The 'skinny' on nutritional, weight loss shakes

November 15, 2013

Geovanna Smith says she was looking to lose a few pounds so she tried Isogenix, a wellness system.

She did their 30 day program which included one to two shakes a day.

"Within a week, I started to notice results. I just have tons of energy and I am just doing really well, my body is responding very well to it," said Smith.

After a month, she had lost nine pounds. Smith says the shakes kept her full and she felt good drinking more vitamins and minerals.

Shan Egan of Body Count Fitness drinks Shakeology shakes with a couple extra ingredients.

"It's just easy, it's a no brainer, kind of dumbing down breakfast," said Egan.

For him, it's also about getting good nutrients and more protein to keep him going.

ViSalus is another brand heavily hitting the market.

Emily Rubin is a registered dietitian at Jefferson University Hospital. She says there are pros and cons to all nutritional and weight loss shakes.

The first pro is convenience.

"You take a scoop, you add it to water, you shake it, you're getting lots of vitamins and minerals, omega 3's and flax and things that you may not be eating," said Rubin.

Another pro is as a meal replacement. It can be helpful with weight loss in the short-term.

Rubin says look for one under 200 calories.

"You definitely want the higher protein and lower sugar. That's an added benefit and a higher fiber because all of those things are going to make you feel more satisfied and feel more full," she said.

That also brings us to the cons.

First, most of the shakes are expensive and secondly, some have potential side effects.

"Some of them may add inulin or selium which is a fiber and if you are not used to taking it, it can cause bloating, diarrhea and stomach discomfort," said Rubin.

Also, natural is not always healthy. Rubin says watch out for shakes that have a lot of herbs because many are not regulated and can be dangerous.

In fact, green tea extract has been found to cause liver toxicity in large amounts.

Anything that's considered to be a "cleanse" or "detox" can be risky.

Overall, you should look at all the ingredients and talk to your doctor before starting any program.

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