Wouldn’t you love to be able to lose weight and keep it off? Well, you’re certainly not alone.
Weight loss is an extremely common struggle in our modern society. It often seems that people make little headway in reaching their goals.
This is what makes companies like Plexus so appealing, as they offer a range of products that are supposed to make weight loss that much easier.
The company offers one famous product, Plexus Slim - also known as the 'pink drink'. This is meant to promote weight loss and is the reason for this Plexus Slim weight loss review. In it, we're taking a look at the drink itself, along with whether it actually works.
Plexus recently updated its formula and changed some of the ingredients. This review has been updated as well to reflect those changes and the implications of all of the ingredients for weight loss.
With all of those fads, it makes sense to figure out whether a given weight loss approach is likely to work before you spend time and money on it.
Want the Short Answer? Skip Straight to the Conclusion!
What is Plexus Slim?
Plexus Slim is often known as the 'pink drink' and is the most popular product from the company Plexus. The drink basically acts like a dietary supplement and is meant to help people lose weight.
At one point, the drink was incredibly popular, resulting in news stories and various endorsements. There were even claims that the drink was 'life changing', helping people to lose weight when they couldn't any other way.
But, there has also been controversy. The original version of the drink included the compound DMAA. This is a stimulant but was later associated with negative cardiovascular impacts.
The formula for Plexus Slim has changed since that point and many people continue to be passionate about the drink. This begs the question, can it really help with weight loss?
Plexus Slim is a weight loss drink that has been both popular and controversial
What is Plexus?
Broadly speaking, Plexus is a health and wellness company. Their marketing strongly focuses on ways to improve health and lose weight.
Plexus also falls under the category of MLM. This means that people can sign up as Ambassadors and make money by directly selling the products. The idea has it's merits and offers some people a way to make money.
But, it also creates considerable competition between Ambassadors. As a result, many will exaggerate the benefits of Plexus. Others may convince themselves that they see effects which aren't really happening.
Companies like Plexus also tend to rely on marketing gimmicks and hype.
This means the products often sound better than they are. Reviews should also be read with caution, as many reviewers will be biased to some degree.
I do also want to point out that Plexus has many issues, which you can see on their BBB page. Now, BBB isn’t always a good indication of whether or not you should trust a company – but you should certainly pay attention to any that get many complaints.
Based on this information, it seems that the main areas of issue are with the products and with billing. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. Likewise, these are the statistics for customer reviews on the same site:
Clearly, there are a lot of unhappy people.
One final note is that the company has even been in trouble with the FDA. Most likely, this was because their marketing made too many claims that could not be proven.
All of this offers more evidence that the company isn’t one to be trusted, which certainly doesn’t have good implications for their products.
Plexus is a multi-level marketing company that often receives poor feedback from customers
The Products from Plexus
The products on offer can be split into three general categories:
The personal care category isn't much of anything - just three general products.
Nutrition is more comprehensive and mostly consists of various supplements. For example, Plexus XFactor is a multivitamin and antioxidant supplement, while Plexus EDGE promises energy and focus. The supplements will all use proprietary formulas. But, the overall style is still similar to countless other products and companies.
For weight loss, there are a few key products.
The first is P96, which is simply a protein shake. This comes in either chocolate or vanilla and uses whey protein. With 15 grams of protein per serving, the shakes are decent enough. But, there are many other such shakes out there with a similar nutritional profile.
By far, the most significant product is Plexus Slim itself.
This product is actually a little unusual. Essentially, it is a drink that you make by adding water – and you’re supposed to have it before meals. The marketing for it makes these claims:
To achieve this goal, the drink includes various herbal extract and other ingredients, along with flavors. We'll come back to the science of Plexus Slim a little later (or you can skip straight to that topic).
Plexus Slim has also been updated fairly recently. This included some changes to their formula, along with the addition of extra flavors. The most significant difference was the addition of xylooligosaccharide, which is a prebiotic.
The new version also contains mulberry extract and cellulose gum, along with fruit and vegetable juice. The company also dropped out guar gum, polydextrose and Luo-Han-Guo fruit extract. The end result is a slightly different choice in sweeteners, a different fruit extract and the xylooligosaccharide.
Overall, the new and old versions mostly function the same, although Plexus Slim may now improve gut health as well.
In addition to Plexus Slim itself, there are a number of other products.Three of these seems to be specifically designed to work in conjunction with Plexus Slim and these are Boost, Accelerator + and Block.
Like the Plexus Slim drink, These supplements contain a range of nutrients and plant-based compounds, as the ingredients label for Accelerator + shows.
As a general rule, these are simply vitamin supplements with a few unusual additions (the stuff in the proprietary blend). Those additions might be unusual but I highly doubt that there is much science supporting their effectiveness.
As a side note, the company seems to be running with the idea that ‘more is better’ for at least some of the ingredients. For example, you have more than 8,000% the recommended daily dose for vitamin B12.
Now, in fairness, vitamin B12 is likely to be safe at this dose, although you should be careful if you have a health condition. It’s likely that all of the doses are entirely safe and may even be good for your health to a degree.
Still, I find the practice concerning because the company basically bombards people with a large range of nutrients and hopes that some of those actually help with weight loss.
Plexus is most well known for Plexus Slim (the pink drink) but it does have a number of supplements for weight loss as well
Plexus Slim Research
Plexus has put some money into researching its products and trying to prove their effectiveness. The site Team Healthy Mom goes into details about this research and the findings.
Simply put, the study did show that Plexus Slim contributed to more weight loss in an 8-week period than a placebo (5.4 lbs versus 3.1 lbs). The trend is appealing - but it wasn't statistically significant.
Additionally, Plexus Tri-Plex (Plexus Slim + 2 supplements), resulted in an average of 7.2 lbs weight loss compared to just 0.2 lbs for the associated placebo. The outcomes are encouraging - and suggest some weight loss impacts. Even so, there are limitations.
This research means there is more evidence for Plexus Slim than you might expect. Even so, it's just one study and has many limitations. There's no way to know whether similar outcomes would apply to your situation.
Plexus Slim has been researched directly. The results are limited but encouraging.
Plexus Slim Ingredients
Plexus certainly does have a range of weight management products but, how well do they actually work? Well, the company seems to think that they work great:
Well… kind of:
Basically, this means that if you eat a healthy diet and exercise, these products will help you lose weight. Of course, if you do that you are actually going to lose weight with or without the products.
Also, do you notice how vague that language is?
These products will provide ‘extra support’. There is no indication of what ‘extra support’ actually means and it could mean pretty much anything. In fact, that entire claim could even be considered true if the products did nothing at all. After all, taking them would offer you some emotional support, especially if you believed they would actually do something.
To really look at how, and if, these products work, we have to look at what’s involved. Specifically, we’re going to look at the components of Plexus Slim.
Even though the company does have other products, they tend to have the same patterns with all of them. So, finding out whether Plexus Slim is scientifically supported should offer insight into the other products as well.
The basic ingredients label for the product looks like this:
So, the active ingredients are as below:
So, let’s take a look at them.
As such, the first benefit is simply health. Having a good balance of gut bacteria has been connected to many benefits, including decreasing the risk of depression. From the available research, xylooligosaccharide seems to fill this role well.
There is also some evidence that healthy gut bacteria may promote weight loss. This is one reason why some people turn to kefir for weight loss. Even so, the same benefits apply to other sources of prebiotics and probiotics as well, including fermented foods.
The site Mark's Daily Apple offers considerable detail into what prebiotics are, where you can find them and what benefits they offer. Likewise, Hello Glow talks about how prebiotics and probiotics can support weight loss.
Any benefit is likely to be strongest for people that don't consume enough prebiotics and those who have poor gut health. In contrast, if you're already getting sufficient prebiotics, the compound may not help much. After all, prebiotics are basically food for the bacteria in your gut. More of these compounds are unlikely to help if you're already getting enough.
While there is some merit to the ingredient, it's unclear how significant any weight loss advantage would be.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
To start off with, green coffee bean extract is hardly unique. At one point in time, this was heavily hyped as a revolutionary tool for weight loss (frequently by Dr. Oz). However, the supplement has largely fallen out of favor since then, mostly because the science behind green coffee bean extract was never actually very good.
Now, at one point, it really did look like green coffee bean extract helped with weight loss. Specifically, this action was connected to the substance chlorogenic acid. This is a key component of coffee beans but is mostly removed during roasting, which is where the idea of green coffee beans comes from.
Green coffee bean extract was supposed to be effective because it inhibits an enzyme in the liver that plays a role in forming sugar. The chlorogenic acid has also been associated with activating metabolism and influencing how fast fat is absorbed.
There have been a few experimental studies into the effectiveness of green coffee bean extract for weight loss. However, there have been relatively few of them and they haven’t been well-designed. A review paper from 2011 noted that there isn’t enough evidence to show that green coffee bean extract is effective. Furthermore, most studies have been limited and many have also been funded by the industry (4).
One of the most interesting points about green coffee bean extract is a 2012 study that was the most heavily promoted piece of evidence for the effectiveness of the compound at the time.
If you look up the article now, this is what you will see:
This means that the authors pulled the article. In particular, the article was removed because the sponsors of the article ‘cannot assure the validity of the data’.
Honestly, the retraction of the article isn’t a surprise because the science behind it was pretty bad. The site Science Based Pharmacy offers more details about the whole scandal behind green coffee beans and what actually happened.
Part of that issue is related to Dr. Oz, who was associated with the paper and heavily promoted it. Despite all the hype that surrounds him, Dr. Oz isn't especially trustworthy and there is growing controversy about how he misleads and manipulates his audience.
In fairness, there is some evidence that green coffee bean extract supports weight loss but there certainly isn’t enough science out there to prove that effect. Additionally, the studies that have observed an effect tend to report a relatively small difference in weight (e.g. 5).
So, green coffee bean extract might or might not help you lose weight – but either way, it probably won’t make a big impact. Besides, there is one other thing worth mentioning. If green coffee bean extract did work, we’d know about it.
You see, green coffee bean extract was immensely popular at the time and a lot of people bought the supplements. As time went on, interest in the product waned dramatically (you can see this in the pattern from Google Trends).
That pattern simply wouldn’t have happened if people were actually losing weight from the supplement.
Garcinia Cambogia Fruit Extract
The concept surrounding Garcinia cambogia is similar to green coffee bean in a lot of ways. In this case, the hype is starting to die down but some interest remains.
With this supplement, the key compound is hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Garcinia cambogia is thought to have a number of different roles, including decreasing fat production and playing a role is how full people feel (6,7).
As with green coffee bean extract, there have been some studies that support the role of Garcinia cambogia in weight loss but those studies have been fairly limited in scope (8).
At the end of the day, the research is fairly limited, especially as studies vary considerably in the formulations that they use and in their designs (11). This means that, like green coffee bean, Garcinia cambogia probably doesn’t have a very significant impact on weight loss.
Alpha lipoic acid
Now, alpha lipoic acid is a little bit different than the first two compounds I mentioned. Specifically, the compound has a decent amount of scientific support in terms of health benefits, even though it still isn’t used as a supplement all that often (12).
However, despite that pattern, alpha lipoic acid typically isn’t used for weight loss.
Now, there are some studies that support the role of alpha lipoic acid in weight loss but not many. One of these showed that participants taking alpha lipoic acid lost more weight than those that did not, although they experienced some side effects (13).
One other study found that treatment with alpha lipoic acid did contribute to a decrease in weight and BMI, along with improvements to blood pressure (14).
However, this study was majorly limited as it has no control group. As such, it's impossible to determine whether the observed effects happened because of the alpha lipoic acid or some other factor.
A more recent study showed a similar outcome, this time with a control group.
There was also another study with no control group . In this case, the authors found that alpha lipoic acid could help with weight loss for patients with schizophrenia who were taking antipsychotics (15).
There was also a study on obese adults with diabetes, where alpha lipoic acid resulted in significantly more weight loss (16). Finally, the one other study that I found indicated that alpha lipoic acid improved energy metabolism in mice and helped decrease weight (17).
Honestly, this evidence is extremely limited. In particular, only two of the previous studies were in humans and had a control group. Both considered specific populations. One only looked at patients with diabetes, while the other considered individuals who were obese and had diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or hypertension.
The site Examine.com highlights another two studies that discuss weight loss and the site comes to a similar overall conclusion. They did also mention that doses of 1,800 mg may help with weight loss for people who are obese. But again, more research is needed.
So, even if alpha lipoic acid could possibly contribute to weight loss in select populations, there is no indication that it can do so for everyone else.
Many more studies are needed before we can be confident that there is a weight loss impact.
As the site Science Based Pharmacy points out, the concept is implausible as well. If nothing else, the ingredient has been studied less than most of the others on the list - and the evidence for them isn't very good.
Chromium is another nutrient that is fairly common for health but isn’t really used for weight loss (20). Now, there has been some research in this area but the outcomes haven't been exactly encouraging.
For example, a pilot study on the topic looked at supplementing with chromium picolinate over the course of 24 months and found that this had no impact on body weight (21).
Another study on patients with diabetes found that chromium had a slight impact on HbA1c levels but no impact on BMI (22)
Now, some studies have found some role of chromium on weight loss, such as a meta-analysis, which found that chromium picolinate contributed to weight loss (23).
However, the authors of that study noted that the research they were examining was sub-optimal and this may influence the validity of the observed outcomes.
There is some potential for chromium to contribute to improved glucose control or reduced appetite which may, in turn, help to promote weight loss. However, the evidence for these patterns is slim and it seems that they do not arise all that often (24).
As such, it really is unlikely that chromium plays any role in weight loss for people supplementing with it. So, the chromium is also unlikely to play a role in Plexus Slim or any other Plexus product.
There is also another set of ingredients in Plexus Slim (shown below). These are considered non-active, so they won't have a weight loss impact.
Instead, they are used to make the drink taste decent, dissolve well and look the way it does.
I haven’t looked at the ingredients for every single weight loss product from Plexus in-depth but it’s pretty easy to see the patterns.
In general, most of the active ingredients fall into one of two categories. The first category is compounds that we know are good for health but are common in many other food sources and/or supplements. Chromium and alpha lipoic acid are both examples of this.
The other category is compounds that are much more controversial and offer little evidence of benefit. Green coffee bean extract is one example of this.
In fairness, there is a chance that these compounds can cause some benefits in terms of weight loss. However, if they do, that advantage is likely to be small and will probably only happen if you are already losing weight on your own.
The research evidence is for these compounds on their own.
But, we have no idea how prevalent they are in Plexus Slim. The ingredients label states that there is 200 mg of chromium and 1,000 mg of oxlooligosaccharide. For the other ingredients, we just know that there is 531 mg in total. It's unclear how much there is of each component.
The doses are also likely to be lower than the individual studies focused on.
At the same time, pretty much all the research done on the connection between the ingredients and weight loss has been short-term only. That doesn’t offer much reassurance about the long-term effectiveness or even about long-term safety.
Honestly, is it worth paying such a high amount for supplements that will either do nothing or barely anything for you?
Personally, I’d much rather get the nutrients that I need out of healthy and whole foods, rather than from a bottle or a pink drink.
Science aside, there is one final reason why the products from Plexus are so suspicious.
This is the fact that there are countless other companies out there that promote the same or similar products. In many cases, the key ingredients from Plexus’s offerings can even be found in products from other companies.
If it truly were possible to create a pill or a drink that dramatically helped with weight loss – why do we still have an obesity crisis?
After all, countless people try out fad diets and Plexus Slim has certainly been popular, as have the other products from the company. Yet, despite this, the evidence for effectiveness is very limited.
There really isn't much evidence that any of these ingredients contribute significantly to weight loss. Realistically, you're just paying for a very expensive multivitamin
Plexus Slim Reviews
When it comes to weight loss products, reviews can be deceptive – and that’s especially true for the many Plexus Slim weight loss reviews out there. Even so, let's take a look at some of them.
Positive reviews aren't just about weight loss either. Instead, some people seem to feel better when they use Plexus Slim.
Some of these reviews are probably from distributors. Others may be influenced by the placebo effect. But, it is clear that some people are happy with the products.
On the other hand, many people have different experiences.
The drink also scored just 33% on the site Diets in Review, which aggregates feedback from users. This alone is a good indication that the drink isn't amazing.
The end result is similar to other weight loss products. Some people experience benefits, others don't. Realistically, the outcome is going to depend on your body and needs, along with what you're expecting.
But, it is clear that the pink drink isn't revolutionary. Many of the people who saw benefits talk about specific outcomes. Others indicate that they had to change their lifestyle dramatically at the same time.
If you want more information, you can check out the review that Skinny Bonny offers. She provides insight into Plexus Slim and all of the science.
Plexus Slim Flavor
One other point to mention is the flavor of the drink. Plexus Slim changed formulation recently and that included a change in flavor and options. Originally, the company just had a single flavor, now they offer raspberry, lemon and watermelon as options.
Reviews for the new taste are extremely mixed
The variation suggests that you'd have to try Plexus Slim for yourself to know whether you like how it tastes.
Even though there are some positive reviews for Plexus Slim, I recommend being wary about them. Some people also experience side effects and opinions about the taste are very mixed
Plexus Slim Side Effects
Reviews suggest that some people are experiencing significant side effects, with the most common being digestive challenges.
As with regular reviews, information about side effects won't be fully accurate. People don't always know what caused a particular outcome and they will often assume.
Some of the observed side effects can be attributed to specific ingredients. For example, Plexus Slim does contain caffeine. If you're sensitive to caffeine, it can lead to headaches, anxiety and a rapid heart rate. The same is true if you have excessive caffeine from other sources too.
The prebiotic could also result in some digestive challenges.
Finally, some observed impacts may be caused by behavior. For example, people often cut down their calorie intake (sometimes dramatically) when taking a diet supplement. Those changes can sometimes cause more side effects than the actual product. Even so, there are many reviews that mention side effects - suggesting that there is reason for concern.
Despite this, the reported side effects tend to be mostly minor and are relatively uncommon. Research also suggests that the various ingredients are all safe at their recommended doses (25,26,27,28). And honestly, you're likely to get relatively little of most the ingredients in Plexus Slim.
The main exception is if you're consuming too much of the drink. For example, ingredients like alpha lipoic acid can be dangerous at high doses (29). This means you shouldn't take more than the recommended dose of Plexus Slim.
It also suggests that you should combine supplements from Plexus and other companies, which is a good general rule anyway.
Collectively, this information suggests that Plexus Slim should be safe for most people. But, you should still pay close attention to your own body. If you experience any significant issues, stop using Plexus Slim and talk to your doctor.
Plexus Slim is likely to be safe for most people. But, you may experience side effects, so be careful
Buying Plexus Slim
The most common ways to buy Plexus Slim would be through the site or distributors.In either case, you can buy the product on its own or part of a combo.
If you go through the site, the price for just Plexus Slim is $87.95. There are 30 servings in a pack. But, Plexus suggests having the drink twice per day. If you do so, you'd be paying almost $180 per month. There may also be shipping fees.
The prices for the combos vary depending on the products. For example, the Plexus Slim, Accelerator+ and Block pack costs $152.95.
You can get a discount by signing up as a preferred customer. But, involves getting the product shipped to you automatically each month. Be very careful with autoship! The process is often problematic and many people have had issues with Plexus in this area.
You can also buy Plexus Slim on Amazon. It is more expensive and may be pulled off there at some point. Even so, I recommend trying out the product this way first. Too many people have had issues with the company rebilling and customer service appears to be awful.
Simply put, it's not worth the risk - especially when you don't know whether Plexus Slim will even work for you. At least with Amazon, there are more protections in place.
Plexus Slim tends to be expensive, even if you just get the drink
Does Plexus Slim Really Work?
There is evidence that some of the ingredients may contribute to minor short-term weight loss. So, for some people, Plexus Slim could be beneficial.
At the same time, the drink could make you more aware of your diet and lifestyle. Paying for it consistently could just make you more determined as well. Both of those areas may contribute to weight loss.
If you end up improving your diet and lifestyle at the same time, the results may be more significant again.
Even so, the advantages aren't large. At best, the drink might make it a little easier to lose weight. At worst, you're regularly spending money on a pink drink that does nothing much.
In fairness, the prebiotic component of Plexus Slim may help people feel better and could even promote weight loss. But, there are many prebiotic and probiotic supplements out there. You can also get the same benefits from whole foods.
Successfully Losing Weight
Despite all the marketing - the biggest challenge isn't losing weight anyway. It's doing so in the long-term and keeping that weight off. A product-based system is never going to do this well.
After all, it teaches you no long-term strategies. At some point, you're going to want to stop paying for the drink. What happens then?
Realistically, if you want to lose weight, you have to find an approach that works in the long-term. Plexus Slim just doesn't fall into that category. In fact, most diets and products focus on fast weight loss – while offering little-to-no support for keeping it off.
What's the solution?
Many people are turning to lifestyle approaches instead of diets. These tend to be less intense and are sustainable over years. They don't offer amazing pills, shakes or pink drinks either. Instead, the emphasis is on whole foods and on realistic systems of eating.
The Mediterranean diet is one such approach, with intermittent fasting, ketosis and paleo being others. The goal is to find something that works for your own needs and situation. This can take trial and error but there are amazing support communities.
My point is simply that there isn’t a single solution. In fact, the site Medicine Net talks about how the best diet depends on who you are.
More than anything, this means that you need to start looking for long-term, sustainable approaches and start listening to your own body more. If you can find the right lifestyle, then losing weight will often end up being easy and natural.
All of this might sound like a lot of work but it isn’t really. Besides, once you find a lifestyle that works for you, following it is a lot easier than trying to stick with the latest fad diet or having to shell out for whatever products are supposed to make weight loss easier.
Want to Lose Weight and Keep it Off?
Weight loss is a huge industry, with no shortage of hype. But, long-term weight loss doesn't come from a crash diet or a popular fad.
Instead, you need sustainable habits and healthy foods.
Check out my recommended weight loss products to see where you can get started
Have you tried Plexus Slim or any Plexus products? What are your thoughts?