Isagenix is one of the major meal replacement players in the market. Like many similar “programs”, they leverage a full lineup of supplements and proteins into a “total body makeover” solution.
Having worked in the fitness industry for years, I’ve seen so many people – particularly women – come in to my training sessions talking about Isagenix, Shakeology, Advocare, Slim Fast, etc… I can understand the allure. All of these companies have HUGE marketing budgets and have high brand recognition. But the advertising hides some of the hard truths about the industry.
After doing my round-up of the top Shakeology alternatives, I had a reader ask about Isagenix. I figured it was a good jumping off point to discuss Isagenix and some of the substitutes available on the market. I’m not saying that you can’t have success with Isagenix. In fact, many people will see some results.
However, my main concern with programs like this is 1) the high relative cost, and 2) the quality of ingredients. In order for me to talk about the “cons” of Isagenix, I think its important to recommend some alternatives. You’ll see that I’ve highlighted 3 Isagenix substitutes below.
Bottom Line Up Front: I personally prefer Vega One as the top alternative to Isagenix. It’s generally cheaper and the ingredients are a lot more straightforward.
So What’s Problem with Isagenix Anyway? Isagenix Shakes vs Other Shakes
The MLM Factor: The problem with Isagenix – and similar programs – is that it is incredibly difficult to find honest reviews and assessments.
Other protein supplements seem to have a fair amount of “pros” and “cons” to them, but virtually every search result in Google has nothing but glowing results for Isagenix. Why is this, you might ask? Three big letters. M. L. M. Isagenix, like Shakeology, Herablife, and so many others, is supported by a multi-level marketing system.
Most people equate MLMs with scams (like pyramid schemes). I don’t think they all are, but it is always important to ask: “to whom does it benefit”. In this case, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of individuals who have a vested interest in pumping up Isagenix to surreal levels.
This is all backed up by quasi-scientific claims about the miracle of Isagenix. For a good medical counterpoint, (check out this link) critique by Harriet Hall, MD.
The Cost Factor: Beyond the marketing shenanigans, there is a very practical reason not to go with Isagenix. Price. Isagenix is cheaper than some other supplement programs like Shakeology, but it’s still a pretty expensive system.
For the shakes alone, you are looking at $51.95 for 14 servings per container. That works out to $3.71 per serving. Not terrible if you buy the marketing that $3.71 is a lot cheaper than a heart surgery! This is actually a legitimate claim they make.
When I was first considering Isagenix as a legitimate supplement, price was the first concern I had. In short, you can find a bunch of more affordable options with better ingredients and less “filler” and “marketing”.
See below for my top recommendations:
Nature’s Bounty Protein Shake
If you are looking for an affordable protein shake with quality ingredients, Nature’s Bounty is my favorite. It might not be very heavily marketed or promoted, but it’s worth every penny for what you get. What I particularly like is that it is a “clean” protein supplement without all the additives, filler, and other junk common in many mainstream brands.
The only downside is that it only features 15 grams of protein per serving, vs the 23 grams found in IsaLean. Most people just look at protein content, which I think is really dangerous. Below I’ve highlighted some of the other key ingredients.
Compared side-by-side to IsaLean, there is a lot to like. While IsaLean doesn’t have a ton of extra sodium, Nature’s Bounty comes in with 15mg less at only 100mg. Sodium is a very cheap flavoring filler and most of us already get more than enough sodium in our daily diets anyway. Sugar is another enemy of high quality protein supplements. It might taste good to have sugar with your protein, but it really IS counter productive.
Isalean has a whopping 16 grams of sugar per serving! Nature’s Bounty only has 2 grams. Looking at Carbs and Calories, Isagenix IsaLean has 240 calories per serving from 27 carbs. That’s a lot of extra “fluff” if you are trying to lose weight. Nature’s Bounty comes in at 110 calories and 10 carbs, respectively. Finally, Nature’s Bounty offers a bit more fiber with 6 grams (vs 4 grams in IsaLean).
Overall, Nature’s Bounty gives you everything you need. It’s a great source of fiber, protein, Vitamins B, C, and probiotics. You might be tempted by all the extra “superfood” ingredients in Isagenix, but I’ve found that a lot of these are placebos and/or based on shaky science with hyped marketing.
Most importantly, at about $15 per container (13 servings), Nature’s Bounty costs about $1.15 per serving versus $3.71 for Isagenix. Nature’s Bounty is about 1/3rd of the cost. You can find it (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
Tera’s Whey Organic Protein
I recently stumbled on Tera’s Whey by accident. One of the women I was training asked me my opinion about it and I honestly had never heard of it before. This prompted me to do some research, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.
First, Tera’s Whey is a USDA certified organic product that uses only milk from grass fed cows. This is a nice bonus for me, as I always have a preference for organic over generic (especially with all the hormones in milk these days).
I really liked this protein supplement because it came close to matching IsaLean’s protein content. It fell 2 grams short, but 21 grams overall was good enough for me. Again, it’s the other ingredients that will kill you.
Speaking of which, Tera’s Whey only had 50mg of sodium (best in class) and 4 grams of sugar. These are both far better than Isagenix (115mg and 16g). Like Nature’s Bounty, Tera’s Whey came in at 110 calories, more than cutting in half IsaLean’s calorie count.
The only drawback I could find was that Tera’s Whey is not a significant source of fiber. That’s okay by me because I can take a separate fiber supplement, if needed. Looking at the price analysis, Tera’s Whey was more expensive than Nature’s Bounty per serving, but still much less than Isagenix IsaLean. You’ll spend about $2.33 per serving, compared to $3.71 for IsaLean. (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).
Vega One Nutritional Shake
Vega One is one of the more popular plant-based supplement shakes out there. If you don’t want to do whey, this is a great alternative. It also has a lot of the other (and more useful) vitamins and minerals that Isagenix advertises. You might have already heard of Vega One or seen it on shelves. It has a strong track record and has been one of my go-to supplements for the past few years.
Vega One comes close to matching IsaLean at 20 grams of protein per serving. It also provides more fiber (6 grams), less saturated fat (0.5g), and the least sugar (<1g) and sodium (30mg) of any supplement I’ve seen.
You also won’t be packing on extra calories, with only 160 per serving and 10 carbs. You’ll also get 6 servings of greens (broccoli, spirulina, kale, chlorella, etc..), 50% of your daily vitamin intake, omega-3’s, antioxidants, and the equivalent of 1 cup of yogurt’s probiotics.
Overall, Vega One represent an additional up-front cost investment when compared with the IsaLean shake container alone. However, Vega One’s “large tubs” contain approximately 20 servings, which is more than IsaLean’s 14 servings. Your cost per serving with Vega One will come out to $2.67 vs $3.71 for IsaLean. You can save some additional money (For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Comparison Table: Isagenix Substitutes Compared
Just to review the data, I’ve compiled a table below highlighting the key ingredients for a quick “at a glance” comparison.
|IsaLean Alternative||Calories||Saturated Fat||Sodium||Carbs||Fiber||Sugars||Protein||Price|
|Isagenix IsaLean Shake (14 Servings)||240||1g||115mg||27g||4g||16g||23g||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Nature’s Bounty(13 servings)||110||1g||100mg||10g||6g||2g||15g||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
|Tera’s Whey (12 Servings)||110||1g||50mg||4g||0g||4g||21g||tera’s: Organic Low-Carb Gluten-Free Certified Whey Protein, Bourbon Vanilla, 12 ounce|
|Vega One (20 Servings)||160||0.5g||30mg||10g||6g||<1g||20g||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
As you can see, the above table helps illustrate that there are definitely choices to be made depending on your goal. Vega One is a good option if you are looking for a complete “meal replacement” like IsaLean, but be wary of these “meal replacements” which aren’t all that different from “protein supplements” (except a lot more expensive).
Don’t listen to distributors who tell you that their supplement is the ONLY or BEST option.