Shakeology is a quite successful supplement program that has been heavily marketed in the fitness industry. While there are many positives to the program, cost is not one of them. Shakeology’s formula is not all that unique. In fact, you can find a number of Shakeology alternative supplements that are far less “marketed” but essentially the same. In the following article, I’ve broken down three (4) different substitutes that I can fully endorse. Please feel free to share your comments and experiences at the bottom of the page!
Why Shakeology Isn’t the Answer: Shakeology vs Other Shakes
Two words: marketing and price. Shakeology has thousands of “distributors” who have a vested interest in pushing the product. It’s not that the product is “bad”; it’s just overpriced for what you get. In short, you are sold a lifestyle. Shakeology marketing will make you feel like you are receiving more value than you actually are. If you are looking for the extra placebo effect, then maybe it’s worth the money. However, I quickly realized that you can get the same nutrient profile (or better) and save as much as 60%!
UPDATE: Another “concern” with Shakeology is the much publicized Dr. Oz report that it contained high levels of LEAD! Before the Beachbody “coaches/distributors” start parroting the company line, I did my research. Well, I read about other people who did the research. Check this article out for further validation.
The Beachbody response? Essentially that this lead is “natural” and found in many plants. The lead is natural!? While it may be true that some common ingredients include lead, this is a result of bad farming practices. In short, Shakeology has an issue sourcing and testing their ingredients. It’s not an acceptable excuse any more than polluted drinking water in Flint Michigan is “naturally occurring”.
Unfortunately, all natural lead is not the new superfood trend…
UPDATE #2: I’ve been told that the above test was done on an “older” blend (Greenberry) that has since been rectified. This may be so. Personally, I’m not willing to take a second chance when a brand does something like this. Especially not a brand that is THE most expensive on the market and touts their “premium” ingredients as the reason for the high cost. This isn’t a case of lead paint. This is ingesting lead in a health supplement…
Here are some alternatives I’ve had success with:
Garden of Life Raw Vegan Meal Replacement
Garden of Life is one of my favorite all natural plant-based meal replacement supplements. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not for everyone. It doesn’t “taste sweet” or mix as easily as Shakeology, but it has one of the best nutrient profiles out there. What is more, it is a “clean” supplement with no additives, artificial flavoring, or other “fillers”. While mixing it with water “works”, I prefer using almond milk (lightly sweetened) or with berries and fruit in a smoothie. You can even use the same Shakeology recipes with Garden of Life as the replacement! For a full review of it, see this article.
Shakeology talks up their “unique” ingredient profile a lot, so I was very interested to check out what Garden of Life comes with as an alternative. First, its a sprouted brown rice protein base, combined with (all organic) Amaranth Sprout, Quinoa, Millet, Buckwheat, Grabanzo Bean, Lentil Flax Seed, Adzuki Bean, Coconut Blend, Seasame Seed, Chia Seed, Pumpkin Seed, Spirulina, Chlorella, Alfalfa, Barely Grass, Wheat Grass, Cherry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, and other raw enzymes. In total, it actually measures up to and even exceeds the ingredient profile of Shakeology.
Perhaps most importantly, Garden of Life Raw has 34 grams of protein per serving. This is 2x the 17 grams of protein from Shakeology. If the ingredient profile isn’t enough, this sure is. If you are serious about losing weight and finding a real meal replacement, then the key thing to look for is protein content. Here, Garden of Life is clearly a more efficient protein source.
Finally, Garden of Life is better than Shakeology when it comes to price. Standard Shakeology bags come with aprox. 30 servings at $129.95. Garden of Life comes in a 14 serving container at less than $40. That’s $2.87 per serving for Garden of Life vs $4.33 per serving for Shakeology.
You can find Garden of Life for even less than $40 at this listing here.
Nature’s Bounty Protein Shake Mix
Nature’s Bounty is similar in many ways to Shakeology, with a few key differences. The only downside is that it has only 15 grams of protein, instead of the 17 grams in Shakeology. However, it is ideal for those looking for a low calorie and low sugar alternative. It has fewer calories than both Shakeology and Garden of Life, with just 110 calories per serving and 2 grams of sugar.
The protein blend is a combination of whey, soy and additional vitamins and enzymes. As such, it’s not a vegan (dairy free) supplement, but it does use all natural ingredients. Another aspect that I like about Nature’s Bounty is that it has 50mg less sodium than Shakeology. Sodium is considered a cheap flavoring “filler” and Shakeology has over 150mg of it. No bueno for me. Nature’s Bounty also has 1/3 of the sugar of Shakeology.
As a disclaimer, this supplement does contain soy. If you have sensitivities to soy or just don’t want it, try one of the other supplements instead.
The last key selling point for Nature’s Bounty vs Shakeology is the cost per serving. The standard Nature’s Bounty containers only have 13 servings; however, at about $15 per container the cost per serving is quite affordable. It comes out to $1.15 vs $4.33 for Shakeology. You can find good deals at this listing for Nature’s Bounty.
Labrada Lean Body Meal Replacement
If you are looking for something more traditional, but still less than Shakeology, Labrada Lean Body is a an excellent alternative. If the Garden of Life protein is too “green” or vegan for you, Labrada will taste quite similar to Shakeology. You might not even notice a difference. It’s one of the better conventional alternatives to Shakeology out there.
First, there are a few things that I don’t quite like about Labrada. It has 350mg of sodium per serving, which is much higher than I usually like to go for a meal replacement supplement. It also has 290 calories per serving, again higher than Shakeology and other alternatives. However, it really does act as a genuine meal replacement. Sometimes Shakeology left me feeling hungry all the time and not fully satisfied. The trick to sustaining a diet like this long term is having a meal replacement that actually feeds you.
The critical component of Labrada is 35 grams of protein per serving. This is the best pure protein meal replacement in its class. It’s even 1 gram higher than my favorite Garden of Life. It also more than double what Shakeology can offer. In terms of cost per serving, it’s still a LOT more affordable than Shakeology at $2.19 per serving vs $4.33 (Shakeology). You can check out the full product listing for Labrada Lean body here.
Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein
I’ve recently had a good experience with Orgain protein, (full review here). For people who are concerned primarily about taste and texture, this is a good option to consider. It comes in a creamy chocolate fudge or vanilla bean flavor, both highly mixable and great tasting.
Orgain really threads the needle with a smooth taste and simple, quality ingredients. It doesn’t have all the “extra” superfoods like Shakeology and Vega One (below), but it does have a solid nutritional foundation. The protein blend is a combination of my favorite plant based sources, pea protein, hemp protein, and sprouted chia seed protein. In total, you get 21 grams of protein per serving, 4 grams more than from Shakeology.
What you get is an Organic, non-GMO, soy-free supplement. It’s not marketed as a full meal replacement, but you can definitely use it as one. If you feel you are missing out on some of the superfoods, try adding something like Amazing Grass Green Superfood. There is no sugar added and low sodium at 125mg per serving. It also only has 150 calories per serving, slightly less than Shakeology.
Best of all, it’s a fraction of the price. I order mine here for a 20 serving container.
Vega One Meal Replacement Shake
I’ve actually done a head-to-head comparison of Shakeology vs Vega One here, but it’s definitely worth mentioning Vega One in this article as well. It’s recently been one of my go-to meal replacements and definitely a top option to consider in lieu of Shakeology.
Like Garden of Life, Vega One is a completely plant-based supplement, without any dairy. This is good for a number of reasons, but mainly because most of us already have quite a bit of dairy present in our daily diet. It’s good to mix things up, and plant based supplements can aid in digestion and help cleanse your dietary tract.
There is a perception that vegan supplements are light on protein, but Vega One has 20 grams of high quality plant protein per serving. This is a full 3 grams more than Shakeology. It has 160 calories just like Shakeology, less saturated fat, and much less sodium (only 30mg vs 150mg). It also features 7 fewer carbs than Shakeology per serving, has the same amount of fiber, but over 5 grams less of sugar. It really hits all the marks in terms of nutrition facts that you want in a good meal replacement. It also has a lot of antioxidants and “super foods” that defenders of Shakeology often point to as Shakeology’s key advantage.
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Vega One isn’t as cheap as some, which is my only hesitation in recommending it. However, at just over $50 for a container of 20 servings that still works out to only around $2.60-70 per serving, almost half as expensive as Shakeology. That’s actually a pretty good price for a premium supplement. You can check out this listing for the current deals on Vega One.
For an easy “at a glance” comparison of the five supplements (including Shakeology), see the chart below:
|Shakeology Alternative||Calories||Saturated Fat||Sodium||Carbs||Fiber||Sugars||Protein||Price|
|Shakeology (30 Servings)||160||1g||150mg||17g||6g||6g||17g||Click here for latest|
|Garden of Life (14 servings)||270||0g||95mg||35g||9g||11g||34g||Click here for latest|
|Nature's Bounty (13 servings)||110||1g||100mg||10g||6g||2g||15g||Click here for latest|
|Labrada Lean Body (16 servings)||290||2g||350mg||21g||7g||6g||35g||Click here for latest|
|Vega One (20 servings)||160||0.5||30mg||10g||6g||<1g||20g||Click here for latest|
|Orgain Organic (20 servings)||150||0g||125mg||13g||5g||1g||21g||Click here for latest|
Still Stuck? Take My Interactive Quiz Below!
But Owen, These Aren’t Meal Replacements Like Shakeology!
- I’ve heard this criticism a few times, but here’s the truth. First, Vega One, Garden of Life, and Labrada Lean Body ARE marketed as meal replacements.
- Second, the difference between a “protein supplement” and a “meal replacement” is largely in how you use it! For example. I’ve used Nature’s Bounty shake mix, added berries and veggies in the blender, consume it at 7 AM and – Voilia! – Meal Replacement!
- When I evaluate a “protein supplement” or “meal replacement shake”, I look at the same nutrition label and ingredient list. A lot of times the term “meal replacement” is a marketing tactic. Sorry for the tangent – but I wanted to clear this up.
But Owen, Good People Make Money from Shakeology!
- I get it. I’m not trying to put down people who promote products. I am trying to present the other side of the story. A side that doesn’t usually get told because BeachBody provides a lot of incentives to stick to the company line. I’m not anti-corporate, or anti-making money, I’m just anti-bias.
- In my personal experience, most of the BeachBody coaches and distributors make professional trainers look bad. Just because you start calling yourself a “coach” doesn’t mean you are.