Thanks to social media we are given peeks into the everyday lives of millions of people. There are about 500,000 beachbody 'coaches' so a quick hop on Instagram or Facebook and you're bound to see a shako selfie or sweaty workout pic. Harmless. What makes me cringe is when I see coaches letting their little ones drink Shakeoolgy. Is Shakeology safe for kids?
A few years ago I was a Beachbody coach for a whopping two months. I loved the workouts. They are extremely effective and so much fun! I thought becoming a coach would be a great way to start working with clients who were motivated to lose weight. I was also hoping it would be a nice source of income for me (after all - we all know of a Beachbody coach who makes "six figures a year.")
Well, I quickly realized Beachbody was not for me. The only way for a coach to make significant income is to recruit heavily (how many of you have been asked by a long lost high school friend to join their team?) and to sell Shakeology.
So, what is Shakeology? According to Beachbody;
Shakeology is a powerful superfood formula designed to deliver the nutrients you need to help you lose weight, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and support healthy blood sugar levels.
Want to know what they based that claim off of?
That's it. Just 50 people who drank Shakeology twice a day for twelve weeks for breakfast and lunch. Well NO WONDER they lost weight. They drank a 160 calorie shake for breakfast and lunch!
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I literally couldn't stomach the thought of telling people they had to spend $130 a month to lose weight by drinking a 'dense superfood nutrition' shake. That's as much money as I used to spend on healthy, mostly organic, groceries for two weeks. Of course coaches will try to sell you on it's value. "You don't need to take a multivitamin anymore!"
Well, you could also just eat a balanced diet. That's been working pretty well for thousands of years.
Aside from the over-hyped shakes I question the safety when I see people letting their kids drink Shakeology. Even as a coach I rarely drank it as it has maca root powder in it, which you are not supposed to take if you have a thyroid disease (I have Hashimotos.) I knew maca root effects hormones, particularly estrogen, so I couldn't imagine it would be too safe to give to kids.
I've spent hours researching the safety of ingredients in Shakeology in terms of children usage. There's extremely little scientific information out there. Many of the things in Shakeology are likely fine for kids; pea protein, chia seeds, flax, quinoa, probiotics ... all amazing (and things my son gets from real food almost every day.)
However, the adaptogen blend is what really worried me. All of these herbs are not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding. There's just no research done to see what effects it could have on a fetus or nursing child.
Shakeology ingredients potentially unsafe for children:
Cordyceps: a fungus that lives on caterpillars in China. I'm serious. NOT advisable to give to children under 5. Extremely limited research on its effects on children of any age. In adults it can increase the symptoms of autoimmune disease.
Maca: often used to treat hormone imbalances and improve fertility.
Astragalus: can worsen symptoms of a cold or virus. (Mentioned in a Babycenter thread. Obviously not scientifically sound but I found very little information on this herb.) Side effects include: GI upset, kidney disease, diarrhea, vomiting and development of small lesions and inflammation.
Maitake mushroom: Supposed to boost immune system. In breast cancer patients it increase some immune system functioning, but decreased other immune functioning.
Reishi mushroom: supposed to to help enhance the immune system,reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue. When used for over three months it can cause an allergic reaction in the form of dryness in your mouth, throat and nasal passages.
Schisandra: possibly helpful for increasing concentration, attention and treating hepatitis. As with everything else listed here pregnant women are advised not to take any. Schisandra can cause uterine contractions which could to miscarriage.
Just last year Beachbody removed acai from Shakeology as it "links with Chagas disease, a heart and central nervous system disease spread by parasites." What will they remove next?
Given the potential risks and side effects of these herbs is it really worth it to let a child drink it regularly? These herbs effect major biological and neurological processes. Until significant longitudinal studies are done on their safety and efficacy I would strongly recommend parents do their own research weigh the pros and cons before introducing this into their child's diet.
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Even the Shakeology label says to keep out of reach of children.