Okay, so there is this new chain of shake shops popping up all around my area in Upstate New York. They are promoting healthy shakes & teas with very vague information on their ingredients and contents of their shakes. They are 100% trying to hide the fact that they are nothing but a front for Herbalife. That’s right these so called shake shops are nothing more than Herbalife Nutrition Clubs that are part of the larger MLM company.
Cut the Nutrition B.S.
So I’ve been focusing on my brand a lot lately and what I like to educate you on. One thing I love doing is providing you with my real take on all things nutrition, fad diets, supplements, influencers, etc. I want to be the place you come when you have ANY questions on diet culture, brands, or humans giving out nutriiton advice. I also want to be a person that stands up for you in the nutrition space and calls out BS! when I see something that’s not right.
That being said I figured I want to put my B.S. (Bachelor of Science) in Nutrition into full effect and break down the fads and everything in between in the nutrition space and hence the term “Cut the Nutrition B.S.” really speaks to me. So I’ve been sitting on a topic for a few months now and think it’s finally time I break my silence. Today I’m going to cut the nutrition B.S. by starting with Herbalife Nutrition Clubs.
Herbalife Still Exists?!
HOLD UP. Herbalife still exists?!?! Yes, I couldn’t believe it either to be honest. I remember hearing about Herbalife many moons ago. I remember them getting in some kind of lawsuit back in 2017 where they had to pay back consultants because they were losing money and never made what they were promised. And I swore they must’ve died off. The FTC was involved and was quoted saying “it’s virtually impossible to make money selling Herbalife products” (read more here).
I was terribly mistaken. They still exist.
What is Herbalife!?
Herbalife is a MLM supplement company promoting health and weight loss products. They even have meal plans that incorporate their shakes, bars and supplements. These meal plans are atrocious and well under even what you need for weight loss. It recommends for my nutrition plan to eat 1500 calories (for maintenance). Yeah, no thanks.
I’d recommend if you have 2 hours to dedicate to a Netflix documentary, that you watch Betting on Zero so you can familiarize yourself with Herbalife. While I know documentaries can be incredibly one sided, what you find from talking to those in the biz and all over the internet is that it’s pretty much true. This company is more or less a pyramid scheme and people are not losing financially but also health-wise. For crying out loud their was evidence that Herbalife caused liver toxicity & death (read here) due to heavy metals, toxic compounds, bacterial contaminants and psychotropic agents, YIKES!
Herbalife Nutrition Clubs
Okay, so why do I bring all of this up?! Well there has been a recent rash of nutrition shake shops popping up in the Albany area. I live in upstate New York where we tend to be late adopters to things like this. So when I realized we had NINE Herbalife Nutrition clubs in my area I figured this had to be more of a widespread problem then even I was aware of.
These clubs all have very similar features because they are not allowed to do certain things based on Herbalife’s rules/regulations. For one they are normally in strip mall with very minimal signage and almost no marketing (except Facebook pages). There is no noticeable reference to Herbalife unless you peak behind the counter or catch the owners posting something with an Herbalife sign on accident.
Per the documentary, Betting on Zero, these clubs are not allowed to have advertising outside of the club and are not allowed to “attract” customers. However, it appears once your inside, all bets are off. I’ve had people tell me when they go in there they have to sign up to be a “member” and are asked to give their email address. While the shakes and teas only cost about $4-6 this is because the goal of the nutrition club is NOT to make money off of the shakes but to make money by getting YOU, the consumer to sign up to be an Herbalife distributor. They are hoping that you will be on their team and that’s how they bank on making money.
Per the documentary, the average Herbalife Nutrition Club loses $12,000 per year. Ouch.
What are in these Shakes & Teas?!
Well, interestingly enough the shakes are just powder mixed with more powder and water. No joke, the use 2 scoops of their Formula 1 Protein mixed with 2 scoops of their Protein Drink Mix mixed with water, sounds yummy, am I right?!!?
I found the above on Herbalife’s website because I also asked a local shop what their ingredients and nutrition information was. When they sent it to me (below), I wanted to find out where they got that nutrition information, bingo! 4 scoops of protein powder and 8 fl oz. of water for $5 and you’re good to go.
The biggest issue?!!? The FDA doesn’t regulate supplements and thus you have NO idea what are in these drinks. You could be paying for metal, bacteria, drugs, you literally have NO idea. It’s too risky of a business for me to even TRY one of these because what’s the point?! It’s not regulated and it’s not real food, I’m all set.
From their facebook page
Calories – 200-235 (some specialty shakes may run a little higher, or if you opt for extras you will need to take that into account)
Protein – 24g of plant based protein
Sugar – 9 grams of sugar (except for Cookie Dough which has 1/2 TBSP of Chocolate Chips)
Carbs- 13g of net carbs (18 without subtracting fiber) If you get Oatmeal Cookie, Oatmeal Raisin or No Bake Cookie your carb count will be slightly higher as there is 1/2 TBSP- 1 TBSP Oatmeal.
Fat – 4.5g of fat
Fiber – 5g (Apple Pie & Cider Donut have additional fiber and any Shake has the option to have unflavored or Apple flavored fiber added for an additional charge)
Our teas have 0g of fat, 0g of sugar (we use Stevia (plant based) beverage mixes) and have less than 4g of carbs (Boosted and Lit) and less than 1g for energizing.
Energizing – 5 calories, 82mg of caffeine
Boosted – 15 calories, 157mg of caffeine
Lit – 29 calories, 197mg of caffeine
All of our Boosted and Lit Teas contain 100% of your daily recommended dose of Vitamin C, 300% of your B6 and 200% of your B12 as well as other energy supporting B vitamins.
All of our teas are thermogenic therefore naturally boost your metabolism and become a negative calorie beverage.”
Capital Region Herbalife Nutrition Clubs
From the research I’ve done, I’ve been able to find 9 local nutrition clubs (…and counting) in my area. I’m not sure if there are any more or what they are called in your neck of the woods but I wanted to give you the information so that you would know what I’m talking about.
These clubs have little signage, only have a Facebook page (no website) and you’ll find all the powders galore when you walk into their shops, ZERO real fruits/veggies or real food.
Here’s a list of the 12 I’ve found, do yourself a favor and unfollow them:
Elite Nutrition– Latham, NY
Essential Nutrition– Albany, NY
Ideal Nutrition– Halfmoon, NY
Identical Nutrition – Troy, NY
Loyal Nutrition – Schenectady, NY
Unbeatable Nutrition– Troy, NY
Unbelievable Nutrition– Troy, NY
Unbreakable Nutrition – West Sand Lake, NY
Unique Nutrition– Kinderhook, NY
Unmatched Nutrition– Rensselaear, NY
Unstoppable Nutrition– East Greenbush, NY
Untouchable Nutrition– Albany, NY
*Note: I am trying to update them as I find them, so feel free to let me know if I’ve missed any. This list started at 9 and is now up to 12 since this posting first went live.
The Verdict? I call B.S.!
Ok, the whole segment of Cut the B.S. is meant for me to expose the good, the not-so-good and the down right bad that’s out there as far as nutrition goes. I call mad B.S. on Herbalife and their Nutrition Clubs. These clubs are promoting nothing healthy and are looking to make you one of them, if that doesn’t scream cult or pyramid scheme I don’t know what is. Save your $5 and go buy yourself something from somewhere that sells REAL FOOD.
What You Can Do About It
Listen, I’m not here to shame you or blame you for having gone to these clubs in the past. It’s easy to think they are healthy and good for you when the marketing tells you nothing to make you second guess. These nutrition clubs want to promote health but they are doing anything but. This nutrition club is actually just a way to make money selling Herbalife and unfortunately the managers of said clubs are misinformed by Herbalife themselves and will most likely stop selling at some point.
Here’s what I would recommend:
- Do not buy from these clubs. I get it, you might have a friend’s sister who owns one, but you aren’t helping them in the long run. Most nutrition clubs don’t ever see a profit anyway so the sooner they shut down and focus on other jobs, probably the best for everyone.
- Inform those around you and send them this blog post. You don’t have to shame or blame them, just inform them.
- Support local businesses that are selling REAL FOOD. There are plenty of other shake and smoothie and tea shops in your area. Go spend the extra $$ on them because they are spending good money to provide you with real food and real nutrition.
It’s that simple. I’m not trying to bring anyone down, I just want YOU to do what’s healthiest for you. We do not know whats in their powders and it’s not worth putting it into your body when you can get all your nutrition needs from REAL FOOD. If they are selling you on the weight loss qualities of their products, believe me there are far better ways to lose weight if you need to, it’s called reducing caloric intake and eating REAL FOOD.
Okay, that’s a wrap, if you’ve seen these clubs before, list them out in the comments so we can all be aware of them! And don’t hesitate to tag me on social media @thesassydietitian .
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