Advocare is one of the longest-operating weight loss companies in the world, with roots in the 1950s era of public interest in diet and exercise. Sadly, we believe that this shows in many of their products – one of which we will be comparing to its Isagenix competitor, as a way of suggesting the predictable effectiveness of each brand’s approach to weight loss. We will be comparing the brand’s meal replacement shakes, as these are the most popular and heavily-marketed products: Isagenix’ IsaLean and Advocare’s imaginatively-named ‘meal replacement shake’. We will consider protein (both quantity and source), carbohydrates (including fiber) and micronutrients.
There are almost no differences in terms of protein content: both the Advocare and Isagenix shakes provide 24g of protein from milk and whey sources, with a complete amino acid profile. Whilst there are some suggestions that Advocare’s product contains a larger quantity of Branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs), the science on these products only suggests that they are useful if we don’t have enough protein. Clearly, this isn’t a concern and we don’t consider it to be a significant benefit.
The carbohydrate make-up of the two shakes is where IsaLean compares most favourably: Advocare’s product contains a 1:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein with 6g of fiber, whilst IsaLean contains anywhere up to 12g of dietary fiber. We aren’t quite sure why Advocare boasts about the 1:1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins, since a meal replacement shake should focus on losing weight and more NET (non-fiber) carbohydrates means more calories!
This means that the important ratio of carbohydrates:fiber is much higher in the Advocare product, which means that it has a higher Glycaemic load and is less beneficial for metabolic and digestive health. This is a serious concern when we consider the correlations between obesity and pre-/diabetes, but also for those who are looking to improve health or lose weight. Less fiber or protein per gram of carbohydrates will inhibit weight loss and reduce the benefits to overall health.
This is another area where we struggle to establish a clear victor: both of these products provide great nutritional support. IsaLean shakes contain up to 70 vitamins and minerals in some quantity, whereas Advocare provides 26 of the key micronutrients. This may sound like a huge difference but we have to consider that many of these are trace amounts and the best way to figure out the content of each ingredient is to look at the individual nutritional information of each product and each vitamin or mineral. Overall, we might concede a slight advantage to IsaLean, but the two seem to be comparable.
WEIGHING IT UP: WHICH IS MORE WORTH YOUR MONEY?
This is a far closer comparison than our recent ‘Isagenix vs Herbalife’ comparison: Advocare’s products are not nearly as terrible! However, we still suggest that the carbohydrate profile of Advocare’s meal replacement shake is a cause for concern: we always refer to fiber as the original superfood because it has such varied and potent benefits for the body. With a higher absolute amount of dietary fiber and more protein/fiber per gram of carbohydrate, IsaLean provides a much lower-GI and more health-promoting supplement for those who are looking to either lose weight or improve health.