Is Herbalife Safe?


In today’s world, weight loss has become more important. And there are tons of supplements that promise to help you achieve it. One is Herbalife. But is Herbalife safe?

We answer this question by going into what their products and protein shakes are made of. And why has there been controversy over their nutrition and weight loss supplements.


What is Herbalife?

Before getting into the details of whether or not Herbalife is safe. And, if it is good for your health or not. We take a closer look at what Herbalife is all about.

Herbalife is actually an American multinational companies with offices in the U.K. and other countries around the world. It sells its products, which are in health related, via multi-level marketing.

Most of its products help include those for weight management, nutritional supplements as well as sports nutrition. They also have personal care products within their lineup of products.

For most of us, we’re probably most familiar with their protein shakes, fitness and nutrition supplements.

Their top product is the Formula 1 protein shake. It is meant to a meal replacement shake. It is made from soy protein.


Is Herbalife Safe?

Now that we know Herbalife’s products are focused on healthy diet and weight control, it’s time to go into understanding whether or not their products and shakes are safe for use.


Controversies Involving Herbalife

herbalife-productsOne of the reasons why there’s still controversy over whether or not Herbalife is safe or not is because it does have some safety issues in its track record.

  • Its original products contained ephedrine. And while ephedrine did help in suppressing a person’s appetite, it is also harmful to health. For this reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of ephedrine in supplements in 2004. And Herbalife has since removed that ingredient from their products.
  • In addition, there have been some allegations of lead contamination in Herbalife products.
  • Then, there have been reports of liver damage in some individuals using their products. These reports have not only come from within the United States but also from countries like Spain and Switzerland.
  • Last but not least, is Herbalife’s business model. It uses a multi-level marketing style, which can be shady at times because its main goal is just to sell products without caring about the consumers. In fact, famed hedge fund manager Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital, criticized Herbalife for being a “sophisticated pyramid scheme”. Later on it went under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and agreed to pay a settlement of $200 million.

For the reasons stated above, and a few others, debate has been raging about the efficacy and safety of Herbalife products. These include those used as nutrition supplements, sports nutrition and weight management and personal care products.

Now that we know all that, let’s take a look at some of their main ingredients to see if they’re harmful to your health.


Ingredients in Herbalife Products

Given that these meal replacement shakes comprise of a wide range of products it is only possible to mention about the overall nature of ingredients that go into making these supplements.

Four major ingredients cut across the spectrum. These are:

  • sugar,
  • soy protein,
  • low level protein
  • and fructose.

A common thread found in their products is sugar and fructose. Meanwhile, while others contain artificial sweeteners.

So the question is, how do these ingredients, as they are mixed in these supplements, impact on the body?



herbalife-formula-1-nutritional-shake-mixHerbalife products contain sugar. They contain about nine grams in a single serving.

While this is lower than the levels found in unhealthy beverages and desserts, it is still significantly higher than what is found in other leading meal replacement shakes.

Considering that the American Heart Association recommends men limit their sugar to 37.5 grams and women to 25 grams per day, that’s quite a bit.

Nine grams is between 24% and 36% of our daily sugar limit. And that’s just one serving.

If your intention is lose or manage your weight, these relatively higher sugar levels might as well compromise your efforts.



Fructose is the other type of sugar found in these products. In its unprocessed form this sugar is easily digestible and used to generate energy in the body.

However, studies have demonstrated that when fructose is processed and used in drinks and food products it can contribute to heart attack, diabetes and metabolic damage.


Soy Protein Isolate

Soy is known to contain vital nutrients that have great health benefits. However, there is raging controversy especially with regard to genetically modified soy.

Studies have linked this variant of soy to serious health outcomes such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and damage of reproductive system among other concerns.

Nevertheless, using natural soy might not have these potential consequences. Users might have to ascertain the true nature of the soy used to make these meal replacements.


Low Level Protein

This is a plus for these supplements. Low protein reduces protein overload on the kidney and liver thus preventing or lowering the risk of developing liver or kidney disease.

The protein content in Herbalife products is relatively low compared to what is found in a majority of meal replacement shakes.

Thus unlike with those other supplements, consumers of Herbalife products are taking a safer route with their protein intake.


Fiber Content

Fiber plays an important role in your digestive system. Fiber in your diet assists in digestion and eliminates constipation. In addition, it fills up space in your stomach making you feel full faster.

This makes it a vital component if you are trying to control the amount of calories you would otherwise take in by eating low fiber diet.

Herbalife products boast of low fiber content, at 3 grams. With this level of fiber, users are likely to lose out on the two benefits especially the inadequacy of the products to give you a full stomach quickly.



Herbalife products have numerous health and fitness benefits to the users. However, just like with many other health and fitness products, they too have issues that need attention.

Current and potential users will have to make a choice depending on this credible information about these meal replacement shakes.

Plus, with the issues they’ve been having, it may be worth your while to check out other similar products before making your choice.


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