Health Topics

Let’s Talk about sugar . . .

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The Sugar in Shakeology

(by Shea Stanford, certified nutritionist)

Critics sometimes raise questions about Shakeology® and it’s nutritional value. One of the most common questions skeptics (and prospective users) have when they read the label is, “Why “so much” sugar?”


So, what’s up with that? There are six grams of sugar in a single serving of Shakeology®. For a nutritional meal, that may sound like a lot.  But let’s break down what we are comparing and the type of sugar we are talking about.


An apple has 23 grams of sugar…and, Shakeology® has 6.

The American Heart Association recommends that women should consume no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar per day, and men should keep their sugar intake down to nine (36 grams) teaspoons or less.  Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.


There’s a significant difference between the sugar found in Shakeology® and the kind found in that sprinkled doughnut you may be thinking about.    Dr William Coda Martin defines refined sugar as the “sweetest poison of all”.  Refined sugar is different than natural sugar.  Shakeology® contains no refined sugar.  It’s consists of a natural sweetener blend of non-GMO fructose and stevia.  Steve Edwards, Beachbody Director of Results and Fitness Advisor, says, “Fructose is a natural sweetener from fruit.” He explains that the original goal for Shakeology® was to create a vegan formula that was sugar free. However, to meet up with necessary taste requirements, a combination of natural sweeteners had to be negotiated.

Derived from beets, the non-GMO fructose has a low glycemic index and works in the formulation as a transport vehicle for the nutrients and for taste, says Edwards. This is unlike glucose sucrose (table sugar) or high-fructose corn syrup (chemically altered sugar). The sugar found in Shakeology® is sent directly to the liver for absorption, minimizing the impact on insulin and blood sugar levels. It’s processed cleanly in GMP-certified (Good Manufacturing Practice) facilities and doesn’t affect your body negatively the way other sugars do. The Westin Price Foundations suggests replacing refined sugar with natural sugar:

“Get in the habit of reading labels and avoid products made with white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, and ALL artificial sweeteners. Instead use natural sweeteners, including pure maple syrup, molasses, stevia, Rapadura (dehydrated cane sugar juice), brown or green stevia or raw unfiltered honey. Many health food stores offer products made with natural sweeteners, like cookies and ice cream, and even licorice, although it is better to make your own. ”

Oh OK!  I get it now!  But what about OTHER shakes?
In comparison to other shakes that may read ZERO sugar:  How do you think they are achieving that?

YES!—>  Artificial sweeteners and chemicals.  And those are big health no-nos.  Here’s why.

I promote questioning the ingredients found in Shakeology® AS WELL AS any other food, for that matter, especially the sugar content. Label readers know to look for unsuspected sugar as ingredients in all sorts of food ranging from “unsweetened” orange juice to pasta sauces to soda to “healthy” granola or breakfast cereals. Not only do foods high in added sugars fail to have nutrients your body needs, but they also contain empty calories that are counterproductive to your goals. Additionally, getting too much sugar can significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study reported by the American Heart Association. It’s only natural to want to make sure that a product you’re considering isn’t full of added sugars.

Diabetics certainly need to know about the quality and amount of sugar contained in Shakeology® and other products they are considering for their fitness journeys. Shakeology has a very low glycemic index- meaning what is in it, is not going to spike their sugar levels. Many diabetics drink Shakeology® daily, they attest to the fact that the low glycemic index of the sugar contained in Shakeology® does not negatively affect their health.

Remember that while the sugars in Shakeology® are naturally-occurring and combined with natural brown stevia, your shake might contain more sweeteners than you suspect. When you add milk (especially the whole variety) or rice milk to your shake, you will seriously increase the sugar levels in your daily dose of nutrition.   Hey we can all get carried away with adding too much fruit and creamy milk!

As long as you follow the guidelines suggested for mixing up your dense daily dose of health, you are well within safe levels of sugar intake. Shakeology® is not a sugar-laden shake to take lightly — it’s serious nutrition derived from whole foods and natural ingredients. It is NOT chocked full of unnecessary added sugars. It’s NOT made with high-fructose corn syrup. And, it’s not going to throw you into insulin overload due to its sweetener content.

Rhonda’s Comments . . .

So, what DOES Shakeology® contain?  Superfoods!  Most “Protein” shakes that you find in Walmart, Costco, Sam’s, GNC, etc. are simply Whey Protein.  They’ll just add weight and make you feel less hungry, but they don’t contain the nutritional value of Shakeology®.   

Shakeology_TropStrawBag_012816_Web (1)

(This is from the ingredient list for Strawberry Tropical Vegan Shakeology®.  Other flavors contain very similar ingredients, and calorie counts vary from 130 to 170 calories.) 

Because many of these ingredients are found all over the world in the areas where they grow best, they deliver the BEST results!

Why the cost?  $130 for a 30-serving bag?  That amounts to $4.00 per shake or $4.00 per meal!  One shake is typically 56 to 72 oz.!  What you purchase from Walmart or wherever, may cost less, but how many shakes does it deliver for you?  Probably 15. One-half a month.

When you buy food at Sam’s and Costco, don’t you buy larger bags, knowing that your family will eat it over several months.  We might buy a huge roast and cut it into four smaller roasts that we’ll freeze for later.  Also, ask yourself, how much food do you throw away every week or every month?  How much food spoils in your refrigerator, cabinet, or freezer?  Probably more than you realize.  John and I don’t throw away much food anymore.

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