Body By Vi Challenge – Is It All Hype?

by Mary Lucas on June 29, 2012

After speaking with yet another individual who became ill after using the Body by Vi Challenge product, I feel that it is necessary to provide some reading information that is not generically and carefully put together by the company. This is an independent opinion. It is thorough and rather shocking. If you’re using this product and you haven’t been well, perhaps you should be learning a little bit more about what you are ingesting.

The Body by Vi Challenge is it all hype?

I have been in the fitness industry for well over a decade and I see   products, shakes, devices, pills, potions come and go. There is always   the next great product or plan that claims to be the solution to all   your problems when it comes to losing weight and getting in shape or   healthy.

The latest one to come about and that I get asked about almost weekly   is “The Body By Vi Challenge” created by Visalus Sciences.  Visalus  has  created multiple products, and is recruiting and rewarding  thousands of  people if they promote “The 90 Day Challenge.”

What and Who is Visalus?

Kyle Pacetti former Monavie rep with ViSalus Sciences

Visalus is a Network Marketing company based out of Troy, Michigan.   And although the company has just begun to attract attention,   surprisingly, Visalus is a 7 year old company.  Now, while they are 7   years old, it seems as though they haven’t really hit major momentum   yet. The company was started by Ryan Blair, Blake Mallen and Nick   Sarnicola  In the past year and a half, it seems that one distributor,   Kyle Pacetti  (came from Mona Vie, another lousy product )has been   responsible for the majority of the companies momentum and influx of new   Distributors of “The Body By Vi Challenge” and is currently the top   income earner in Visalus.  But prior to Pacetti’s involvement I had   never even heard of Visalus.

I have been researching Visalus for quite a few months and have been   digging in the and researching the products trying to find out what all   the hype is about and what is so special about these products  especially  the shake. Do you know what conclusion I came to after  months of  looking into these products, ingredients and challenge? I  have amazingly  discovered (can you sense my sarcasm) there is nothing  special or magic  about these products…let me repeat there is NOTHING special about the Body by Vi products or challenge. I would even go as   far to say some products could be bad for you (even short term of only   90 days) and have a long term negative effect on your health.

I personally have no problem with someone wanting to get healthy, I   have no problem with someone doing a legit challenge (exercise and   eating right) for 90 days. However, I do have a problem with the way   this Body By Vi challenge and products are being marketed and hyped. So I   have been asked many times to give my opinion on all this “Body By Vi Hype” So here it is……..

Since I am Fitness and Nutrition Coach the Visalus products are my   first concern so let’s dive into the ingredients of these products   before anything else.

Vi-Shape- Nutritional Shake Mix.

Let’s first look at the Nutrition Facts. My first concern would be   the calories being so low. Two rounded scoops are only 90 calories? I  know this is actually a selling point for many of the Visalus promoters.   “It’s really low in calories!” Calories are so bad right? All calories   make you fat! Not if you are getting the “the right calories”.  My   second concern would be it only contains 12 grams of protein for 2   scoops? That is in my opinion way too low for a meal replacement or   nutrition shake. Having such a large serving size (2 scoops) and only   getting 12 grams of protein that means this mix is 46% protein so what   does that mean this mix contains “lots of fillers”. I am aware that they   encourage you to add this shake to skim milk, almond milk, or soy milk   for more calories and taste. Well if this shake mix is so special and  is  so great why do you need to add it to something else other than  water  to it to make it work? (not to mention something that might not  be very  healthy as well) To its credit the fiber content is good with 5  grams;  however I am pretty sure the fiber is used to make you feel  full. I have  heard multiple times someone promoting the shake saying  its only 90  calories and after having it “I’m not hungry for 4-5 hours  or all day.”  Again anything that curves someones appetite to a point  where they are  not eating for long periods of time I have an issue  with. Not eating for  long periods of time will:

1) Drop blood sugar which will prevent your body from using fat for energy,

2) Will cause your body to revert to using muscle for energy which will slow down your metabolism

3) This muscle loss in turn will cause your body to store more fat in the long term.

Good healthy fruits and vegetables can make you feel full as well and they do not have any fillers and questionable ingredients.

Back to the nutrition facts, the fat is low (1 gram) from sunflower   oil which is possibly ok.  But sunflower oil is omega 6 oil which most   Americans’ already get plenty of.  An Omega 3 oil which is lacking in   the diet would be much better and make more sense.

The sugar is also low (1 gram) which is good. However, the sugar is   being replaced by artificial ingredients to give it flavor. (More on   this later). The Carbohydrates are only 7 grams which is not high, yet   what is the source of the carbs if it has low sugar? I will touch on   this when I break down the shake ingredient list next. At first glance   the vitamin percentages in the shake look pretty good and balanced.   However, what is the source of these vitamins and are they good for you?

So let’s break down the Vi-shake ingredient list. Those who know me   know I always preach the ingredients of anything are more important that   anything when it comes to long term health and body composition. The   Nutrition facts only tell you the breakdown of the macronutrients but   they do not tell you the whole story. The ingredient list however will   (assuming it’s a legit label). The perfect example would be JIF peanut   butter vs. KREMA all natural peanut butter. The nutrition facts will be   identical however the ingredients list will not, JIF will contain “   sugar, salt, hydrogenated oil, peanut oils”, and the KREMA all natural   peanut butter will just say “peanuts”

Alright, so here we go the first ingredient on the list is “Soy Protein Isolate” what might be wrong with Soy Protein Isolate? (MIGHT WANT TO TAKE A SEAT AND GET COMFORTABLE)

To some its great source of healthy protein…yet to me after years of   quality research soy is a dangerous low quality protein source. Did you know that 91% of U.S Soy is genetically modified or engineered? A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically   engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated   animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include   higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance,   immune-suppression and cancer. (Visalus claims their shake is NON GMO)

Also:

1) Raw soybeans contain a form of phytic acid that can block   certain mineral absorption. (the vi shake is promoted as not being raw   yet we don’t really know do we?)

2) Soy contains isoflavones genistein and dadzein which can  affect and inhibit thyroid peroxidase which is necessary for the  production of T3 and T4.

3) Soy can negatively affect estrogen levels in the body.

Of course, this information does not just apply to this brand of   shakes. Most of the other nutrition shakes out there contain similar   ingredients and pose similar risks. Shaklee, Herbalife, and Ensure are   some additional shakes that contain soy protein. (Other shakes may not   contain soy protein but often contain soybean oil.)

Here is a brief list of some of the additional symptoms and health problems related to soy consumption that are common:

Breast cancer

Brain damage Infant abnormalities

Thyroid disorders

Kidney stones

Immune system impairment

Severe, potentially fatal food allergies

Impaired fertility

Danger during pregnancy and nursing 

Soy contains natural toxins known as “anti-nutrients.”

Soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins,  soyatoxin,  phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and  estrogens. Some  of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to  digest protein.  While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not  likely cause a problem,  the amount of soy that many Americans are now  eating is extremely high.

Soy contains hemagglutinin.

Hemagglutinin is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red  blood  cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to  properly  absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.

Soy contains goitrogens

Goitrogens are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid  hormones  and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with  your  thyroid function.

Soy contains phytates.

Phytates (phytic acid) bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption  of  certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc — all  of  which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. This is   particularly problematic for vegetarians, because eating meat reduces   the mineral-blocking effects of these phytates (so it is helpful—if you   do eat soy—to also eat meat).

Even if Visalus and other soy-based products are not from  genetically-modified soybeans, they still qualify as potential   dangerous foods based on criteria above. Even organic soymilk, for   instance, can cause permanent thyroid problems.

As my nutritional counseling friend John adds:

“Most of the Vi shakes benefits seem to be from the vitamins and   minerals found in the shake and little to do with the shake itself,  other than the moderate protein content which is also a factor. If any   product description or marketing starts talking about how many apples,   pears, broccoli, etc. you have to eat to compare to what it offers and   it is a supposed food replacement-type product, most likely you are   being scammed. What sounds so wonderful and a no-brainer is bad for your   pocketbook and bad for your health.”

Dr. Kaayla Daniel says the following (opinion):

“But the soy in some of these drinks, especially Visalus, is   different, right?! I mean, they go through extra processing (great word   PROCESSING) to ensure the soy protein does not contain these   anti-nutrients. Why, then, are we hearing so many reports of people   experiencing the same health problems from these problems that are   associated with other soy products?! Certainly organic soybeans are   safer than GMO soybeans, as there are serious dangers to all GMO foods,   soy, corn or whatever. GMO soy contains higher and more resistant  levels  of protease inhibitors, among other toxins. Whole soybeans are  also  better than soy protein insomuch as this will minimize some  harmful  processing methods, particularly the use of hexane to split the  bean. It  is also possible that some of the other processing methods  might be  gentler. For example, the process might involve alkaline baths  with a  lower pH than is used by some commercial companies. Gentler  processing  methods could conceivably result in lower levels of the  toxins  lysinalanines and nitrosamines.”

“That said, I find it highly unlikely that this product – or   the similarly hyped products — have removed the dangerous estrogenic   isoflavones. Unless the companies use alcohol extraction, the   isoflavones will not be removed. In fact these companies don’t want to   remove the isoflavones because they all boast about their “health   effects” and claim that their unique product somehow has all the   benefits and none of the dangers of isoflavones. Saponins, which can   bind with cholesterol and damage cell membranes will also be present in   any soybean product that has not been alcohol extracted. Not   surprisingly, these are marketed as healthy “all natural” cholesterol   lowerers, bile acid reducers and cancer preventers and curers says   Daniels”.

(My opinion)

-I personally have seen no documentation that the isoflavones have  been  removed and removed effectively. Visalus says they have removed  them on  their site and the shake is safe and “all natural”(we already  know it’s  not) and youtube videos yet that doesn’t mean they have.  Even if they have removed the isoflavones why would you risk eating soy with all the debate listed above?

Dr. Mercola states:

What Soy Products are Good For You?

“I want to be clear that I am not opposed to all soy. Soy can be   incredibly healthful, but ONLY if it is organic and properly fermented.

After a long fermentation process, the phytate and   “anti-nutrient” levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial   properties become available to your digestive system.

You may have heard that Japanese people live longer and have  lower  rates of cancer than Americans because they eat so much soy—but  it’s  primarily fermented soy that they consume, and it’s always been  that  way.

Fermented soy products are the only ones I recommend consuming.

These are the primary fermented soy products you’ll find:

Tempeh- a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.

Miso- a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture (commonly used in miso soup).

Natto- fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor.

Soy sauce-which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes; be wary because many

varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.

Please note that tofu is NOT on this list. Tofu is not fermented, so is not among the soy foods I recommend.

Tips for Avoiding Unwanted Soy Foods

For a simple rule of thumb, just remember that unless soy is   fermented (tempeh, miso, natto, or traditionally made soy sauce), you’re   better off avoiding it.

Soy foods to avoid include:

Tofu

TVP (texturized vegetable protein) or soy protein isolate, which   contains a large amount of msg, which you should definitely not consume

Soybean oil

Soymilk

Soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy yogurt

Soy “meat” (meatless products made of TVP)

Soy protein

Edamame

Soy infant formula

The best way to eliminate non-fermented soy from your diet is to   avoid all “processed” foods and instead purchase whole foods that you   prepare yourself.” (not a bag of questionable powder)

-Well if the first ingredient and all the information above doesn’t   stop you from buying and drinking this shake then what will?

Yet I will go on.

Digestive Resistant Maltodextrin- I have no problem   with this ingredient. Digestive resistant (DR) maltodextrin is a   polysaccharide produced from brown rice. Unlike regular maltodextrin, it   is not digestible by humans, thus is does not contribute calories or   carbohydrates to the diet. (This will be a lot of the fiber on the   nutrition facts.)

Whey Protein Hydrolysate- is pretty good quality   whey, and absorbs pretty well even if you have intestine issues with   other kinds of whey like whey protein concentrate. WPH is known for   being higher quality and more expensive because of that. But of recent   studies claim WPH is more hype than higher quality and greatly   overpriced.

Whey Protein Concentrate- whey is a liquid   by-product of cheese manufacture. Removing the water results in Whey   Protein Concentrate (WPC) Powder. WPC is the most efficient protein for   the human body. Research has shown that, of all protein sources, WPC is   digested and absorbed better than any other protein. I assume this not   from grass fed cows but it seems to be fine. Though WPC can be an  issue  from someone who has a problem with lactose (milk sugar).

Dicalcium Phosphate- a synthetic calcium supplement with questionable  side effects (I singled this out because its high on the ingredient  list)

Sunflower Oil- this seems to be an ok oil- but is only omega 6 which already is dominant in the typical diet.

Natural and Artificial Flavors-(neither one is good)

MCT Oil- from coconut- another decent oil-but all omega 6 again

Soy Lectin- a soy by product

Gum Arabic- is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree

Xanthan gum- a thickening agent may be derived from a   variety of source products that are themselves common allergens, such   as corn, wheat, dairy or soy.

Aminogen is the patented, clinically-proven digestive enzyme system that triples the rate of protein absorption.- OK

Sucralose- artificial sweeteners (Splenda) though used in trace amounts in this shake it’s still not good.

Maltodextrin can be enzymatically derived from any   starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn- this a cheap filler and   can actually spike your blood sugar similar to sugar (though listed as   sugar free). In fact maltodextrin is a solid 105 on the glycemic index.   Where an apple for example is only 35. It maltodextrin is made from  corn  then there is a great chance that corn is GMO corn. Why? because  85% of  corn is genetically modified. This ingredient probably makes up  most of  the carbohydrates in the shake.

Natural Minerals in the Vi Shake: (still not necessarily from whole foods)

chromium amino acid chelate, molybdenum amino acid chelate,  selenium amino acid chelate.-all ok from what I can see.

Yet everything else…….. Other than the minerals I listed above all the other vitamins from Vitamin A to Maganese

(21 of the 24) in this Vi Shake seem to be SYNTHETIC and not from whole foods.

So what is the difference between synthetic and natural whole food vitamins?

Synthetic means they are not from real food they are man made in a   lab. I suggest, unless they specifically tell you the origin of each of   the ingredients, they are just synthetic vitamins. Synthetic Vitamins   are not vitamins; they are chemical activators that have some of the   characteristics of true, natural vitamins you find in nature. However,   nature does not make just one vitamin that stands alone; It always comes   in a package of cofactors and other nutrients that support its   functions. In fact, synthetic vitamins when photographed show very   little light emissions, where as natural vitamins show huge bursts of   light, indicating high energy value.

So other than taking my word from it and Dr. Daniels, and all the   information I present above here is some more unbiased reviews from   people who drank the shake.

For example, one person reported the following from Visalus shakes:

“I signed up with Visalus in Sept. 11, as I’ve been out of work, and   loved the taste of the shake. Yet when I received the product, I was   sent along with the big distributor kit, huge horse pills to swallow   too, which in the little picture of ordering I didn’t see. Called the   company, talked to a young gentleman, and complained, since I don’t like   swallowing pills. Of which he said he couldn’t do anything about.

I introduced this to one girlfriend, who was on thyroid medication,  and  after taking a couple bags of product, she started to feel like her   medication wasn’t working. So she called me to inquire if I knew if  this  Visalus was ok to take with her medication. So I Googled about it,  and  was so alarmed about all the sites I found, which spoke of the the   dangers of soy, especially with thyroid problems. I then called the   company back and wanted my money back. (Which is about $900 on plastic)   As I knew in my heart I couldn’t honestly sell it anymore, was refused   credit, because it had been over 60 days. Without a job, I am stuck  with  this burden now. Wish I had realized the dangers of soy.”

I personally received these 3 messages from 3 different   people who didn’t want to speak out after I posted some information of   Body by Vi online.

David:

1) “Why did I quit the shakes? The product caused me   to GAIN weight and brought back previous digestive issues that had   disappeared until I introduced the shakes. The customer service refused   to refund for a full box of 15 serving packets because I bought TWO   boxes. They say it is not reusable. If a company believes in their   product, why wouldn’t they stand behind it?”

2) “A friend convinced me to try this product. My   body went crazy…seemed as if I had a total hormonal breakdown. I became   extremely irritable and felt like I was going through puberty all over   again…I’m 38! I requested answers from the company, and they never   responded. I will never eat soy again. After this experience, if I can’t   eat something in its natural state, I won’t.”

3)” I tried the Vi shake for about a month. My blood   sugars were all over the place the entire time I used it. They would  go  high to extremely too low. I finally went back to using my whey  protein  powder in my smoothies. Plus, I ended up putting more and more  fruit in  the shake mix just to cover the “cake-mix” aftertaste it had.”

—I know there are also many positive reviews on the net for VI-shake.   The majority of those however I have read seem to be from someone who   also sells the product or from someone who doesn’t know any better.   Also, I have not met anyone selling the shake that actually knows (other   than what they have been told by the company or fellow promoter) what   is in the shake and they seem to just measure progress by seeing   temporary changes in their clothes and the scale. They also do not seem   to promote exercise as an important part of the transformation.

I know friends who have taken it and lost weight (not necessarily   fat) , I know people whose parents have taken and it lost weight and it   kick started their fitness journey. These all “seem” positive things   short term. However, what if the weight lost is “muscle”? I agree doing   something is usually better than doing nothing. However, almost anyone   can take any meal replacement powder with some protein and synthetic   vitamins and lose weight/fat if they take this shake instead of their   previous poor diet choices. By replacing their high calorie foods with a   low calorie shake bingo they are getting lower calories (why wouldn’t   they  lose weight short term?) But can they sustain this long term? One   should always strive to lose fat and not just weight (muscle, water  and  fat).  The ingredients in this shake are not anything special that  will  help you lose weight or build muscle faster than any other shake  on the  market. Though a shake is convenient and a easier to get in than  real  food, this shake will never replace the nutrition you will get  from real  whole foods. There are many ways to lose weight……but as I  always say  there is a “A Better Way” and to me “One Only Right Way.”  That would be  real exercise and real food.

So is this shake better for you than fast food and lot of other junk   foods? Sure, most likely. But is it any better than a low cost slim  fast  powder? In my opinion not by much. I know the shake tastes good to  most  ( I have tasted it) Maybe has less sugar and more protein……but  that’s  not saying much.  I have seen better nutritional powders (as far  as  healthy ingredients)and shakes at Meijer without soy protein,  fillers  and no synthetic vitamins.  What’s a Visalus promoter’s problem  with the  stuff at Meijer? They can’t add you to their pyramid and make  money off  you if you buy it there! If you want a shake for convenience  I suggest  finding a cheaper more effective one with better ingredients  than the  Vi- Shape Shake.

To me the Vi Shake will always be an inferior shake at a superior   price. (yes, you can get it free you you promote and get your 3 people   on your pyramid) This shake is being marketed as something almost   magical that will help you reach all your fitness goals (by usually   someone who has no real knowledge or qualifications to help you lose   weight safely and effectively). Also, many who are promoting it are not   even lean, fit or healthy themselves, and if they are it’s usually not   from Body by Vi (many who sell it don’t even drink it). One should be   focusing on not some special shake for a quick fix…  but instead they   should focus on getting real foods and exercise for a long term   lifestyle change. This lifestyle change will allow you to lose fat and   maintain/build muscle long term and not just lose ‘weight” short term.

I am aware of multiple people (chiropractors, gym owners, trainers,   dieticians, beauty salons) selling (promoting) this shake (and   challenge) not because they think the shake is special but because it’s   filling their wallet and helping them get a car. (a few have told me   this to my face) They seem to know people will buy anything that   promises weight loss. Some think the shake is special but they really   don’t know any better because they have not done the research, and are   taken in by the slick marketing and promises to make money and win   prizes for helping people. (a lot of people are being educated about   nutrition by people who sell the product, yet these people who sell the   product are being brain washed to believe this shake is healthy without   researching it themselves)  I really have not talked to anyone  involved  in this business that I personally feel that their main  motivator is  helping people get on a road to a better health.  Instead  “Money” is the  main motivator. It’s always about the business, the  money, the car and  how they can help you get it all too. (if you get it  all too, they get  richer)

This  post is the opinion and conclusions I have come to after months  of  researching these products. I personally eat green fed meat… Yet  the  only way I know its green fed is to actually see the cows eating  the  grass myself until then all we know is what we “have been told”.

Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach

- David Modderman

I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone consuming these or similar low quality product’s to STOP immediately!  This is my personal opinion for your health’s sake.

{ 1 comment }

1 Sergio July 4, 2012 at 8:34 am

From my own experience there’s never a “wonder drug/food/pill” whatever. There’s eating healthy, doing exercise, sleeping, trying to not let stress into your life and you got like 90% of the ecuation solved. Then again this is from my own experience and what works for me might not be suited for you.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: