After my post on Herbalife and how unhealthy their products are, I got a lot of questions about Isagenix. I am pretty clear on eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods for optimum nutrition, but it seems that people are still taken with idea of meal replacement shakes and bars. Let me clear that up with an unbiased review of Isagenix.
It ain’t great.
While not as bad as Herbalife, Isagenix still uses some ingredients that I find questionable. If something was developed in a lab, not grown in nature, is unpronounceable or otherwise unfamiliar, do not eat it. Lasting health and weight loss does not come from a shake, a bar, or a “SlimCake.”
Below are common ingredients found in Isagenix products:
- rancid vegetable oils
- agave syrup
- isolated fructose
- fractionated palm kernel oil
- synthetic vitamins and minerals that are not bioavailable
Below is the ingredient list for the Peanut butter FiberSnack:
Below is the ingredient list for the Slim Cake:
This picture is blurry because I had to make it larger so you could actually see the ingredients, but these are the ingredients in the vanilla shake:
Here are the ingredients in the black sesame shake:
Low Heat Nonfat Dry Milk
Guess what nonfat dry milk is? A denatured protein. It boggles my mind that fat is still vilified, that the healthiest part of milk is removed to make it “healthier.” There are several ways to make nonfat dry milk, and they all start with skim milk. From Butter Believer’s article on skim milk,
Before processing, skim milk has a very unappetizing blueish color, a chalky taste, and watery texture that doesn’t resemble natural milk at all. So, to whiten, thicken, and make it taste a little more normal, powdered milk solids are often mixed into the milk.
What’s so bad about powdered milk? Well, in the manufacturing process, liquid milk is forced through tiny holes at very high pressure, which causes the cholesterol in the milk to oxidize, and toxic nitrates to form. Oxidized cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, while unoxidized cholesterol from unprocessed foods is actually an antioxidant to help fight inflammation in the body. The proteins found in powdered milk are so denatured that they are unrecognizable by the body and contribute to inflammation.
The term “natural flavors” is loosely regulated. Technically, MSG and aspartame can be listed as natural flavors.
I am not a fan of fructose. Yes, it is found in fruit and that’s okay. I don’t eat or recommend eating an excess of fruit, and therefore fructose isn’t problematic. While glucose is used by every cell in the body, fructose is only metabolized by the liver. Too much fructose is toxic to the liver, and there is generally an abundance of fructose in most diets (especially the Standard American Diet). An excess of fructose raises triglycerides and increases fat production.
Check out this nifty chart Dr. Mercola created regarding fructose consumption:
Dr. Mercola also states that,
Fructose is virtually identical to alcohol with regard to the metabolic havoc it wreaks…When you consume fructose, 100 percent of it goes directly to your liver to be metabolized; this is why it can be extremely hepatotoxic when it overloads your liver, just like alcohol.
Keeping a balanced omega-3 to omerga-6 ratio is extremely important. An abundance of omega-6 fatty acids cause inflammation and wreak havoc on the body. Unfortunately, sunflower oil is extremely high in polyunsaturated fat and per one cup has 436 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 86776 mg of omega-6 fatty acids.
Fractioned Palm Kernel Oil
I actually support organic, sustainably sourced palm oil. It’s definitely a healthy fat. Fractioned palm kernel oil, however, is a whole different ballpark. According to Rees Moerman, product engineer at Spectrum Naturals, fractioned palm kernel oil is made by extracting oil from the pit using a gasoline-like hydrocarbon solvent.
Canola oil is one of the most damaging oils on the market today. It is found in most junk foods and is normally used as a frying oil due to it’s high smoke point. Not only is majority of canola in the US genetically modified, it is extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids. This causes severe inflammation, especially if ingested regularly.
Also, unless expeller pressed (which the ingredient label does not specify), canola oil (as well as soy, corn and grape seed oil) is processed using hexane, a neurotoxin. According the the EPA,
Hexane is used to extract edible oils from seeds and vegetables, as a special-use solvent, and as a cleaning agent. Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to high levels of hexane causes mild central nervous system (CNS) effects, including dizziness, giddiness, slight nausea, and headache. Chronic (long-term) exposure to hexane in air is associated with polyneuropathy in humans, with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue observed. Neurotoxic effects have also been exhibited in rats. No information is available on the carcinogenic effects of hexane in humans or animals. EPA has classified hexane as a Group D, not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity.
Maltodextrin is a processed food additive, generally derived from corn. It is unhealthy.
This is just an example of the synthetics found in Isagenix. Is tricalcium phosphate inherently harmful? No. But does take synthetic vitamins, day after day, become an issue? yes. According to WebMD, tricalcium phosphate side effects include:
- Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)
- Throat swelling (which may also cause breathing difficulty)
- Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
- Severe pain in the throat
- Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
- Loss of vision
- Severe abdominal pain
- Intestinal obstruction
- Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in the stool
- Decreased appetite
- Heart and blood vessels
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
- Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues
- Severe change in pH (too much or too little acid in the blood, which leads to damage in all of the body organs)
- Nervous system
- Stupor (lack of alertness)
For exmaple, calcium d pantothenate is a synthetic vitamin. Not everyone is going to have the same vitamin and mineral necessities depending on their diet. It’s irresponsible to subscribe everyone to the same vitamin and mineral content. Vitamins and minerals are synergistic and everyone has varying needs.
Like Herbalife, Isagenix may be an effective weight loss tool. So is anorexia. Does that make it healthy? Does that mean a person should use it to lose weight? No.
We need to stop looking for health in a pill, in a shake, or in any other quick fix. The only way to truly be healthy is to eat well, to eat real, whole, unprocessed food. I teach you exactly how to do this in my 21 Day Lifestyle Transformation.
Do not fall for meal replacement shakes, for protein bars, or otherwise gimmicky foods. These companies produce cheap, toxic products and push them off on people as healthy alternatives (to what exactly I’m not sure). Instead, watch my video on how to make a protein shake that is not only unprocessed but actually good for you.
As of November 2014, there are over 800 comments on this article. I will now automatically delete comments that include or are similar to the following:
- comments that are offensive in any way
- name calling (this tells me you have no better argument against me by the way)
- calling me a liar – scroll down, I linked to my sources as well as directly to the ingredients on the Isagenix website
- commenters that try to argue by providing “research” directly from Isagenix
- commenters that accuse me of downing an MLM company just for being MLM, I never did this
- and in general, uneducated comments that do not promote the discussion surrounding Isagenix and the ingredients found in Isagenix products
*It’s come to my attention that an external website that sells Isagenix says the whey they use is from grass-fed cows and that they do not use GMOs. I am suspicious of this for several reasons; the first being that this information is from a website whose intention is to sell this very product. It is not labeled as grass-fed whey. They also are no GMO-free verified and nowhere do they label their products as GMO-free. That being said, even if all of the products in Isagenix were 100% organic, the ingredients are still toxic. Soybean oil, gluten, fructose, non-fat dry milk, corn bran, etc. are not healthy.
**While Isagenix is not verified GMO free in the US, it is in Australia and New Zealand. They do say they do not use any GMO products. Though considering they do use soy, corn and canola, which are over 90% genetically modified, I am suspicious. Consider that there isn’t even approval for GM wheat and it was found growing in Oregon, then consider that over 90% of these crops are GM and often cross contaminated with non-GM crops.
*FYI – things like non-fat milk, which is contained in the above, IS a denatured protein. This also contains soy.
*contains wheat and soy as well as rancid vegetable oils