Among the plethora of diet plans, treatments, workout regimes, fads, and pyramid schemes that have flooded the market, one with a rabid cult like following has emerged in recent years. Body by Vi (Visalus) offers one a challenge-90 days to a new you! Wow. Many of us could use a new me. According to their website “Every 90 days, ViSalus rewards our best Body by Vi™ Challenge success stories with priceless life experiences. From tropical vacations to free ViSalus products, it’s all about celebrating and loving better health.”
How do they do it? The Vi-Shape® Nutritional Shake Mix “The Shake Mix that tastes like a Cake Mix!” Cake Mix? Weight loss? How is that possible? According to company literature the shakes contain “A unique, concentrated and absorbable blend of proteins processed to remove fat, lactose, carbohydrates and isoflavones to provide pure, concentrated protein. When mixed with milk or soy milk, we provide 20-22 grams of protein, the right mix to burn fat and build lean muscle.” Sounds impressive? Not really. That 20-22 grams of protein stacks up poorly against even a bargain brand like Walmart stalwart Body Fortress Advanced Whey Protein which packs a whopping 52 grams of high quality whey protein per serving. Wait, maintain those who Vi for success, Vi-Shape® Nutritional Shake Mix contains not just whey but instead “Heart healthy non-GMO soy protein. (No Isoflavones).” Considering that 90% of the soy on the market in the United States is GMO, ViSalus is claiming that they draw from non GMO soy sources. Even if that is true. Soy contains phytoestrogens which can lead to hormone imbalances, water retention and bloating in some individuals. Males, in particular, should not be consuming soy protein in any significant amount, let alone twice a day every day as Visalus advises. Endogenous estrogens can lead to serious health problems.
Whether or not is healthy or a health risk, the Vi-Shape® Nutritional Shake Mix is certainly not necessary to losing weight and getting “a brand new you” over 90 days. All that is required, according to most exercise scientists and nutritonists is a well balanced diet that focuses on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables combined with a sensible exercise program of at least 30 mins of exercise a day.
Body by Vi also involves a multilevel marketing scheme, along the lines of a pyramid scheme which brings in hefty paychecks for those at the top of the pyramid, but according sources, can leave those further down confused, frustrated and depressed. In the next part of this series, I will delve further into this aspect of the Body by Vi cult.