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The OTHER Side of the Herbalife Debate – So, is it Good, or is it Bad? YOU Decide…

Richard Tidmarsh

By Darren Tanser

Darren Tanser is a highly qualified Personal Trainer, Sports Nutritionist and founder of HE FIT SHE FIT – a modern personal training company who brings the gym to you based in the Medway, Maidstone and surrounding areas…Read more.

Please note – the following article has been written by Darren Tanser and does not voice the views and opinions of Muscle Food



I have seen many articles stating Herbalife is bad, but these, in my opinion, have been published by professionals who have used some misguided facts.  I have also seen many amazing testimonials saying Herbalife is amazing.

So the simple question here is, is it good, or is it bad?

The reason for me writing this article is that there are two sides to every story.

  • Will everyone like Herbalife?  No
  • Will lovers become haters?   Probably not
  • Will haters become Lovers?  Again probably not
  • Will people who don’t know whether it’s right for them or not want to hear both sides?  Probably Yes

So to start my name is Darren Tanser, I am a personal trainer. I have a diploma in obesity and weight management, I am a fully qualified sports nutritionist and I believe Herbalife used in the right way is GOOD.

I don’t know everything about nutrition and will never proclaim I do.  Even people at the height of their nutritional profession will not agree with everyone else at the top either.  You’re either a butter or margarine person.

Darren Tanser - before and after Herbalife

The Facts

There have been many hate articles, but the most popular seems to be from Ben Coomber.  He seems to be very well educated in personal training and nutrition.  I’m not going to say anything bad about Ben as for the most part he does a lot of good in the industry.

I also know this article will not change his views of Herbalife, much the same as his didn’t change mine either.

The main thing I have seen in a few different articles is that they have claimed the macros (carbs, fat, protein) and calories In Herbalife’s F1 meal replacement shakes are much lower than they actually are.  They all claim Formula 1 shake – contains just:

100Kcals - 1g of fat - 9g of protein - 14g of carbs

In reality one made up shake using 250ml semi skimmed milk equals:

220Kcal - 6.  4g of fat - 17.  4g of protein - 21.  4g of carbs

If made with the other product PDM, F1 + PMD + Water equal:

210Kcals - 5g of fat - 24g protein - 19g carbs.

Along with 21 vitamins and minerals and essential nutrients.

Protein, carbs and farts chart

For many the argument doesn’t end there.  Many have commented on other ingredients used suggesting that most are trace elements.

First thing to understand is the different Grades for Food and Nutritional Supplements.

  • Feed - suitable for animal consumption
  • Food - suitable for Human consumption
  • Pharmaceutical - suitable for Human consumption

Food Grade -vs- Pharmaceutical Grade Nutritional Supplements

What is the difference between food grade and pharmaceutical grade supplements?  The difference is like coal and diamonds.

Pharmaceutical grade means that the product has been manufactured under GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) conditions and is pure, safe and reliable.  Under GMP every step of the process is followed using established procedures to assure the best quality possible.

This includes training, equipment, raw materials, and facilities.  Processing and manufacturing can be traced back to the date, time, lot number, and equipment used.

Coal vs Diamond

Food grade nutritional supplements may or may not follow good manufacturing practices and may or may not contain what is actually listed on the label.  The FDA allows questionable fillers and binders such as; cork by products, chemical dyes, sodium benzoate, dextrose, and propylene glycol to name a few.  In most cases, impure ingredients are used by many companies.

The FDA does not require manufacturers to list these ingredients on the labels if they are not added when making the final product.

In short, Pharmaceutical graded products have to list all ingredients used, even trace ingredients, compared to food graded products being able to hide a lot of their bulkers and binders.

Herbalife is Pharmaceutical graded and has to follow very strict manufacturing practices.  They also list every single ingredient used on the product label.

In some of the articles I have read that are against the use of Herbalife, they have listed the following ingredients used as bad:

  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Mono-diglycerides
  • Emulsifiers
  • Fructose
  • Sucralose.

Soy Protein Isolate

Soy protein is a protein that is isolated from soybean.  It is made from soybean meal that has been deshelled and defatted.  Dehulled and defatted soybeans are processed into three kinds of high protein commercial products: soy flour, concentrates, and Isolates.

Soy protein Isolate has been used since 1959 in foods for its functional properties.  Recently, soy protein popularity has increased due to its use in health food products, and many countries allow health claims for foods rich in soy protein.

Soy protein isolate

Soy protein is generally regarded as being concentrated in protein bodies, which are estimated to contain at least 60–70% of the total soybean protein.  Upon germination of the soybean, the protein will be digested, and the released amino acids will be transported to locations of seedling growth.  Soybeans contain a small but newly very significant 2S Albumin storage protein.

Legume proteins, such as soy and pulses, belong to the globulin family of seed storage proteins called legume and vinculins, or in the case of soybeans, glycine and beta-congiycinin.  Soybeans also contain biologically active or metabolic proteins, such as enzymes, trypsin Inhibitors, hemagglutinins, and cysteine proteases very similar to papain.

The soy cotyledon storage proteins, important for human nutrition, can be extracted most efficiently by water, water plus dilute alkali (pH 7–9), or aqueous solutions of sodium chloride (0.  5–2 M ≈ 30-120 g/l) from deshelled and defatted soybeans that have undergone only a minimal heat treatment so the protein is close to being native or undenatured.

Food users

Soy protein is used in a variety of foods, such as salad dressings, soups, meat analogues, beverage powders, cheeses, non-dairy creamer, frozen desserts, whipped topping, infant formulas, breads, breakfast cereals, pastas… The list goes on!

Nutrition

Soybean protein is a "complete protein" since it provides all of the essential amino acids for human nutrition.  Soybean protein is essentially identical to that of other legume pulses.  For this reason, soy is important to many vegetarians and vegans.

Mono-diglycerides

Mono-diglycerides are nothing more than hydrogenated oils.  They are hydrogenated before separated into mono-diglycerides.  The "mono" means they are a combination of various oils mixed together, hydrogenated, then certain fatty acids called diglycerides are then separated out.

Mono-diglycerides

Mono-diglycerides remain the most widely used emulsifiers in food production.  These are used in a wide variety of food manufacturing such as, breads, bagels, chewing gum, ice creams, nearly all margarines and other spreads.  They serve as stabilizers, which give foods body and improve consistency.

Mono-diglycerides are a kind of incomplete fat, but they really have no caloric Impact since they're added to foods in such tiny amounts.  These not-quite-whole fats are common food additives used to blend ingredients together that doesn’t naturally blend well, such as oil and water.

Processed peanut butter it contains mono-diglycerides to give it a creamy consistency, and to prevent the oil from separating and sitting on the top.  Just like hydrogenated oils, mono-diglycerides increase the shelf life of foods, but they are on the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list according to the FDA. 

Amazing how so many haters have used this ingredient as a reason to tell people not to use Herbalife and yet, I’m sure they don’t tell the same people not to chew gum.

Emulsifier’s

An emulsifier (also known as an "emergent") is a substance that stabilizes an emulsion by increasing its kinetic stability.  One class of emulsifiers is known as "surface active agents", or surfactants.  Examples of food emulsifiers are:

  • Egg yolk – In which the main emulsifying agent is lecithin.  In fact, lekythos is the Greek word for egg yolk. 
  • Mustard – where a variety of chemicals in the mucilage surrounding the seed hull act as emulsifiers
  • Soy lecithin is another emulsifier and thickener

Fructose

Fructose is a natural simple sugar found in fruits, honey, and vegetables.  In its pure form, fructose has been used as a sweetener since the mind 1850s and has advantages for certain groups, including people with diabetes and those trying to control their weight.

Of course, fructose has been consumed for centuries in foods we still eat.  It is known as a simple sugar because it is a single sweetening molecule.  Fructose is also known as a monosaccharide.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is also a sweetener and is used to sweeten foods and beverages.  However, HFCS is not the same as fructose.  HFCS is a mixture of fructose and glucose, made by an enzymatic process from glucose syrup from corn.

fruit and honey

The most common forms are HFCS-42 and HFCS-55, which contain 42% fructose (and 58% glucose) or 55% (and 45% glucose).  Table sugar (sucrose) has 50% fructose (and 50% glucose) and so is very similar to HFCS.

Misinformation about fructose recently appeared in the media.  This misinformation alleges obesity and negative health consequences from the consumption of HFCS and fructose.  Many incorrectly use the terms “fructose” and “HFCS” interchangeably, confusing the public as well as health and nutrition professionals.

It is important to be aware of the differences between these sweeteners.

  • Herbalife F1 Shake: 220 calories less then 8g of Fructose
  • Apples: 1 medium apple has 95 calories, and 12.  6 grams of fructose
  • Bananas: 1 medium banana has 105 calories, and 7. 1 grams of fructose
  • Strawberries: 1 cup of strawberries has 49 calories, and 4. 1 grams of fructose

Sucralose

Sucralose

Sucralose has been accepted by several national and international food safety regulatory bodies, including the FDA, The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee Report on Food Additives, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food, Health Protection Branch of Health and Welfare Canada, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, in determining the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed data from more than 110 studies in humans and animals.  Many of the studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects, including carcinogenic, reproductive, and neurological effects.

No such effects were found, and FDA's approval is based on the finding that sucralose is safe for human consumption, for example:

"McNeil Nutritional LLC studies submitted as part of Its U. S. FDA Food Additive Petition 7A3987 indicated that "In the 2-year rodent bioassay… There was no evidence of carcinogenic activity for either sucralose or its hydrolysis products."

One big thing that most overlook. Herbalife have more than one product and do not only target people with weight loss. I have worked with many sports professionals in a few different sports. These athletes need to know that the supplements they use are free from any banned substances.

Every batch of HerbalIfe24™ products is analysed for substances that are banned by organizations such as the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Football League (NFL), and many other professional and amateur sports associations.

The products are also registered with Informed-Sport.

What is Informed-Sport?

informed sport logo

Informed-Sport is a quality assurance programme for sports nutrition products, suppliers to the sports nutrition industry, and supplement manufacturing facilities.

The programme certifies that all nutritional supplements and/or Ingredients that bear the Informed-Sport logo have been tested for banned substances by the world class sports anti-doping lab, LGC.

Athletes choosing to use supplements can use the search function above to find products that have been through this rigorous certification process.

Final Thoughts

I hope this has given a bit more insight to some of the ingredients used by Herbalife that have been slated by people who do not like Herbalife. 

No one can dispute that getting everything that our body needs from whole foods is by far the best way but unfortunately we live in a world where our foods are not as nutritious as they used to be and we live in a world where people want convenience.

Herbalife for me is the best alternative to HELP alongside whole foods, get the missing nutrients they may be lacking from a lot of people's diets especially those who have reduced their calories to try to lose weight.

I eat over 3000kcals per day and use Herbalife every day.  I have had some great results that have been a combination of Herbalife good nutrition and a healthy active lifestyle.  Herbalife is a great product if used in conjunction with good food and exercise.

Healthy lifestyle

I have never felt so good and never been in better shape.  I love the products but fully accept it’s not for everyone.  There are some great arguments for and against Herbalife on here but most people who are putting Herbalife down don't really know what they are talking about.

I don't know everything and don't pretend that I do but I have been trained by some of the best doctors in the world plus have seen results in health that is incredible. 

With my very busy schedule and dietary choices Herbalife has helped me achieve my micro nutrients so much easier and it helped me boost my calories and hit my macros.  Many people would argue that no supplements are needed to achieve any goal while others would argue it’s a must.

Herbalife for me is a great calorie controlled nutritious alternative for those looking to supplement their diet alongside good healthy food and a healthy active lifestyle.  I don't expect everyone to like it and I don't expect to want to use it but for people to be slating it without knowing much about it isn't very professional.

I'm sure there are members of Herbalife that have given out bad nutritional advice and maybe even got into the business for the wrong reasons but there are many personal trainers who are shocking at their job but that doesn't mean having a personal trainer is a bad thing so neither should it mean that Herbalife is a bad company or a bad product due to a small selective few.

I’m going to end my article here.  The statements above are based on my personal opinion and may not reflect those of Herbalife or other members. 

Thank you for reading!


Darren Tanser

About Darren

Darren Tanser is a personal trainer and sports nutritionist with a diploma in obesity and weight management. He's a pure fitness and nutrition fanatic.

He has always had so much passion for a career that he could enjoy whilst helping others achieve their goals too. After years of training himself, he decided to train as a PT and in nutrition. He then set up his own personal training company and joined Herbalife as a member. He has since strived every day to improve his knowledge in health and nutrition and to help as many people as he can achieve a healthier active lifestyle.

You can connect with Darren via his website, www.herfitshefit.co.uk, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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