Arbonne Protein Shake vs Shakeology – Which is Better?

(Last Updated On: July 2, 2018)

Continuing in my series of comparisons of popular meal replacement supplements, I’ve tested out the Arbonne protein shake program and am ready to compare it to the ever popular Shakeology
meal replacement.

I’ve already written and posted a few reviews and comparisons of Shakeology already, culminating in my look at alternatives to the pricey Shakeology program here.

With that said, a reader asked me what in the comments section for my opinion on the Arbonne protein shakes. I hadn’t actually ever tried Arbonne, so I didn’t quite feel qualified to offer a full opinion. I added it to my list of protein supplements to try and here we are!

The following comparison is a result of testing out Arbonne for a period of about a week (for taste, texture, mixability, etc…). I also did some extensive research online and looked up all of the listed ingredients, read customer reviews, and generally synthesized everything I could on the subject.

I’ve already tested and researched Shakeology extensively, mainly as a way to provide readers with less expensive alternatives. Without further ado…

Bottom Line Up Front: Arbonne has more protein per serving than Shakeology but also an insane amount of sodium! Both of these supplements are overpriced relative to the competition, but especially Shakeology. I actually much prefer Vega One available here as a better alternative to both…

Shakeology Overview

shakeology-sampler

Shakeology is one of the most well known – and well marketed – fitness supplement programs right now. In recent years, the number of distributors (and users) has absolutely exploded. I’ve seen this first hand as a personal trainer and am always amazed at how well “the plan” is marketed. That said, I’ve had some well-publicized criticisms of Shakeology recently. Put simply, I’m not a big fan.

When I first did research on Shakeology I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical. However, I still actually tested Shakeology out (on my body….yikes!) for a couple weeks last Summer. I’m not just another hater. I have some serious objections which you can find below under the “Cons” section.

Pros of Shakeology

  • Coaching Support: I know that a lot of the people who use Shakeology also benefit from the fitness “coaches” who can often be a part of “the plan”. Having coaching advice and support is awesome. Even just being a part of a shared community/ethos can really help keep you on track with your fitness goals.
  • Decently Low Calories: You don’t want to be getting too many calories from your protein meal replacement, so I always look to see where brands stand here. Fortunately, Shakeology only has about 160 calories per serving which is below average for meal replacements. This is a nice bonus.
  • “Superfoods”: Shakeology puts a lot of exotic healthy sounding “superfoods” in their meal replacement shakes. While not critical, this is a nice bonus. I’d argue that all of these extra superfoods aren’t necessarily beneficial in any significant way and are mostly overshadowed by the other “cons” below. Still, it’s a nice touch.
  • Low Fat: 2 grams of fat (1 of saturated fat) is pretty good for a meal replacement. I’ve seen less, but I’ve also seen a lot higher. Not too bad here.

Cons of Shakeology

  • MLM Distribution/System: This is my number one pet peeve with a lot of big players in this space. Instead of creating an amazing, organic, truly healthy supplement, they enlist legions of “promoters” or “coaches” to sell the program. It’s sneaky and untrustworthy, especially because they charge so much for Shakeology and really don’t offer anything different than most meal replacements. It’s all network marketing.
  • Non-Grass Fed Whey: There are an increasing number of studies being released that are critically looking at the quality of protein, not just the type. Not only in protein supplements, but also as a the key feed substance used for livestock and as a filler in many common foods. There’s also the danger of GMOs which are particularly prevalent around soy and whey products. Shakeology says they use the “highest commercial grade” whey, but there is really no way to verify this. Unless it is labeled “organic” or is grass-fed, “highest commercial grade” is just a lot of smart marketing. I’d rather be getting my protein from other natural plant sources or even organic grass fed whey.
  • Not Cost Effective: This is really the crux of my opposition to Shakeology. It just is too expensive for what you are getting. A lot of people point to the “proprietary superfoods” contained in the supplement, but this is all fancy marketing. Superfoods are in vogue and Shakeology crams a lot of different exotic varieties into their product without basing it on solid medical research. It’s a way for people to rationalize overpaying for a protein meal replacement. Overall, Shakeology is one of THE most expensive supplements on the market. It has a cost per serving of roughly $4.30! And there is nothing special about the protein quality, folks. Shakeology will probably point out that this is roughly the price of a breakfast sandwich and coffee, but that’s not the point. Every other meal replacement I’ve tried and/or researched is more cost effective. Below, you can see one of their marketing gimmicks. Yes, Shakeology is cheaper than Starbucks AND more expensive than every other meal replacement supplement on the market!

shakeology false marketing

Seriously, what a silly analogy! As if Shakeology is the ONLY meal replacement supplement on the planet.

Arbonne Overview

Now it’s time to dig in a bit to Arbonne. It’s not one of the market leaders, but Arbonne is a very large company (involved in a lot of different market verticals). They are more of a traditional brand than Shakeology, but they do use a similar model of MLM (multi-level marketing) using distributor “consultants” to push product.

However, their meal replacement is not a carbon copy by any means of Shakeology. There are some things that do set it a part. See below for my “pros” and “cons” list.

Pros of Arbonne Essentials

  • Also Has Decent Calorie Count: Again, calories are an important metric to consider. Arbonne Essentials also only has 160 calories per serving. Not bad!
  • Lower Carbs: It’s not drastic, but Arbonne has only 15 grams of carbs per serving, while Shakeology has 17 grams. Not terrible, but Arbonne is still better. Gotta give them some credit here.
  • More Protein! This is likely the most critical ingredient most folks are concerned with. Arbonne has a surprising 20 grams per serving, a full 3 grams better than Shakeology.
  • Pea Protein: The first ingredient is pea protein. That’s generally a good thing as pea protein is a clean plant based source that is both mild in taste and well respected in the healthy living industry.
  • More Cost Effective: Arbonne retails for close to $80 per 20 serving bag,but I’ve found it here for less here. In total, estimate about $2 per serving. It’s still not cheap, but it’s more than half as expensive as Shakeology.

arbonne-nutrition-2015-28-638

Cons of Arbonne Essentials

  • Higher in Fat: I’m not against some healthy fats, but generally I’m not looking for my daily meal replacement to add much more than a gram or two. That said, the fat isn’t of the saturated variety so it’s almost a draw here.
  • High Sodium: Sodium is often used as a cheap taste improvement ingredient. However, it’s really counter-productive to a healthy diet. I really don’t like to see anything over 300 mg in a supplement. Afterall, we all are likely getting more than enough sodium via the rest of our diets. Salt is everywhere. Arbonne has 480 mg (20% of your daily value) per serving. Not great.
  • Not Much Fiber: I’m generally not too concerned with fiber because I can take other supplements for this, however it is important. If fiber is important for you, Arbonne has only 2 grams of dietary fiber, compared to the 6 grams in Shakeology.
  • Still MLM: While their distributors are called “consultants” and the structure is slightly different, it’s essentially the same MLM pyramid structure. As such, you’ll run into the same problems with overzealous – inexperienced – “consultants” (likely friends and acquaintances) leveraging their relationship with you and pushing this supplement. In my experience, the Arbonne distributors are even less experienced than the Shakeology promoters.  Again, you wonder how much money is spent on marketing and MLM vs developing a superior product that stands on its own.
  • Lack of Transparency Regarding Ingredients: I have to say, Arbonne talks a big game about being a “green company” that only uses the best “natural” ingredients. However, they are extremely opaque when it comes to disclosing their full ingredient list. They are worse than Shakeology when it comes to disclosure. I was finally able to dig up a Canadian ingredient list for Arbonne Essentials and I wasn’t pleased with what I found. Lot’s of complicated ingredients, Sunflower oil (terrible choice), “ergocalciferol”, among other heavily chemically modified ingredients. “Rice syrup solids” doesn’t really inspire confidence either. See blow for the full list:

Are There Other Options to Consider?

I usually don’t like to compare two protein supplements in a vacuum. There are some other brands/products that I’ve been using for a while which I really like, both for the quality of ingredients and the relative affordability factor. Being fit doesn’t have to break the bank!

Garden of Life

Garden of Life is one of my longtime favorite meal replacement supplements. What I love most about it is the high quality ingredients and the transparency. You read the label and all the ingredients sound (and are) healthy, organic (mostly), and plant based. This is complete non-dairy supplement.

When I drink whey protein I often get a heavy bloated feeling in my gut, so a really like to stick to plant based supplements where possible.

Garden of Life has a whopping 34 grams per serving of wholesome plant based protein. That blows everyone else out of the water. It does have more carbs (35 grams) and calories (270), but the protein to carb ratio is truly excellent. It’s not super cheap, but it’s comparable to Arbonne in terms of cost per serving. You can find it here for a solid price.

Vega One

Vega One is another great option because it offers a very similar (but better) profile to Shakeology (see my full comparison here). It has lots of minerals and vitamins, while also only having 160 calories, 10 grams of carbs (better than Arbonne AND Shakeology), and less than 1 gram of sugar (best in class).

It also offers 20 grams of protein, so it’s just as good as Arbonne and better than Shakeology here. A lot of times supplements compromise with poor ingredients to boost the protein count, but not here. It’s also very low sodium, with only 30mg per serving. This is one of the best low sodium meal replacements on the market.

It is pricier than most, but still less expensive than Shakeology. You can find it here for an excellent price (20 servings). The cost per serving is comparable to Arbonne.

Arbonne and Shakeology Compared to Others

I’ve put together a little comparison table below, highlighting the key ingredients and pricing for at-a-glance comparison.

 CaloriesSaturated FatSodiumCarbsFiberSugarsProteinPrice
Shakeology (30 Servings)
1601g150mg17g6g6g17g(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Arbonne Essentials (30 Servings)1600g480mg15g2g9g20g(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Vega One (20 servings)1600.5g30mg10g6g<1g20gClick here for latest(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)
Garden of Life (14 Servings)2700g95mg35g9g11g34g(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)

Final Recommendation: Which One Would I Go With?

So, if I couldn’t choose any of my alternatives and I had to make a decision between Shakeology or Arbonne? Well, here’s which one I’d purchase and why.

I really wasn’t too impressed with either, but I really can’t stomach the extremely high cost of Shakeology. While both have questionable ingredients, I was also very turned off by the lack of transparency
at Arbonne.

I think I lean towards Arbonne, just because I don’t have to not pay my cell phone bill in order to afford it. Still, I’d recommend at least looking into my two alternative recommendations listed above. I’m a firm believer of not putting junk into your body…. a sort of “first, do no harm” approach.

UPDATE: I’ve received many positive messages and comments thanking me for this article, as well as some negative ones. Most of the negative comments are from people with a clear vested interest in promoting either Arbonne or Shakeology.

Bottom Line: Look at the ingredient lists of Vega One and Garden of Life and compare to Shakeology and Arbonne and then compare the price. Which is more affordable? Which has more whole food ingredients? More protein? 

Please feel free to share your comments and experiences about/with any of these supplements! I really appreciate the interaction and feedback.

 

58 thoughts on “Arbonne Protein Shake vs Shakeology – Which is Better?

  1. Thank you for the comparison! I’ve had friends try and sell me on both Arbonne and Shakeology, but I’ll definitely be sticking with one of the alternatives you suggested!

  2. Loved this! I agree shakeology is way too expensive! I will try the other products you suggested as a healthier approach.

    • Hi Ginger, I’d say I prefer the taste of Shakeology, but I’m not really a big fan of either Arbonne or Shakeology. I do like Garden of Life, Vega One, Sun Warrior, Tera’s Organic Whey, etc..

  3. I don’t understand when I read reviews etc. about Arbonne products and lack of transparency. They list ingredients right on the label and you can look it up on the web when you type in Arbonne Vanilla Shake Ingredients! The retail price in USA is $69 and you can become a preferred client to get 20% off that for a year! Arbonne has sea salt that is 15% of the daily recommendation. Not bad! I’ve done a lot of research on Arbonne and for my money its the best tasting value with Integrity of stringent Manufacturing process to alleviate cross contamination, which we must watch out for as we have Dairy allergies. I also like Arbonne is formulated to be a Vegan protein with no cholesterol or animal by products! Also uses Stevia and ubn processed Pure Cane sugar in such a way it is considered Low Glycemic! another big plus you failed to mention!!

    • Hi Theresa,

      Thanks for commenting. The fact that it takes a separate Google search to find the ingredient list is a bit questionable. That’s part of the lack of transparency. There is also documented research on ingredients that are not listed – but still present. Most notably, the ingredient “Alumina” which is a nuerotoxin (disrupting signalling within the nervous system). It’s not an all natural product and is definitely chemically modified. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that every time someone posts even a slightly negative review (dare I say “balanced”) the promoters come out of the woodwork to defend their turf.

      Arbonne isn’t ALL bad, but it isn’t all roses either. My task is to bring to light what the marketing gurus have tried to paper over.

  4. I am a huge fan of shakeology because not only do you get an amazing drink but you have a HUGE network of accountability partners. I don’t have to go to a gym or pay a trainer like with arbonne. A huge plus for shakeology and Beachbody.

    • Hi Traci,

      I totally get that. Accountability can be key. My problem is that I think there is a conflict of interest when your “distributor” is also your “coach”. I would argue that you SHOULD go to the gym, or at least implement some form of alternative exercise. Perhaps this is an effect of their marketing, but you really need a wholistic approach. There is no silver bullet when it comes to living/eating/being healthy. Anyone who tells you different, probably has an agenda.

      • I like the amount of protein and fiber that Garden of Life contains. The calories however are higher than all the others you’ve listed. Where do all the extra calories come from? How does it taste in comparison to Arbonne?

        • Tina,
          It probably does not taste as “good/sweet” by conventional standards, but that’s because it’s organic, all natural, and from whole plant sources (no artificial junk science). My personal opinion is that you can get used to the taste if you start to train your taste buds to recognize “healthy” as opposed to “sweet” and “salty” (which we generally have an over abundance of in Western society). Yes, it has more calories. I’d argue that these are “good” calories. Because the ingredients are all natural you are getting more “real” calories. It’s definitely one of the drawbacks if you are working on a calorie deficit weight loss plan, but if you are using it as a true meal replacement you should be able to cut back elsewhere.

  5. Hi Owen, thanks for the breakdown!
    Full disclosure, I’m an Arbonne consultant, and thoroughly grateful for your post on this matter!
    Few things I’d like to mention – contrary to popular belief, Arbonne doesn’t claim to be all natural. We claim to use the pureness of nature and the safest of science to provide a product that is both beneficial and effective. We love science!
    Also, I recommend checking out the website for the most recent ingredient listings for both the meal replacement and the protein shake – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if interested, check out the new PhytoSport, the 3 part sport nutrition products… would love to see your thoughts on it!
    That’s all from me, thanks for the post!

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for commenting. I’ll certainly check out the supplements you mentioned. Here’s my problem with the “all natural” claim: “use the pureness of nature and the safest of science” is such a vague statement. Basically, it’s a nice way of saying “we aren’t going to tell you what we actually put in our products”. “All natural” or “organic” are claims that can be verified and make sense at face value. I’m all for truth it marketing and when I read statements like Arbonne makes, I cringe.

  6. Excellent comparisons!! Love that you compared positives / negatives / cost, etc… Thank you so much!! I didn’t even realize the sodium in Arbonne… Going to try your recommendations from this and other posts. 🙂

  7. I am still so confused..I have been using Shakeology for the last 3 months and the cost is def a factor but so afraid to switch. I run 4xs a week in the morning after my shake and my distance goes from 2 miles to 6miles each run. I am afraid if I switch I will feel it on my run. I am thinking of trying Nature’s Bounty. Can I still use it as a meal replacement ( breakfast )?

    • Hi Melissa,
      Nature’s Bounty is a great affordable protein supplement, but if you are looking for a lot of the “extras” I’d recommend Vega One or Garden of Life. Really, the only difference between a “meal replacement” and a “protein supplement” is how you use it and what additional ingredients are included. Protein is THE most important ingredient. All those fancy exotic ingredients are nice – some are even helpful – but in most cases they are distractions meant to make the consumer “feel” like they are receiving more value than they actually are.

  8. Good investigation and narrative on Arbonne and Shakeology. How do they compare to Andrew Lessman’s Secure Shake (HSN) or to Advocares (another large company)?? Both are those are yummy I think and more reasonably priced with discounts. Thanks ahead.

  9. Thanks so much for the comparison. Trying to switch to a plant-based diet and trying to decide which protein powder would be best. This was very helpful. Thank you! I think taste is my biggest concern, but quality ingredients matters too.

  10. Just a little fyi incase anyone is looking for another great Vega shake. Vega proteins plus & greens. less calories 120 /serving 1.85/serving also low sodium . 816g container gives 24 servings and you get 2 servings of greens. I buy It on amazon. Vanilla is a bit yucky but the chocolat is great..

  11. Thank you so much for the comparison! I have used Shakeology for a few years now and have been searching for a more affordable alternative. A friend mentioned Arbonne to me, which led me to your post. I am so glad I read your comparison before purchasing. I am definitely going to give one of your sugestions a try. I will keep you posted. Thanks again!

  12. Thank you for this comparison. I know I’m a reading it long after it was posted but I found it very helpful. I was thinking about switching from my Vega one replacement to the Arbonne replacement and after reading this I am very glad I have not placed my order yet! Thank you for your research!

  13. You mention nothing about the probiotic element of Shakeology. My doctor had suggested I take probiotics before I knew about Shakeology. I purchased some at Costoc for $25 for a months supply. They are included in Shakeology. That would be worth just under $1 per serving. Do the other brands include them? It seemed to me that you are biased against Shakeology.

    • Toni – After doing the research, I do have a bias against Shakeology when compared to the competition. Other supplements have probiotics for a fraction of the cost included. Also, if probiotics is the primary issue, I’d take your doctors advice and supplement with a probiotic separately.

  14. Great article on protein drinks. I have a mild kidney issue and must keep protein under 50 grams a day. Also, salt is too high in Arbonne. Thanks

  15. I’m really glad I found your review on these two as I was considering one of the two protein shakes you compared! I am shocked by both the products as the person telling me about Arbonne said its all natural and VEGAN! Never mentioned the sodium nor anything else. The person telling me about the shakeology definitely mentioned the great taste and superfoods but was extremely vague about the price.

    Now….I looked at the ingredient listing on the vega one and the other one you mentioned. They fall right in line with what my trainer said…if you can pronounce, read, and understand the ingredients on the label then it’s good lol. Anyway I wanted to understand between the vega one and the other protein powder, which would be better recommended for weight loss? Considering one has WAAAYY more carbs than the other, I’m not sure which to choose AND how to use them… 2 shakes and a dinner? 1 shake and 2 regular healthy meals etc?

    • Jeimie, for meal replacement purposes I’d stick with Vega One. I’m a big fan of starting with a simple, repeatable objective. So I’d aim for replacing either breakfast or lunch with a shake. Some people want to be hardcore and replace two meals, but I’d always recommend starting with just one meal. Remember, your body still prefers and is optimized for whole foods… meal replacement shakes are meant to save time and make the healthy choice easier.

  16. Thank you for this. I was just about to take advantage of a b1g1 deal with Arbonne. I’ve had their shakes before and prefer the taste…then tried shakeology and absolutely loved the taste but I’m very skeptical of mlm companies. I have recently been drinking the vega one because of reviews like your own. The taste doesn’t even come close to the others..it’s so bad and takes a bit of getting used to. If you don’t think of it as a chocolate shake (where my mind always takes me) and just drink it for the benefits it’s pretty dang awesome and I don’t have to worry about putting “bad” things into my body 🙂
    I appreciate honest reviews..so thanks again! Dodged a pricey and unnecessary Arbonne bullet today 🙂

  17. I noticed you are comparing the Shakology meal replacement with Arbonne protein shake. Would it be a more accurate comparison if you compared it to the Arbonne meal replacement instead?

  18. Thank you for your reviews on the products.. I was tempted to join the arbornne team, but it seemed too good to be true.
    I’m now getting into fitness after having my children back to back. I found your article very informative. Thank you again for taking the time to write it ??

  19. Shakeology is pushed on my FB feed daily. I’ve tried multiple “samples” and I just can’t stand the aftertaste and bitterness. May just be my tastebuds, though? I wasn’t a fan of Garden of Life, either, as it was very gritty. I may have to try the other recommendations. Thank you for your honesty and pros and cons. Great research!

    • Hi Christie,

      I agree taste is a huge factor. You can have the best shake in the world but if you don’t like the taste, you may as well buy something else. Thanks for your kind words!

  20. Thanks so much for this comparison! I am currently doing the 28 day Arbonne challenge this month, and I am trying to figure out where to move to after my 28 days. A friend of mine is an Arbonne consultant, and I wonder if she is pushing it more because of the affiliation. The whole things is kind of expensive and not something I could do forever but I was really interested in plant protein shakes instead of whey etc! This really helps so I know where I should put my money after!! Thank you so much!

  21. I have recently tried both the Shakeology and the Arbonne meal replacement.
    A few factors I have considered and have helped make my decision on which one to go with are:
    1 – The price comparison. Shakeology is quite expensive, and I had to monitor my shipments, which is extremely inconvienent.
    2 – The taste of the Shakeology (I had Vegan Chocolate as recommended to me) when simply mixed with water, was horrible! What I would imagine cold cream of broccoli soup to taste like. I was then told to blend it with ice, almond milk, some banana and peanut butter. Which then increased the price of the shakes, and made it somewhat a pain in the butt to make sure I had those ingredients on hand. Secondly, I then would wake my two children up blending it all.
    3 – Arbonne can be shaken up with plain old water and taste great. No additional costs, or work.
    Arbonne it is for me !

  22. I have just completed a month of Arbonne and today purchased the Arbonne meal replacement shake for month 2, because I felt it was a good fit for me (and I love the support). After purchasing a few more items from Arbonne, I decided to copy the ingredients and nutrient profile from the meal replacement shake’s ingredient list and compare it to other Vegan, soy free, gluten free shakes. There are plenty of meal replacement shakes to choose from, but I could not find any that measured up to the the high protein content, vitamin/mineral profile, and low sugar in Arbonne.

    However, I’m not that loyal; when it comes to spending my money, I want the best ingredients for the best price. Thank you so much for your article! I spent a couple of hours on my own comparing labels before I decided to ask google if anyone else had done the homework for me. I am going to try the Garden of Life products and hope the meal replacement shake works for me as well as Arbonne has. I have 25 more pounds to lose.

    • Hi Ann,

      Thanks for your question! I have not tried BiPro personally, but it looks to be a good choice for a simple, good quality protein supplement. I like that it doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners. However, I’m not sure it would qualify as a complete meal replacement as is. You can always add some almond milk, a banana, and some healthy fats like almond butter if you are using it as a meal replacement.

  23. Great comparison. I personally like the taste of Shakeology best but the cost of this product is just ridiculous.
    I switched to Arbonne simply because of the cost savings and it’s taste is pretty good too.
    Can’t stand the taste of the Vega One product.
    I’ll have to give the GoL product a test

    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, taste is definitely an important factor. You can have the best quality shake but there’s no point in buying it if you can’t get past the flavor.

  24. Thank you for this write up. I’m currently a Shakeology drinker and bought a bag of Arbonne today. I’m really open to anything and I’m going to try the Garden of Life once I’m done with these. I’m not a huge fan of Vega’s other products but I may consider their protein powder because I know a lot of people like it.

  25. Is the Arbonne shake healthy or not?

    I have read so many different reviews and I am not sure if I can trust this product.

    You know what’s funny about Arbonne?

    The consultants that try and recruit me and ask me to put 2000$ so they could profit from my sale since they cannot sell 2000$ in a month so they rely on recruiting and rip people off from their starter kit

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