{reader testimonials} The Side Effects of Cheap Supplements Like Visalus (Body by Vi)

body by vi-reader-testemonialsThe most highly read and searched for topic on this blog is protein powders. Between those wanting to make the most of their hard-earned muscle and those looking for meal-replacement shakes to help lose weight, I’m constantly asked for recommendations on high-quality, well-made and effective protein and meal replacement products. The problem is, many protein powders, meal-replacement shakes, and diet foods are full of artificial sweeteners (Splenda, aspartame, sorbitol, etc), cheap protein sources (soy, heat-denatured whey, etc), and questionable additives (maltodextrin, soy lecithin, carageenan, etc). I’ve been clear with readers on what I think about cheaply made supplements:

It won’t matter how much weight you lose on some poorly-crafted weight loss shake because by adding such toxic ingredients into your cellular system on a daily basis, you are being negligent of your inner health and outright asking for serious health problems, including (but not limited to): joint inflammation/arthritis, digestive disorders, organ failure, autoimmune diseases, and the ultimate in cellular revolt: cancer.

Since I now get hate mail (yes, honest-to-God hate mail!!) for my article on the dangers of Visalus ingredients and why they should be ashamed for marketing their inferior weight loss products as God’s gift to fat people, I’ll hammer this point home one more time:

Weight loss is not the true measure of health. Although having a lower body weight puts you at less risk for many diseases (and I highly recommend having a healthy body fat percentage) many skinny people still suffer and die from digestive disorders, organ failure, fatty liver disease, and cancer…just to name a few.

BEING SKINNY DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU ARE HEALTHY!

Is Visalus Your Only Hope?

The Visalus sellers have accused me of shooting down what may be the “only option for someone to lose weight”. Apparently they think that my exposé has somehow ruined people’s last chance at getting healthy and now these innocent people are going to just keep getting fatter and fatter and eventually die from their obesity. And apparently it’s all my “uneducated” fault! Although Visalus likes to tout themselves as the “kick-start” that leads to a healthier lifestyle, I have yet to hear a Visalus Rep say that they urge their clients to stop buying shakes from them once they’ve reached their goal weight. In fact, for those who didn’t suffer immediate side effects and are committed to Visalus being the best thing since sliced bread, they shout from the rooftops that they’ll use this product every day of their life. Let me be very clear here: even when a product passes my stringent standards, I would never use it day in and day out.

As people are suckered into buying a daily dose of processed soy, artificial sweeteners and cheap ingredients, they may lose a few pounds but they’re asking for even bigger problems than fitting into their skinny pants.

Saying that it’s worthwhile to ingest a harmful product simply because it helps you lose weight is like saying being an alcoholic is okay if that’s the one thing that keeps you from being a drug addict.

{side tangent: I’m talking to YOU, Diet Coke addicts who justify your harmful soda habits with “at least it’s not sugary soda”! Stop lying to yourself and face the music: you’re drinking a daily dose of death.}

Shakes Are Not The Best Way To Lose Weight

Kaylee didn't use shakes!

Kaylee didn’t use shakes! She found the help she needed by being honest with her husband and hiring a personal trainer.

Yes, meal replacement shakes are one way to lose weight but from my experience, people who lose weight without shakes (by eating clean and moving more) tend to be healthier and keep the weight off for good. Look at my most recent Reader Success Stories of women who did it without weight loss shakes (like Kathy, who lost 255 pounds in one year).

If using a shake product is going to help you regulate calories and maintain/lose weight, you do what you gotta do. But the end goal should always be to one day stop using shake supplements and transition to a normal diet of real food. Shakes are a crutch and although we all need a crutch sometimes, it’s not healthy to rely on them forever.

I thought about refuting every accusation the Visalus reps hurled at me, starting with their inaccurate science and their blind faith of the FDA, but since studies are subjective and we could easily get into a back-and-forth time-suck debate (no thanks!), I decided to just highlight some of the testimonies that were posted on that original blog’s comments section. I also thought about presenting both sides of the story and giving some of the positive testimonies but let’s be honest, I think they’re all drinking the Kool-Aid and don’t want any part of their nonsense. But feel free to peruse the comment thread of the original post if you want to see both sides. Also, for the record, this is just a small selection of the many negative testimonials I received on that original post. I couldn’t fit them all.

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Real stories from people who experienced negative side effects while using Visalus:

“I promoted Visalus for 6 months. I was all about it. Then I had an adverse reaction to it which caused my arthritis to inflame causing heart issues. I have now been off for 2 months and am on a Paleo diet and I am finally starting to feel whole and healthy.” ~ Alycia T.

“I’m a pharmacist…and advocate minimal medication and maximum nutritional health. I was a ViSalus promoter for a short time until I fully researched the ingredients, how they are manufactured, how they are metabolized in the body, etc.” ~ Darrell

“I started Visalus last year and I hope my body detoxes soon. I believed every last one line zinger they cheered about! I started to get massive migraines that caused me to be so drained. My stomach hurt all the time. Visalus put up YouTube videos, explaining to us that our bodies had to get used to the ingredients. Since stopping, the headaches went away…but my intestines are not alright…please, please, just eat right.” ~ Nicci

“I started using Visalus shakes about 8 months ago and noticed within a month or two my eyesight got very blurry…..to the point that I went from not wearing glasses to wearing reading glasses all day long…borderline having to get a prescription. I found many places on the internet that talk about Sucralose causing blurry vision so I stopped taking the shakes and within 3-4 weeks my vision was back to normal.” ~ CQ

“I was on the shakes from December to October. I lost 40 pounds in that time and was throwing up the visalus “gang sign” all over the place…however, since the very beginning, I was also getting migraines. I have never had a migraine in my life.” ~ Franco

“I was suckered into this product and I completely regret it. I was on it for 4 days and had an excruciating headache the entire time. Headaches so bad they would make me vomit. It made me feel absolutely terrible.” ~ Erica

“I started using ViSalus over 1 1/2 months ago. I recently went to the doctor for normal check up and my blood pressure was very high. I had been having more headaches in the past few weeks also. Now that I look at the timeline of when I started drinking the shakes and when I started feeling horrible, it all falls into place. I stopped the shakes for several days and I felt great. My blood pressure was down and my headaches subsided. Not to mention I was following the plan as directed, eating my healthy meal and getting cardio in my schedule, I never lost any weight.” ~ TJ

“I was pushing 50 and just hit 300 pounds. I had health issues galore and ate what I thought was an OK diet but processed food was overboard. I was getting dizzy, had chest pains and high blood pressure and was seeing spots in front of my eyes every time I stood up, it was time to change. I changed how I eat . . . period! I cut out all grains, dairy, pop, juices, any and all sweeteners, no more starches like potatoes or rice and I never again touched any form of processed food like products. …I lost 80 pounds in 7 months. …I had a friend I used to trust for health and fitness advice that got really heavy into the Visalus “BMW” money rules world and he convinced me to start Visalus (I guess my weight loss on my own was not good enough and because I trusted him, I gave in). I gained 24 pounds in 4 weeks, I had headaches and felt hung over all the time, I tossed that crap into the dumpster and everything went back to normal and weight is back to where I like it at 220. I imagine if I was that fat man of 300 pounds eating garbage 3 times a day like I used to, Visalus might have made a difference in the beginning for weight loss (so would coconut milk, banana and other fresh fruit blended for breakfast) but no way in hell would I consider it part of any healthy eating lifestyle. Everything I have researched and learned directs me to the lifestyle of only eating organic real food / whole food and Visalus is neither of those.” ~ RG

“Like most fat people I started taking ViSalus looking for a quick way to lose weight. I mentioned it to my doctor but he didn’t have much to say. So I went forward with it after a couple of months I had lost nearly 30 pounds and was feeling great. However, I started to notice strange heart rhythms and chest pains. My doctor did a stress echoe and my heart was physically fine. …Twice during the 7 months while using ViSalus I went to the ER because my heart would start beating at 180 bpm for no apparent reason. …After about a week off the stuff, my symptoms were gone. I still had a couple of months of product left and about a week ago I thought I would see what happened if I had some shakes. After just two shakes the symptoms were back. …I felt as if I was about to have a heart attack at any time.” ~ Neil

Domestica’s Final Thoughts

If you are reading this article because you had considered trying out Visalus, I don’t want you to leave here with little hope for your chances at weight loss. Just because Visalus isn’t a healthy option doesn’t mean you are out of options. If the idea of a meal replacement shake appeals to you, then I suggest opting for a healthier product (you may want to start by reading Food Babe’s recommendation of The Healthiest Protein Powders on the Market). I have been known to recommend Tera’sWhey, Sun Warrior, and Vega. For those who can’t afford such high quality protein powders, I have also reviewed four of the NOW Sports products which met most of my stringent standards. I also recommend researching the Clean Eating principles (in particular, Tosca Reno’s most updated book Just the Rules). Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier, happier (and not to mention, slimmer!) life.

I believe our health problems would be largely over if we all adopted a diet of completely organic, non-toxic, non-GMO, local and unprocessed foods. But few people can achieve (or afford) that kind of diet so we make the best choices we can. If a meal replacement shake is the best you can do right now, then I encourage you to treat it as a stepping stone to healthier habits. The next step is standing on your own two feet and knowing that you can do this healthy thing, with or without Visalus.

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

¹Causes of Inflammation, Marcelle Pick OB/GYN NP
Domestica_avatarNatasha Drisdelle (aka Domestica) is a mom of twins, baby-weight survivor, and health & fitness 
blogger who lives in California’s Silicon Valley. She posted her before-and-after pics on the immortal 
internet as living proof that morphing into a gelatinous baby-growing-factory doesn’t have to mean your 
bikini days are over. 

You can find her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, cutting through the myths and lies that keep 
women from realizing true health and contentment.

10 thoughts on “{reader testimonials} The Side Effects of Cheap Supplements Like Visalus (Body by Vi)

  1. Lisa says:

    We are all entitled to our own opinions! Personally, I think it’s a terrible product from personal experience. It made me very sick and several people I know sick. The companies response was, “it’s not like anyone is growing a third arm or anything!” Yes, that was on a conference call I listened too.

    You can use a lot of protein powders on the market like you would use Visalus and lose weight.

    • mtblantonjr says:

      I’ve been on EVERY company call since July 2011 and this has NEVER been said… It may have been said by YOUR sponsor but not corporate… I call BS on that. Sorry

  2. Sylvie says:

    Moi j’avoue que je prend le produit depuis 1 an et demi maintenant, jeme sens super bien super en forme, pleine d’énergie… je suis bien contente de Visalus

    • Natasha (Domestica) says:

      Just read the label! Their ingredients/labels are posted on their website. It took me all of three clicks to see a disgusting label full of processed and artificial ingredients — and TONS of sugars. Google the ingredients you don’t understand fully and you’ll get your answer.

    • Natasha (Domestica) says:

      I think Herbalife is even worse than Visalus! Horrid ingredients.

      Processed soy, fructose, corn bran (what the..?!! — this will also be GMO, by the way), CANOLA OIL! (cheapest oil yet!), soy lecithin, carrageenan, inulin…the list goes on. Google any one of those ingredients and you’ll see why they’re destroying your health.

    • Natasha (Domestica) says:

      Depends on the product, Brenda. I looked into the IsaPro Whey Protein Powder and it has only five ingredients and they are all acceptable. Again, this is still a processed food so I wouldn’t use it every day. Now, as for the IsaLean products, they don’t have artificial sweeteners, which is great, but they do have OTHER processed sweeteners (fructose — super hard on your liver — and isomaltooligosaccharide). They also use cheap oils (sunflower oil) that have been linked to imbalanced omega 3/6 levels and over 2 dozen other ingredients! Not my idea of a good time.

    • Natasha (Domestica) says:

      I answered this one in the comment thread of my original Visalus post. Here it is:

      I looked into Shakeology ingredients and I’m impressed. It looks like a good whole food replacement shake. That said, I think the stevia is slightly misleading since the first sweetener listed on their ingredients is “non-GMO fructose”…but hey, at least it’s non-GMO! But fructose is the most damaging of sugars (artificial sugars notwithstanding) since our bodies don’t use fructose for anything and it is treated as a toxin and shunted to the liver immediately (like alcohol is). And with 9g of sugar per serving (in the Chocolate one), it’s quite a bit higher than Vega’s 2g of sugar (in their Chocolate meal replacement shake). But all that said, I would think Shakeology looks healthier than most the meal replacement shakes on the market today.

      Once you get a product with decent ingredients, the next issue is to find a company that uses high-quality ingredients. So the first step is to find products that use ingredients you agree with and the next step is to find a company that you trust and believe are using top quality ingredients in their products. One of the best ways to tell is how much the product costs. If it’s cheap, they are most likely using cheap ingredients. Next red flag would be any product that’s mass-produced — so if Wal-Mart or Costco is carrying the product, it might be a good indication that the company is using cheap ingredients in order to fulfill such high demand.

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