Q and A: Is the Herbalife Diet Legit?

Hey lady have you ever done any research on the Herbalife diet? I started it, as a meal replacement plan twice a day but have read mixed reviews… any thoughts? I’m digging the shake for a meal thing just worried that there is too much sugar and it is quite expensive. Also, if Herbalife is bad, can you recommend protein meal supplements that are better? – R.B.

Oh, diets. VERY rarely am I going to say a diet is a good idea, especially one that asks you to replace fresh, whole foods with processed snacks or shakes. Most of the time, diets aren’t necessarily dangerous, but I don’t recommend them because they aren’t necessary. They aren’t worth the money, they don’t teach you how to properly eat or exercise after the diet is over and “diet” to me isn’t something you go on, it’s what you eat. As I like to say, “If you eat tennis ball fuzz and rocks, that’s your diet.”

Sometimes, though, people like to have a jump start. I get that. I do it myself sometimes. If I’ve had a few days of parties or eating out or what have you that leave me feeling junky, I’ll take a few days to cut out any extras and stick with fresh fruits and veggies and lean proteins to clean out my system and start fresh.

My biggest issue with diets, I guess, is that if you have the motivation and the ability to follow a strict diet, you are more than capable of holding yourself accountable to make smart choices, which, guess what? Is free! Learning how to properly fuel your body and which foods are beneficial for the results you are looking for gives you some flexibility, so you arent thrown into a tailspin the second you get invited to a party or out to dinner. Some diets do, in fact, offer you that flexibility, so let’s take at look at Herbalife and see how it stacks up.

Herbalife offers a wide variety of options depending on your goals. For our purposes, let’s focus on Weight Management Quick Start option. If you are looking to drop some poundage, Herbalife has a crap ton of shakes and supplements you can enjoy instead of eating real food. The Herbalife program has you replace 2 meals a day with their shakes, then eat 1 sensible meal a day. You also need to take their multivitamin and “cell activator pills,” whatever the hell that means, daily.

The Good

It’s convenient. There is little to know prep to shake a shake and down a pill.

You’ll lose weight, at first. With the drastic cut in calories, you are going to see initial weight loss, but after a while your results may stall. If calories are cut, your body will respond by dropping weight until it realizes that you are starving it, in which case it will rebell and hold onto everything you eat. This is called “starvation mode” and goes back to the caveman days when we had to hunt our food. You will be hungry at first, but if that hunger goes away, it’s not because you are used to it, it’s because your body doesn’t want to signal you with hunger to go hunt for some food, it wants you to save your energy because it thinks you will soon die, in a cave, hangry*, by yourself.

I see no dangers in the MOST of the actual products themselves. There are a variety of shakes for different tastes, and they provide a good boost of vitamins, protein and fiber. There are too many different supplements to count, but most of them are multivitamins and contain herbs. HOWEVER: some Herbalife products contain ephedrine, which has been shown to cause heart problems. Individuals with heart problems, history of stroke, thyroid problems, headaches, diabetes, glaucoma, depression, prostate enlargement and seizures are recommended to avoid products with ephedrine.

The Bad

Ephedrine. It’s dangerous. Reported side effects of Herbalife products are rapid and/or irregular heartbeats, severe headaches, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and loss of consciousness.

You are going to be hungry. Only eating 3 times a day, with two of those being a shake, your stomach will be empty and grumbling a majority of the time. Any expert will tell you, the most effective way to lose weight is to keep your metabolism constantly revved with small, healthy snacks and meals, about 5-6 daily. Anything less will slow your metabolism, and slow your results.

It’s expensive. Exactly how much does it cost? Good luck finding out. I searched the site, which sends you to a distributor, which means this company is really focused on making money from income off of their distributors’ sales in a pyramid scheme like fashion, (and a quick google search backs this claim with many lawsuits) as opposed to offering their consumers an easy place to find information, ask questions and recieve support on their weight loss journey. The website is a big grab bag of “look at everything we sell!” but no offer of what to choose for your specific situation, because the more you buy, the better. I did run a search on Amazon, however, and you can buy the programs for anywhere around $120-$200. Each shake costs about 30 bucks, each supplement bottle runs for about $20, the cell activator is around $10, and they have endless more options if you’re willing to drop your dough.

Conclusion:

If you are in good health, Herbalife isn’t dangerous, but there’s really no point. It’s forced starvation, basically. If you have hundreds of dollars to blow, give it a shot and see how long you last sipping your meals through a straw. If you have the motivation and drive to follow this for an extended period of time, about 3 months is what they recommend, use that motivation to eat real foods in consistent intervals that will not only keep your metabolism revved, but keep you from feeling hungry. Then, you can use all that money you save to buy a smaller wardrobe.

Again, I recommend getting your nutrients from foods, so for lean protein try tuna, fish, and chicken, or for non-meat options, try tofu, nuts, seeds and whole grains. A scoop of protein powder shaken up in a smoothie or just with some water is also a good option as a snack.

* Hangry: the anger and short temper you feel when you are hungry. Also see: hunger rage.

3 thoughts on “Q and A: Is the Herbalife Diet Legit?

  1. joanna says:

    this is very closed minded. I do the herbalife program and sell it to, i dont endorse starvation thanks. I as well as everybody i know that sell it, push people to snack every 3 hrs at least. small and healthy snacks. Also, the shakes are about 200 calories or less. i personally do 3 a day and a regular healthy meal. i am still losing weight, i have been doing the program about 3 weeks maybe more and have dropped 15 lbs. i feel great and actually have not felt better for a long time. alot of the “points” you make are quite obviously your opinion only. If anybody is being told to starve themselves is is because their distributor is stupid and lacks any proper training in health and nutrition. those people should be cut off from selling it bc they are putting people in danger, however anybody that chooses to do a weight loss program or diet should themselves do a little research for thier own good and not rely on somebody without proper qualifications to keep them safe.

  2. Haley says:

    If the shakes we’re as filling and healthy as they should be you wouldn’t need to “push” healthy snacks. Even if the products were really healthy and nutrient dense, once the client stops taking it or can’t afford it anymore they’ll most likely gain the weight back because they never learned how to eat properly.

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