Protein and meal replacement shakes have become incredibly popular in recent years among people who want to lose weight, build their muscles, or who just want a convenient, on-the-go snack option. But with so many of these products on the market, choosing one that is truly nutritious, delicious, and effective for your needs can be difficult.
When exploring the wide variety of nutritional shakes around, one that stood out to our reviewers is Herbalife Nutrition’s top-selling meal replacement shake, the Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix. As one of the most popular nutrition products on the market, we wanted to find out how the Herbalife shake compares to its competitors. How healthy are Herbalife ingredients? How does it compare in terms of taste and convenience? Our review team set out to answer these questions and more.
What is Herbalife Nutrition?
Before trying Herbalife’s Formula 1, we wanted to find out about the company’s history and reputation, since this is often a strong indication of whether or not a product is of quality. We discovered that the company has been in business since 1980, and for more than 40 years, it has been producing healthy, high-quality nutritional products. Herbalife’s products are also incredibly popular, used by 4.8 million people per day around the world.
Something that impressed us right off the bat was that the company seems to have a strong sense of values. On their website, they state their mission: “to improve nutritional habits around the world with great-tasting, science-backed nutrition products that help people get the right balance of healthy nutrition.”
Herbalife is also committed to social responsibility, having received over 15 awards in 2019 for their achievements in this area. We learned from its website that Herbalife supports more than 140 community-based groups worldwide, helping them improve access to food, as well as nutritional education. The company has reached over 90,000 children in 50 countries across the globe in its quest to provide nutritional education. In addition to supporting other organizations, Herbalife has created several of its own health and wellness initiatives where both distributors and employees volunteer. The company also takes measures to invest in sustainability and operate with an environmental conscience.
Reviewing the Herbalife Nutrition Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix
Our next step was to determine whether the company’s strong sense of values results in nutritional products that are nutritious, delicious, and made with high-quality ingredients. Formula 1, Herbalife’s most popular product, is a plant-based meal replacement shake created through a collaboration of food scientists and nutritionists. Unlike other similar shakes (which are often low in calories but not particularly healthy), Herbalife shakes aren’t designed to replace a healthy diet or exercise plan, but rather support them.
So, what else makes Herbalife Formula 1 different from other nutritional products? Here’s a list of the differences we found.
While the company’s reputation for its positive global impact is important, we were pleased to discover that it takes the same care in creating its products and ensuring that they exceed safety and quality standards. The company has over 300 scientists on staff, 50 of whom have received doctoral degrees. Herbalife Nutrition’s products adhere to industry safety standards in over 90 different markets across the globe. This is an enormous feat for a nutritional product and says a lot about the company’s integrity and commitment to quality.
Another impressive aspect of the Formula 1 shake is the quality of its ingredients. Adulteration of ingredients (where low-quality ingredients are substituted for genuine ingredients) is a serious issue in the natural foods industry, and it results in many products that are dangerous or do not live up to their claims. Herbalife ingredients, however, are carefully sourced from around the world. In fact, the company is a member of the Natural Health Products Research Alliance, based at the University of Guelph, which aims to develop new, mutually agreed upon industry standards for botanical ingredient authentication. Herbalife Nutrition utilizes DNA-based tools to ensure their nutrition products consist of the exact species of plants and botanicals.
The company partners with trusted farmers across the globe who have been producing quality ingredients for many generations. Every product goes through rigorous testing to ensure they meet government and industry standards for safety.
This brings us to the next thing we love…
Herbalife Products Are Packed with Nutrition.
When we reviewed the label of Herbalife’s Formula 1 products more closely, there were a lot of plusses. For starters, healthy ingredients take center stage. Each shake contains 21 vitamins and minerals, as well as 9 grams of soy-based protein and 3 grams of fiber. They’re a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E.
This is as much vitamin A as half a cup of cooked broccoli (1750 IU), as much vitamin C as 2 small peaches (15mg), and as much vitamin E as 25 whole almonds (7.5 IU).
The shakes are also low-calorie, weighing in at just 90 calories for the powder itself and 170 calories per shake when you add it to 8 ounces of non-fat milk. This is incredibly helpful for people looking to shed some pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
Each shake also contains between 15 and 25 percent of many necessary vitamins, including vitamin A. C, D, iron, many key B vitamins, and more. They also have zero cholesterol and just one gram of fat.
For those looking for an alternative to soy protein, the Formula 1 Select line offers 15 grams of a high-quality, easily digestible protein blend of pea, rice, and quinoa. It also contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals and is ideal for people who are trying to eat clean. It is certified vegetarian, kosher, and gluten-free and has no milk or soy. It does not contain any artificial flavors or sweeteners.
Overall, the nutrition profile of Herbalife’s Formula 1 products is outstanding. We give them an A+.
It’s Flexible and Convenient.
Another unique aspect of the Formula 1 nutrition products is that they are truly flexible and convenient. From the original Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix to the ultra-convenient Formula 1 + PDM On The Go packets and Formula 1 Express Meal Bar, you can easily make a shake or grab a bar when you need a boost.
You can also keep your shake simple or add ingredients to support your specific nutritional needs. First, we tried Formula 1 as a standalone shake by simply mixing it with milk. (You can also mix it with your choice of milk, such as almond or soy milk.) Even with the most basic preparation option (mix two scoops of the shake mix with a liquid of your choice), you get tons of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. A quick shake can help you meet many of your nutritional goals.
Something else we like about Formula 1 is that you have the option to make the shake that is most delicious and nutritious for you. Need to eat more veggies? Add some kale or spinach. Want more fruit in your diet? Just add strawberries, bananas, blueberries, or other fruit. Need more protein to fuel your workout? All you have to do is add nuts.
If you want to go even further in terms of customizing your beverages, Herbalife also has a full library of recipes on its website. One of our favorites is the Yogurt Delight, which features low-fat yogurt, oats, raisins, and orange rinds in a healthy, high-protein high-fiber recipe. We also love the Warm Spiced Vanilla Shake. A scoop of vanilla powder, skim milk, and banana combined with banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger makes a spicy and healthy treat.
Lots of Great-tasting Flavors to Choose From
One of the biggest problems with nutritional products and shakes is that they often lack flavor or just don’t taste good. You’re often limited to a few options such as chocolate or vanilla. In the U.S., Formula 1 comes in 14 unique flavors!
Herbalife Nutrition studies their markets closely and customizes flavors based on each region. In China, for instance, you can find a red bean flavored Formula 1.
While you can add ingredients of your choice to make your shake healthier, the quality of Herbalife’s ingredients means the products are healthy to begin with. Many of the flavors of these products are unique and specific to Herbalife (aka we haven’t seen them in other similar products).
In terms of flavors, you can keep it straightforward with chocolate and vanilla, or branch out into flavors that taste more like desserts: banana caramel, pralines and cream, orange cream, strawberry cheesecake, and cafe latte are some of their most original (and delicious) flavors. There’s even a piña colada flavor. The products don’t sacrifice flavor for nutrition, either. They are satisfying to drink, and even when they taste like dessert, they’re still healthy. They also have the same quality Herbalife ingredients the company is well known for.
Some of their other formulas (such as their vegetarian Formula 1 Select) come in fewer, more basic flavors like vanilla or chocolate, but even these are exceedingly satisfying. And because consumers have a lot of latitude in terms of how they use the product, we didn’t find this to be an issue.
They Offer Different Options of Plant-based Proteins
Low-calorie, plant-based protein shakes are a great tool for weight management when paired with an exercise and nutrition plan. When meal replacement shakes are great-tasting, convenient, and offering multiple options, people are more likely to adhere to their weight management program.
Similarly, for people who are especially into health and fitness, like vegetarians or athletes, products that are plant-based and high-protein are a necessity. Giving consumers choice is an important value.
In addition to the original Formula 1 product, the company’s Formula 1 Select line is a good choice for those who don’t respond well to soy products. Made from a rich blend of pea, rice, and quinoa proteins, Formula 1 Select is free of gluten, soy, and dairy, and is vegetarian and kosher certified. It has a low glycemic index (GI), making it a good choice for people with diabetes who are concerned with keeping their blood sugar levels consistent.
This vanilla-flavored shake also passes the taste test and it contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners. It has 6 grams of fiber and 21 vitamins and minerals.
We also like Herbalife products that offer additional protein, such as the Protein Drink Mix, which you can combine with water as a substitute for milk when blending your shake. The convenient Formula 1 + PDM On The Go shake mix has a whopping 24 grams of protein to support your workouts and keep you full. This could be a good low-calorie choice for athletes or others with higher protein needs.
All in all, we give Herbalife Nutrition’s Formula 1 an A+ for many reasons. The shake has high-quality ingredients and is delicious, nutritious, convenient, and fully customizable, making it an exceptional product for a wide variety of consumers.