Home Weight Loss & Fitness An In-Depth Analysis of Formula 1 Diet Shakes

An In-Depth Analysis of Formula 1 Diet Shakes

by Toney
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Before committing to any health supplement, it’s vital to understand whether the marketing claims are actually true. It’s easy to put words on a label, but backing them with a product that lives up to the hype is much harder. Because we believe in helping you make educated decisions about your health and diet, we’re examining some of the most popular diet shakes out there. These critical reviews are geared towards helping you understand the ingredients used so you can be fully informed to make the best decision possible.

Formula 1 Shake Review

The Formula 1 Shake is a popular meal replacement shake from the company Herbalife. While the driving purpose behind the shake isn’t expressly weight loss, it does come with the promise of helping you maintain weight by providing you with a “healthy meal” full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. So is this shake all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Formula 1 Shake Nutritional Facts

Before you look over the nutrition information, note that the ingredient list has over 40 items on it. As we’ve mentioned before, this is neither good nor bad, although it certainly can be an indication there are some suspicious ingredients lurking in there. At best, though, it makes things complicated for you trying to figure out what’s actually in the shake or not. Information is based on a serving size of two scoops, and suggested serving is to blend the powder with 8 ounces of water or milk. Using milk or adding the powder to a fruit smoothie would definitely up the calorie count.


At only 90 calories per serving, this shake has definite diet potential. Because the powder itself is so low, you can add the powder to milk or a fruit shake without drastically increasing your calories too much, making this a very viable diet meal replacement option.

Notable Ingredients

Formula 1’s primary “claim to fame,” nutritionally speaking, is being certified gluten free. However, for those with allergy concerns, the shake does contain milk (in the form of casein as the ninth ingredient) and soy (the first ingredient listed).

Other noteworthy ingredients are inulin, a prebiotic that’s essentially food for probiotics, the microorganisms that aid in digestion. Another ingredient is aminogen, an enzyme complex created by Triacaro Industries to aid in the digestion of protein. The overall effect is better digestion, although the necessity of including aminogen is questionable since most people have no problem digesting protein without help.

Controversial Ingredients

Formula 1’s protein source is soy (see below for more details). While soy does offer high amounts of plant-based protein (making it popular among vegetarians and vegans!) there is a tremendous amount of controversy over this widely used protein source. Recent research has linked soy with undesirable health issues such as stunted growth, infertility, introducing toxicity to the nervous system and kidneys, and increasing the risk of breast cancer in women. One of the main concerns with soy is the presence of isoflavens, which behave like estrogen hormones once in our bodies[i]. Additionally, soy contains substances that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb important minerals (like calcium, zinc, and magnesium)[ii]. Perhaps one of the worst facts about soy, though, is the fact that 99% of soy is genetically modified[iii]. While Herbalife does offer a non-GM option, the implication is all the other flavors do contain genetically modified soy.

Protein Sources (Core Engine)

Formula 1 Shake contains 9 grams of protein per serving, which compared to other meal replacement shakes is a little on the low side. In fact, while Herbalife did three clinical studies to determine Formula 1’s effectiveness in weight loss, all of those studies increased the amount of protein in the shake to see results. The company sells a separate protein powder that could solve this issue, but on its own, Formula 1 lacks this key macronutrient.

The protein source is solely from soy protein isolate. The company gives no indication as to how the soy is sourced and whether it is non-GMO. The use of soy also eliminates Formula 1 as an option for many people due to allergies. However, it’s important to note that Herbalife offers an “Alternative Proteins” version of their shake containing pea, sesame, and rice proteins. Nutritionally, this version still has 9 grams of protein, with the only other significant difference being an extra 10 calories, but almost double the sodium of the regular vanilla shake.

Fiber Sources

Getting enough fiber while you’re on a diet is important. It keeps you full and helps regulate digestion. Formula 1 offers 3 grams of fiber, which, similar to its protein content, is a bit on the low side compared with other meal replacement shakes available.

What Are the Sweeteners?

How a meal replacement shake is sweetened is one of the make-or-break health differentiators. Options like stevia and monk fruit don’t spike blood sugar and are no-calorie. But this particular shake uses (drumroll, please): fructose. And it’s listed as the second ingredient on the list! We’ve all heard the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). But did you know HFCS isn’t pure fructose? It’s a combination of fructose and glucose. Fructose by itself is sweeter than HFCS and has been linked to raising blood pressure, causing insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, and promoting obesity to name a few[iv]. Another negative impact fructose has is not satisfying your hunger, often to more cravings[v]. Ultimately, all these bad risks are working against the ultimate goal of the shake: to help people lose weight and eat healthier. This leaves us wondering why Herbalife chose fructose as the sweetener for their shake.

Who’s Behind Formula 1 Shake?

The company making Formula 1 diet shakes is Herbalife, a multi-level-marketing business out of California. They’ve been around since the 1980’s, and have a good standing on the Better Business Association. Their products focus on nutrition, weight-management, energy and fitness, and personal care.

Side Effects

Aside from the issues mentioned before relating to the soy and fructose ingredients, there don’t seem to be any other concerning side effects known. Soy has been known to reduce thyroid hormone levels, which could be unhealthy for people with hypothyrodism. If you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, it would be wise to follow up with your doctor a month or so after you start using Formula 1 to make sure it isn’t adversely affecting you.

How to Contact

The best way to try getting in touch with the company seems to be through their online Support Center, which you can access by clicking here. An online support form and an option to call plus a fairly extensive online FAQ should provide answers to most of your questions.

While they make it difficult to track down, Herbalife does have a physical address listed at: 800 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 406, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

Product Returns

Herbalife does have a Money Back Guarantee, and according to their website, you should contact their Member Service Department at (866)-866-4744 Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm Pacific Time.

Other Products by Herbalife

Herbalife has an extensive product list. Their diet shake comes in 13 flavors (French Vanilla, Pumpkin Spice, Dulce de Leche, Orange Cream, Mint Chocolate, Dutch Chocolate, Wild Berry, Cookies ‘n Cream, Piña Colada, Café Latte, Vanilla (non-GM ingredients), Vanilla (Alternative Proteins), and Vanilla (Kosher). A few other related products are:

  • Formula 1 Express Meal Bar
  • Protein Drink Mix
  • Total Control
  • Prolessa Duo
  • Aminogen
Does it Work?

Using Formula 1 to replace one or two meals a day is likely to result in weight loss, if only because of a decrease in your daily calorie intake. With 13 flavor options (including Pumpkin Spice, Wild Berry, and Kosher and non-GM options), it’s easy to see how this shake would be versatile and delicious. However, there’s nothing uniquely special about Formula 1’s composition that lends itself particularly to weight loss. On top of that, the lower total amount of protein will make it harder for the diet shakes to keep you full between meals. Additionally, the use of fructose as a sweetener puts this shake more in the category of “dessert” than meal replacement. While it’s not the worst option available, you could find a better, more well-balanced shake that’s higher in protein and offers more nutrition.


[i] http://www.livestrong.com/article/249173-what-are-the-dangers-of-soy-protein/

[ii] http://thedeliciousrevolution.com/cleanse/why-avoid-soy/

[iii] http://thedeliciousrevolution.com/cleanse/why-avoid-soy/

[iv] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx

[v] http://authoritynutrition.com/why-is-fructose-bad-for-you/

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