Protein shakes have become an extremely popular way to lose weight and honestly, that’s no surprise.
For one thing, shakes are often pretty filling while also being relatively low in calories.
In fact, they can be particularly powerful for weight loss simply because people will often replace a meal each day with a shake.
Additionally, some research suggests that many of us need more protein in our diet and that high protein snacks may help with weight loss.
Many diets also rely on protein shakes as a key component – although some do so more effectively than others.
So, the idea makes sense but how do you pick a brand?
There are so many different options out there, including a number of direct sales companies that specialize in weight loss and offer protein shakes.
This post takes a look at two of these companies – Shakeology vs Isagenix. Each company has its own set of products but is one better than the other?
That’s what we’re going to figure out.
Flavors and Variations
Flavor is always important when it comes to shakes. It’s true that you can drink pretty much anything if you put your mind to it. However, drinking shakes daily becomes significantly easier if you like the taste of what you’re drinking.
The more flavors that a company has, the greater chance you have of finding something you like. Plus, this means that you can swap flavors over time, stopping you from getting sick of the shakes too quickly.
Of the two companies, Isagenix offers fewer flavors overall. Specifically, there are just 3 flavors for the general shakes and they’re pretty standard.
There is also a Kosher variation (which just comes in vanilla), along with a dairy-free version (which comes in vanilla, chocolate and berry).
However, I will note that the company seems to release limited edition flavors from time to time. So, there may be more options for flavors available at some times compared to others.
Now, the variation in types is appealing but you’re essentially just left with four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and berry.
In contrast, Shakeology offers 5 different flavors for standard shakes.
Additionally, there are two other flavors if you’re looking for a vegan version.
What interests me the most here is that Shakeology’s flavors are a little more unusual. For example, you don’t commonly see greenberry or café latte as a flavor, nor tropical strawberry.
So, even though the absolute number of flavors isn’t that much higher, the flavors from Shakeology do seem to be more interesting.
However, Isagenix does have more allowance for dietary needs. For example, their standard and their dairy-free shakes are low glycemic, soy free and gluten free. In contrast, Shakeology is not certified gluten free (although the ingredients themselves don’t contain gluten).
As such, Isagenix may be the better choice for people who have sensitive dietary needs, while Shakeology offers more flavors to those who don’t have significant dietary limitations.
Both Shakeology and Isagenix are direct marketing companies, which means that their prices are relatively high compared to what you get in stores. But, the companies are fairly similar to one another.
First of all, the regular version of Isagenix comes in at a little over $50 and is slightly more expensive if you buy it in packets versus a container.
But, either way, you’re paying roughly $50 (plus shipping etc.) for two weeks’ worth of protein shake.
Shakeology also offers a bag or individual packets. The price for both types is the same but you only get 24 servings in the packets, versus 30 in the bag.
Taking the best buy from each company, you end up with this:
- Isagenix: $3.71 per serving
- Shakeology: $4.33 per serving
This means that in terms of Shakeology vs Isagenix, Isagenix wins, coming in at around 60 cents less per serving. How significant that difference is will depend on your finances and which shakes you actually prefer.
You can also find Isagenix on Amazon, which can be a convenient option as well.
Both products are relatively expensive but Isagenix works out cheaper per serving
In this comparison of Shakeology vs Isagenix, nutrition is probably the most important area. After all, people do turn to these drinks to improve their health, so you want the best nutrition you can get.
First of all, the nutrition will vary between each flavor. It’s not practical to compare them all, so I’m just looking at the standard chocolate from each range. However, the same patterns are likely to be true when comparing other flavors as well.
Side by side, the basic nutrition information looks like this (Isagenix is on the left):
One of the key differences here is fat versus sugar. Isagenix relies on sugar much more than Shakeology, containing 11 grams of sugar per serving. Personally, I find that concerning as sugar is majorly damaging to the body. In contrast, Shakeology relies more on fat, with a higher amount of fat per serving and only 6 grams of sugar.
This also means that Shakeology is a better choice if you’re trying to decrease your carb intake. The site Eathropology talks about why you may want to do this.
Isagenix does also have more fiber than Shakeology but the difference here isn’t huge (8 grams versus 6 grams).
However, another key difference is protein.
Isagenix has significantly more protein per serving (24 grams versus 17 grams). This is a huge difference for weight loss, as protein is one of the main reasons for drinking this type of shake to begin with.
Additionally, Isagenix is higher in calories than Shakeology.
Whether that’s good or bad really depends on how you’re consuming the shake.
For example, if you’re using a protein shake as a snack between meals, then lower calories are probably better. In contrast, if you’re trying to replace a meal, higher calories may be more appealing.
There is also another aspect of nutrition to consider, which is the various vitamins and minerals.
Technically speaking, both Shakeology and Isagenix produce meal replacement shakes. This type of shake provides many of the nutrients that you would find a normal meal, although each brand varies in precisely which nutrients they offer and how much.
For example, the image below is from the Shakeology chocolate shake.
While this image is from Isagenix:
In contrast, you’ll find other brands that just make protein shakes (like whey protein shakes). One key difference is that conventional protein shakes don’t tend to contain the added nutrients. Instead, the focus is on the protein.
Many of the discussions of Shakeology vs Isagenix focus heavily on these additional nutrients. In fact, I’ve seen some sites that claim Isagenix is better nutritionally. But honestly, it’s hard to make a direct comparison simply because there are so many nutrients.
Personally, I don’t think it matters, not really.
For the most part, a protein shake doesn’t need to function like a multivitamin, especially not if the rest of your diet is healthy, After all, research is increasingly showing that multivitamins don’t really help (1,2).
Instead, taking any type of nutrient will probably only help if you’re deficient in it to begin with. So, for example, many people do need to take a vitamin D supplement and fish oil can sometimes be beneficial as well. But, you certainly don’t need a large list of different vitamins and minerals.
This is also why I prefer straight protein shakes to what either Shakeology or Isagenix offers. But, if you’re going to go with one of these two brands, pick based on fat, protein, sugars, calories and carbs – rather than vitamins and minerals.
Of the two, I recommend Shakeology in terms of nutrition, largely because the sugar level is lower. However, Shakeology does have lower protein as well, so it isn’t all good.
There are a number of nutritional differences between the two brands, with Shakeology offering more fat and less sugar, combined with a lower amount of protein
Shakeology vs Isagenix: The Final Score
In many ways, Shakeology and Isagenix are pretty similar to one another. They both come from direct marketing companies, are overpriced compared to the rest of the market and have a large number of different nutrients.
The key advantages of each are as follows:
- Higher protein
- Lower price per serving
- Better for specialized diets (particularly Kosher or gluten-free)
- Higher fiber
- More flavor variety
- Less sugar
Which is better?
If your primary goal is weight loss, then Isagenix is probably the best choice. This is because the shakes are much higher in protein and have a little more fiber as well. So, they would probably keep you full for longer.
They’re also cheaper, which is an added bonus.
The catch is that the shakes do have more sugar and more calories. This may not be an issue if you are having a shake instead of a meal. However, if you’re going to use shakes as snacks, be aware of the increased calories.
Nevertheless, both of these products have their limitations and they do come from direct marketing companies.
Realistically, you’re better off branching out and looking at other brands – particularly those that are protein shakes, rather than meal replacement shakes. In many cases, you’ll find that these aren't as expensive and contain less sugar as well.
Many straight protein shakes will also tend to have fewer ingredients overall, which may be appealing to people wanting to closely manage what they are consuming.
You can also use a protein powder as a base and then add on other ingredients for nutrients. For example, the site Daily Burn offers a list of 21 different protein powder recipes to try.
Some other alternatives are given below.
Swipe left to view more columns
If you want to know more, you can check out the Definitive Guide to Whey Protein Powder, and see why that option is potentially much more powerful.
You can also check out our other protein shake reviews and comparison posts.
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What do you think? Do you have a favorite type of shake for weight loss?