Keep up the good work girl -xo

  8. I think you really did an excellent job on this. I used to sell Arbonne. I can tell you, it can be like a religion. I did it for three years, been to the conventions and all. They are true believers. Don’t confuse them with the fact. 😉

    I appreciate your links to science and research. NON GMO , Certified IS a big deal. You are exactly correct. Were it to be certified GMO believe Arbonne marketing is saavy enough to jump all over that and tout it.

    I think their beauty products are…meh….as well, except for the day/night creme which really did help a friend’s ecema and rosacea on her face, did clear it. Everything else is overpriced and not natural.

  9. healedgirl Reply

    I am not biased, have never tried their products. A coworker gave me some of their vegan protein powder to try b/c the one I am using is chalky. After reading the ingredients I will not be consuming this product. Even I know, (not an expert, just someone trying to heal herself”, “natural flavors” is a red flag. What I am finding is it is hard to find anything pre made & convenient, that is healthy. I would rather add organic, pasture raised raw eggs in my protein shake, than this product. Thanks but no thanks!

  10. I enjoyed reading this. I got the Arbonne 30 day kit and once I started the protein shakes I’ve been bloated, gassy, sick to my stomach and realizing I just wasted $375! I’m so mad at myself. I should have just trusted myself to go back to eating real food because a powder in a bag isn’t real food. Some people love it – but you’re allowed to hate it too.

    • dani Reply

      Wow, that’s really expensive for a 30 day kit. Sorry you had to experience this!

    • Leila, I just wasted my money as well. So wish I had seen this article before. I recently reviewed my 30 kit and my first shake left me gagging to the point I was almost sick and left me nauseous for the entire day. I agree with you powder in a bad isn’t food. I should have just started with healthy meal planning.

    • Should have Talked to your consultant. Arbonne has a 45-day money back guarantee.

    • I really like the Garden of Life protein shakes and all their products. I almost became an Arbonne distributor but read this article and didn’t complete my registration.

  11. Thank you for educating. Many times people need to hear things repeatedly, from several sources and in different ways for awakening to happen. It’s not easy to be a voice of truth and I wanted to home in and say I appreciate you!

  12. Arbonne Consultants Son Reply

    My mother has sold Arbonne for 25+ years. She has yet to reach that level to get the Benz. LOL. Always seems out of her reach but I truly think this is more her laziness. I think being a “consultant” typically fails for most people as it is the same old system of exploiting all of your family and friends in order to build a business. Anyways. I am a 5 year cancer survivor. I used the nutritional products throughout my treatment and healing. Seeing as I was 110% unhealthy prior to this, of course my body responded well. But as My wife and I try to get ever healthier and as I do more and more research I find it increasingly difficult to support this product. Everything is so expensive. I really believed in this product when I was younger and much more naive. Now that I have a clue, I have contacted Arbonne and my mother and HER BOSS even.. and consistently am left without answers. The “sleep well” spray contains Valerian Root, which can trigger episodes for those with P.A.W.S. and who have anxiety issues and have come off a long term regime of benzos. When asking if they would consider making a sleep spray without it, I got a generic reply, automatic even. When asking why they are not certified organic or at least labeling what if anything in their product is organic, again met with an almost scary response.. from my mother, an almost cult like defensiveness, and again, from corporate, nothing but endless automated responses on top of pitiful excuses. I am glad I found your article. After asking why I would by their “digestion plus” over Infowars “Biome Defense” and being ignored, I was already near leaving this product for good. After this article I am sure of it. No one responding will ever dare tackle the very practical question you presented. WHY WOULDN’T A COMPANY LABEL NON-GMO or ORGANIC? Such a selling point. The ONLY answer is that they are NOT. Until this changes, GOODBYE ARBONNE!

    • Getting GMO certification is hugely drawn out and very expensive! It takes a long time to go through every supplier of every ingredient to show all the paperwork that certifies it non GMO. It takes years! Arbonne are working on it I’m at informed. As for organic again they never say they are and reps who do are incorrect. They use wild crafted eucalyptus and marine ingredients which cannot be certified organic. Not every ingredient can be sourced from an organic registered supplier as again, organic certification costs a lot of money. If you are going for quality and purity testing as Arbonne does then organic certification is not possible. Go and research the myth of organic too. Lots of smaller suppliers who are farming with much better methods can’t afford organic certification. It doesn’t mean they aren’t better though. Put the ingredients through purity testing and you really start to see what is good and what is just organic. Advertising has a lot to answer for as does the mass of Mis information available to everyone.

    • Look into the work of Dr. Ben Lynch. The synthetic form of Folic Acid is bad news for everyone! I read an article from an oncologist that found high levels of unmetabolised Folic Acid in cancer patients. Folic Acid is in anything labeled enriched or fortified.

      Thank you Dani for your review and deeper insight into many of the ingredients. Many of my friends sell this or other MLM brands of vitamins and shakes. They just don’t understand when I try to explain. One still didn’t believe me when she started having headaches and then had her appendix removed!

      Anyone with chronic health issues is a target by the reps of these companies. If you have chronic health issues, avoid Folic Acid! Find a functional medical doctor or a naturopath who can do appropriate testing to see what’s going on with your methylation cycle. Proper nutrition is the key.

  13. Thank you for this! I was having trouble finding time to evaluate this myself (as I was recently at one of their health and wellness presentations), so I really appreciate you sharing your research.

  14. Thank you for this article. It is always good to question what we’re being told and do our own research. Your thoughtful review was very helpful.

  15. Arbonne followers go around claiming that their products can cure cancer and actually believe you can rid your body of all acid and “alkalize” yourself. Which is not possible because your body keeps the ph level within a window of .10. Unless you have alkalosis, in which case you are probably dead or in the hospital! These people are morons and dangerous for making wreckless claims with absolutely no evidence to support them! Screw Arbonne and the cult that follows them!!

  16. Arbonne is backed by MDs, Code of Ethics, and the BBB. Facts are always a good place to start.

    “Arbonne established the Arbonne Scientic Advisory Board to extend our commitment to quality, scientic integrity and healthy lifestyles. The Advisory Board is comprised of leading professionals in science, medicine, health, wellness and nutrition.”
    http://www.arbonne.com/discover/promise/science.shtml

    http://www.arbonne.com/discover/legal/code-of-ethics.shtml

    https://www.bbb.org/sdoc/business-reviews/cosmetic-sales/arbonne-international-llc-in-irvine-ca-13015968/#bbbonlineclick

    • dani Reply

      FYI – Arbonne is not a legitimate source to share because of course they’re going to endorse their own products. Give me some independent sources and then we’ll talk.

      As for the BBB – I never contested that they were a legitimate company, although I do personally think MLMs are whack.

  17. Taking all of these comments in to account but I can say that I completed the 30 day cleanse it did not cost me $375. For a bit I was bloated but when I was consistent with drinking my water and the more I stuck with it it subsided. I have Type 2 diabetes and my numbers have never been better even when I was just eating good foods I have more energy and feel great. It took my sister many months for me to try this and I don’t regret it for a second. my whole family decided to do this together and not one of us had bad reactions and are still continuing to incorporate their products in some way. I can feel my body is healthier now than it was over a month ago. Everyone is different and their bodies react differently

  18. Alley Smith Reply

    Hmm, I have been thinking about trying it. What I don’t understand is if it’s so bad for you why are people having amazing results? Why are people who were diabetic now not, why are people no longer having issues with high blood pressure? I know not everything works for everyone, but it seems that this does work for some people. Is this review a review to compare it to other products? Is doing the 30 day challenge a healthy option for those wanting to get starting in changing their life style. I am just trying to figure out what the foundation of the review is.

    • dani Reply

      First, I think a lot of those results are extremely exaggerated because people are selling these products.

      Second, when people switch from a diet of junk food and then are drinking shakes and are more mindful of their food consumption in general, of course they’ll see some results.

      • If this or any other product gets them off junk and on a healthier regime isn’t it worth it! TO THEM!!

        Your bagging of MLM is completely biased.

        Your problem with products being not GMO Certified is a waste of time since all food and plants we eat have been Geneticly Modified for centuries….

        Being Organic is also a waste of time. Can’t change the world in our lifetime, but it is good to strive for, and it will never happen. Look how much food is sold in supermarkets that is not organic!

        So long as we are doing better than we we’re, we are better off…..

        To strive for this micronutrient or that variety ingredient is also a waiste of time. Just improve what you were doing befor.

        It appears your striving for the perfect or even better product is your real desire and is what creates your bias.

        This is a half a billon $ p.a turnover busines that has been going for nearly 40 years. If it was crap it would not have survived this competitive market place and it is actually increasing its sales a sales it rolles out into more countries.

        Penny pinching and product bashing is not worth the time you spent researching the research which could also be as biased as you….who knows?

        • dani Reply

          No, food has not been genetically modified for centuries. This is an ignorant view of GMOs that I see a lot.

          Food has been hybridized naturally for thousands of years. This is a natural occurrence that happens often even without the help of humans.

          Genetically modifying occurs in a lab and involves gene splicing and the pairing of substances that would NEVER naturally go together – ie: fish and corn. It is unnatural and independent studies have shown time and again that the consumption of genetically modified foods cause cancer.

    • It will make you feel better regardless because the program also requires you to cut out gluten, dairy, soy, corn, msg, processed foods, added sugar and a whole host of other things.

      I’m currently in the middle of the program myself, mainly because I’m doing it with a friend and she really wanted someone else to do it with her. I’ve also completed the Whole 30. Because of this, I know that it’s not the Arbonne products, it’s all of the actual food changes that are giving everyone such great results. Arbonne knows this, I’m sure. Eating real, whole foods is much cheaper and more effective than eating whole foods while spending hundreds on Arbonne products.

  19. Christine H Reply

    My husband is studying biology in college, and he was horrified by the presentation i attended for a friend. The whole alkilinity and acidity thing is false. As the author pointed out, corn is in the ingredient list, yet the program tells you to cut corn from your diet. A bit difficult to do if their own products have it, ya think? Same deal with sugar. Sorry toots, but sugar cane IS sugar. Its just not the typical refined, processed white table sugar you’re used to seeing. Molasses comes from sugar cane. Turbinado sugar comes from sugar cane. It’s sugar.
    You want to talk about a company that is fully transparent, can answer your questions with real science, and is certified organic and vegan? Ritual. Its a daily vitamin for women.
    As much as I’d like to support my friend, i cant see spending that sort of money for stuff that whole foods sells. Whole foods may be expensive, but not as much as this sort of stuff. Nor does whole foods require me to badger others into trying stuff.

    Thanks for the review. I even learned something new…beaver butts.

  20. I, too tried their protein drinks. They tasted terrible. But i do love the fizz energy drink mix.

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