Thrive: An Experience Not a Lifestyle
I try my best to walk a fine line and give room for other nutritional products on the market, alongside my personal favorite Shakeology®. As anyone knows, I'm a Beachbody coach and an avid proponent of my shakes. But, I'm not so closed-minded as to think that there are no other worthy products out there.
However, it frustrates me when a company suggests their products can create healthier lifestyles for people, when they really only provide expensive supplements that don't do anything. The latest thing to come across my radar is the Thrive Experience.
This product's developers claim over 41 years combined experience in the health and wellness industry. They tout a "premium grade" product made from raw ingredients and use a "higher level" of nutrition. The website describes the product line as being comprised of all natural premium naturopathic formula made up of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, anti-oxidants, enzymes, pro-biotics and amino acids. Their shake promotes weight loss, fitness and lean muscle support. The system requires users to take two capsules daily, drink a shake and wear a DFT (Derma Fusion Technology) patch.
Until you start investigating more, this sounds GREAT! But, when I dug into the ingredients list for the capsules, the shake AND the patch, I discovered that the formulation is little more than a fancy vitamin, caffeine and pain killers.
Let's sort out my objections:
The first thing I noticed was that with the capsule and the shake, users are getting 260 micrograms of chromium. That's more than 10 times the recommended daily allowance. High levels of chromium in the body can lead to stomach issues and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), according to WebMD. Supplements that introduce too much chromium into the body can damage the liver, kidneys and the nerves, in addition to causing irregular heart rhythms. Even though these side effects are rare, it's really not worth the risk to me. A health-focused product shouldn't put you at risk, in my opinion. Additionally, chromium doesn't have the results that it's cracked up to have. A 2013 study showed that it did NOT promote glycemic control in diabetics or other major claims.
Caffeine is another major ingredient, in several forms, in this "thriving" product line. It's hard to determine exactly how much caffeine is present, but it's included in the form of green tea, guarana, green coffee bean, green coffee bean extract, cocoa powder, coffee extract and coffee extractives. There's no wonder the capsules, patch and shake act as an appetite suppressant with so many stimulants in them. Caffeine isn't usually harmful in small quantities, but there is no way of determining how much you're getting from these products. In fact, there are a couple more things to consider:
- Caffeine is addictive.
- Caffeine increases the risk of heart disease in those already at risk.
- Caffeine increases anxiety and its effects.
- Caffeine worsens bleeding disorders.
- Caffeine changes the way diabetics process sugar.
- Caffeine worsens diarrhea.
- Caffeine elevates blood pressure (especially for anyone who already suffers from hypertension).
- Caffeine worsens the symptoms of IBS.
- Caffeine increases the risks of osteoporosis, because it flushes calcium out of the body.
Garcinia cambogia is included in the patch. This substance was originally used in Hydroxycut and does not produce the results that were originally touted by the media when it was introduced. In fact, this is one of the substances that Dr. Oz was quizzed about in front of Congress, only to find out it's no better than snake oil. A clinical study actually debunks its effects and suggests it's simply a placebo. It does not promote weight loss.
Soy Lecithin, one of the top 10 used additives in processed foods, is in the shake. (Again -- if it's all raw and natural, why is this additive in it?) Nevertheless, it's used as a bonding agent and is known to affect cell growth, linked with possible cancer-causing agents.
White willow bark is essentially a fancy name for aspirin. It's a pain killer and anti-inflammatory. Nothing much to say there, except that combined with the caffeine and fiber content in all three products, you should feel pretty good when under the influence of these products.
Proof That It Works
Shakeology has been clinically proven to help users lose weight, lower cholesterol and lower blood sugar.
There is no clinical evidence that the many products of this company can do any such thing. There are no clinical trials nor published peer-reviewed studies. There simply isn't any actual evidence that this product lives up to its claims of weight management, fitness, lean muscle support, mental clarity and appetite control. Additionally, while many of the ingredients in the patch may help provide energy and appetite control when consumed, there are no clinical trials that demonstrate absorption through the body creates an effective claim. Some criticize the infamous patch as being as effective as a child's sticker.
Nothing on the website or marketing materials demonstrate anything about the quality control efforts going into the shake, capsules or patch. There are no statements about where these "raw" products come from, who collects them or how they are processed. This is all very important, if you're looking to purchase a quality product.
Beachbody is fully transparent about the 70 superfoods included in the proprietary blend that makes up Shakeology, along with the vitamins and nutrients that it consists of. Their manufacturing processes are void of contamination and ingredients are pure and contain no GMOs.
Cost and Convenience
The Lifestyle Pack for the in-question product line indicates it is $100 on the website. But, I couldn't find a way to log in and buy it directly from the company without contacting a distributor. If you purchase it from Amazon, you get it for $150. It includes 60 capsules (30 day supply), 30 patches (one for each day) and 16 packets of the shake. Lots of other supplements are available in their product line, but there doesn't appear to be anything that helps you adjust your lifestyle to maintain health or develop a level of fitness. No workouts, meal plans, etc.
When you purchase Shakeology, it's about a dollar a day cheaper than the Amazon version of this product. However, the vitamin, anti-oxidant, protein, phytonutrients, adaptogens, probiotics and enzyme content is much greater in Beachbody's one shake, than in the other guy's three products, combined. Plus, it's 30 full servings.
Cutting to the Chase
For my money and my nutrition, I'm going to leave stickers for the kids and continue with Shakeology. If I need extra caffeine in my diet, I'll drink coffee. I don't need it in a patch or a pill. Shakeology has more nutrition in its one shake, than the thriving experience offers with a combination of three products.