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Herbalife Weight Loss Investigated

Herbalife is a company founded in 1980 which sells Herbalife products for weight-loss and health through multi-level marketing (MLM) distributorships. The weight loss program called ShapeWorks™, and associated weight-loss products, are reviewed here.

Also available from Herbalife distributors are targeted health/nutrition products (specifically for heart, digestion, stress, men, women, etc, as well as skin, hair, fragrances etc). They recently released a line of their best workout supplements called 24 Hour Fitness Support.

Some have experienced liver toxicity with Herbalife products. src.

Herbalife Weight Loss Program – ShapeWorks™

The ShapeWorks™ program is available for weight loss or weight maintenance in several variations (‘quickstart’, ‘advanced‘, ‘ultimate’, and with each of these ‘protein plus’), at regular prices ranging from $US85 to $US210 (discounted prices are available). The program personalizes daily protein intake for your body’s individual needs, with the aim that you feel full, satisfied and energized as you lose your unwanted weight. Included is a seven-day recommended meal plan.

The amount of weight-loss aimed for, and your physical make-up as well as your attitude to pushing towards your objective, will determine how soon you reach it and the extent that the ongoing cost of reordering supplies will mount up. The initial pack will last perhaps 11 to 15 days at the recommended rate of consumption.

The program features a daily plan of

  • a single healthy meal with plenty of fruit vegetables
  • 2 meal-replacement shakes tailored to your protein needs, and protein snacks to promote metabolism and reduce hunger
  • supplements to enhance health and cell nutrition
    by helping reduce fluid retention, boosting metabolism and building energy, increasing intake of essential nutrients and curbing appetite

Herbalife Weight Loss Products supplied with ShapeWorks™

Herbalife Shake Mixes: come in a variety of flavors, and contain up to 20 essential vitamins and minerals as well as health-enhancing herbs and 9g of soy protein, as well as being a healthy source of fiber.

Herbalife Herbal Concentrate: Low-calorie tea-mix for a tasty and healthy alternative to coffee and sodas –
comes in several flavors and includes selected herbs and green tea for its thermogenic and antioxidant properties.

Herbalife Multivitamin Complex: A daily multivitamin and mineral supply, plus selected herbs, to maintain health of bones, skin, hair and the immune system, and promote overall well-being and long-term good health.

Herbalife Cell Activator: Essential nutrients, plus selected botanicals, to improved nutrient absorption and support cellular energy production and stamina.

Herbalife Protein Powder: a blend of unflavored whey and soy protein powder, that is mixed in shakes, soups and sauces to help maintain lean muscle mass and reduce hunger.

Herbalife Cell U Loss®: A supplement to help reduce fluid accumulation in the body, shown for example in dimpled skin which may form when fatty tissues in certain parts of the body accumulate fluid and wastes.

Herbalife Total Control®: A herbal enhancer that works at the cellular level to promote weight loss. Boosts fat-burning metabolism, and builds energy and soothes digestion. Contains green tea extract with yerba maté, ginger and other selected herbs.

Herbalife Snack Defense™: A weight-management supplement that works all day to reduce the desire for sweets while lowering the between-meals ‘snacking’ urge.

ShapeWorks™ Program Components




  • Nutritional Shake Mix (550g)
  • Multivitamin ComplexCell Activator
  • Herbal Concentrate Original (50g)
Quickstartcomponents +:
  • Cell-U-Loss®
  • Total Control®
Advancedcomponents +:
  • Snack Defense™
  • Sampler Pack of snack items: 4 Bars (different flavors), 4 Roasted Soy Nuts, 4 Beverage Mix packets (2 flavors), 2 Creamy Chicken Soup.
Quickstart Protein Plushas above with 750g Shake Mix (instead of 550g) +:
  • Personalized Protein Powder
Advanced Protein Plus has Quickstart Protein Pluscomponents +:
  • Cell-U-Loss®
  • Total Control®
Ultimate Protein Plus has Advanced Protein Pluscomponents +:
  • Snack Defense™
  • Sampler Pack

Sample ShapeWorks™ Meal Plan

Breakfast and Lunch:
  • meal replacement
  • cup of herbal tea concentrate
  • multivitamins (1 tablet)

(approx. 29g protein)

Meal Replacement
  • 25g Shake Mix
  • 375 ml 1% M.F. milk or soy milk
  • 12 g (2 tbsp) Protein Powder – add more based on your needs
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit
  • blend well
  • meal
  • dessert (1cup fresh or frozen fruit)
  • multivitamins (1 tablet)

(approx. 30-40g protein)

  • 4+ cups of salad
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) rice- or wine-vinegar or nonfat salad dressing
  • 85-170g/3-6oz fish, skinless chicken, lean red meat or soy-meat substitute, cooked by non-fat means
  • 2+ cups mixed vegetables
Snack:(approx. 12g protein)
  • 1 cup cut, raw vegetables
  • Soup (Cream of Chicken Mix) or Protein Bar or Roasted Soy Nuts or Protein Drink (Wild Berry or Peach Mango Mix)
  • Individuals weighing over 100Kg/220pounds or wanting to lose 23Kg/50pounds or more may add one extra tablespoon of Protein Powder to their shakes. Also, men may have two snacks a day if hungry and weight-loss goals permit.
  • Replace 1 meal a day (instead of 2) to just maintain your weight.
  • Take advantage of all available flavors of shake and drink mixes.
  • Drinking water is important.
  • Exercise several times a week.

Sample Meal

Ingredients:¼ cup bottled citrus marinade¼ cup green onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp minced fresh ginger root

1 pound red snapper filets

  • Prepare marinade by combining the first four ingredients in a bowl.
  • Then pour marinade over snapper, flesh side down, and let set for 15 minutes.
  • Prepare grill.
  • Remove snapper from marinade and pat dry. Season snapper with salt and pepper.
  • Grill skin side down on an oiled rack set five-six inches over glowing coals for four minutes. Place lid on the grill to cover, grilling snapper until just cooked through for another four minutes.*
  • Carefully transfer snapper with a metal spatula to a platter and remove skin before serving.
  • Serve with steamed asparagus tossed with lemon and garlic.

*NOTE: Alternatively, snapper may be grilled in a hot, well-seasoned grill pan with a lid over moderate heat.

Nutrient Analysis per Serving:Calories: 285Protein: 48 grams

Carbohydrates: 12 grams

Fat: 3 grams

Look for other meal ideas here.

Meal Replacement (Shakes) Variations

With up to 30 meals in every ShapeWorks™ meal replacement container, the shakes can be used to make lots of variations, for drinks and for snacks (muffins, cookies, bars and pies). Here are two examples.

2½ tbsp/37mlMeal Replacement (French )Vanilla
1/3 cup/75mlSkim milk
¼ cup/60 mlHerbal Aloe drink
4-6Ice cubes
2 dropsMint extract
  • Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Here’s another sample recipe.

1 cup/250mlMeal Replacement (Dutch chocolate or French Vanilla)
2½ cups/625mlSkim milk
1 packageWhite chocolate sugar-free instant pudding mix
¼ cup/60mlPeanut butter
1Ready made chocolate pie crust, 8″/20x20cm
  • Mix Meal Replacement and milk together.
  • Add pudding and peanut butter mix well and pour into crust.
  • Chill one hour.
  • Add fat free, non-dairy whipped topping.

Is ShapeWorks™ suitable for everyone?

Weight loss programs like this, while effective for many, are not necessarily suitable for all. Although the program supplies at least 1000 calories daily and is nutritionally complete, there is a heavy reliance on Herbalife powders and pills. The suggested rate of weight loss (up to 3.5Kg/7½ pounds weekly) is too high for most people to sustain. In addition, reliance on a specific product does not teach healthy, lifelong eating habits. Maintaining a successful healthy lifestyle is a long-term thing that extends beyond the program itself, so you need to continue lifelong habits of good nutrition, fitness, and exercise.

The Herbalife ShapeWorks Weight Loss Program may become costly when adding the ongoing additional expenses of meal replacement shakes and supplements to your initial outlay to join the program of your choice. Conversely, making a large financial commitment might help to stay motivated.

See also – Official Homepage of Herbalife

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

  • Elinav, E., Pinsker, G., Safadi, R., Pappo, O., Bromberg, M., Anis, E., … Shouval, D. (2007). Association between consumption of Herbalife sup® nutritional supplements and acute hepatotoxicity. Journal of hepatology, 47(4), 514-520. link
  • Blanck, H. M., Serdula, M. K., Gillespie, C., Galuska, D. A., Sharpe, P. A., Conway, J. M., … Ainsworth, B. E. Use of nonprescription dietary supplements for weight loss is common among Americans. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(3), 441-447. link
  • Heymsfield, S. B., Van Mierlo, C. A. J., Van der Knaap, H. C. M., Heo, M., Frier, H. I. (2003). Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies. International journal of obesity, 27(5), 537-549. link

Last Reviewed: March 31, 2017

Watch the video: ABC News Investigates Controversial Diet Shake Company Herbalife (August 2022).