Its been a while since I did an Arbonne review, my last being my Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy review. That one is still one of the most popular diet reviews on my site!
But Arbonne (and other MLMs) doesn’t just sit back and rest – they’re constantly coming out with new products to sell. I figured it was time for a 2021 Arbonne review to showcase everything the company has come out with since I wrote about it last.
For the uninitiated, Arbonne is a company that has been around since 1980. Its offerings range from beauty products like creams and makeup to nutrition products and weight loss programs.
I’ve been on Arbonne’s ass for a really long time, because just like all the other nutrition MLMs I’ve investigated, they talk a lot about things like sustainability, purity of ingredients, and how life-changing their products are.
The flip-side of the coin is pretty much always a mishmash of garbage science, high-pressure sales tactics, diet culture language, and a bait and switch about how wonderful your life will be if only you buy into the company’s narrative.
Aside from the products, I’ve also recently discovered some not-so-flattering sales tactics by the Arbonne salespeople. I know they’re under pressure to sell product, because they’re the backbone of the company. They do most of the work, working hard to scrape together sales for their upline, because MLM.
An Arbonne coach recently sent me an email defending the company and her involvement. I ended up writing a post on it, debunking her points one by one. It’s pretty entertaining, if you ask me. Read it here.
Arbonne has a huge social media presence because of their salespeople and coaches, and I just want to mention, because I think it’s annoying, that the Arbonne website has a heading called ‘on the gram’ to showcase its Instagram posts. ‘On The Gram’ sounds like my 13 year old daughter making fun of people who use that very language.
So no, Arbonne, you aren’t cool. But this goes to show you that these MLMs love to shape-shift into the latest trends, whether that’s the vernacular being used by teens, or the latest diets.
Speaking of which, let’s get going on the Arbonne diet products.
We’ll start with the Arbonne Healthy Habits pack. For $189 (a $210 value!), you get 30 days worth of protein shakes, Energy Fizz Ginseng Fizz Sticks (why are fizz sticks such an MLM thing), GutHealth Digestion and Microbiome Support, and of course, a box of CleanTox Herbal Tea.
Does a nutrition MLM even exist if it doesn’t have a detox tea or a fat burner?
Arbonne protein shakes are $75 for 30 servings, and made with pea protein. The company recommends them twice a day (so we’re talking around $150 a month) ’with food,’ whatever that means.
You’re supposed to have a protein shake with your meal? Isn’t that a bit redundant?
The shakes are pretty unremarkable. Sure, they’re vegan and contain 20 grams of protein each. Each shake also has 7 grams of sugar. Eh. Nothing special here. Walk into a Walgreens and buy much the same thing, probably for less money.
The Energy Fizz Sticks are $57 for 30. They contain 50mg CoEnzyme Q10 and 100mg ginseng – neither of which have been reliably proven by research to do much for energy levels.
The Fizz Sticks also contain guarana and green coffee bean, providing 55mg of caffeine. This is around 1/2 of the caffeine you’d get in one cup of coffee.
Again, nothing groundbreaking.
Arbonne GutHealth Digestion is a bunch of digestive enzymes (which are probably useless for most people) and some pre and probiotics (chicory root and bacillus coagulans 30B).
I do like chicory root for its prebiotic inulin, but it may cause gastrointestinal effects in some people.
As for Bacillus coagulans, it may be efficacious in helping people with IBS, but overall, most of us don’t really need a probiotic unless we’re treating something specific. And with probiotics, it’s aways important to consider two things:
- Are the bacteria in a form that can pass through the acidic environment of the stomach and still be alive?
- Does the product contain enough bacteria to have any effect on whatever you’re taking it for?
(Do you need a probiotic? Read my post here)
The Arbonne CleanTox Herbal Tea is a dumpster fire of laxative BS (aloe vera) that Arbonne claims ‘assists with gentle elimination of toxins.’
I’m going to say this one more time for all of you in the back:
We don’t ‘detox’ with tea. Our bodies do the detoxing on their own, and if you buy this product, consider yourself warned: it’s a waste of money.
It’s 2021. Why are we still believing all of this detox garbage? Has it not been debunked enough times?
Having diarrhea doesn’t equal ‘detoxing.’
Arbonne has a new line of nutrition products called FeelFit (the FeelFit branding used to be ‘Arbonne Essentials’). Aside from the protein shakes that I talked about above, there’s also snack bars and craving-controlling chews under the Arbonne FeelFit label.
Honestly, the FeelFit iced cinnamon crumble protein snack bars sound delicious, until you realize that you only get 10 of them for $35. Arbonne claims that these snack bars are ‘low-glycemic’ and have ‘little effect’ on blood sugars.
Except that sugar is literally the first ingredient listed on the package. And while the bars themselves might be ‘low-glycemic,’ so are Snickers bars. It doesn’t mean that they’re a great choice for people looking for a physically healthful snack.
(I talk about glycemic index in this post)
FeelFit also has an ‘Appetite Control supplement,’ ironically listed underneath a banner talking about Your Happy Weight (see below).
I’m going to make a wild assertion that if you have to achieve your ‘Happiest, Healthiest Weight’ by using an appetite control product, then your body is telling you something totally different about what its happiest weight really is.
Also: you do NOT need an appetite control supplement.
What’s this underlying messaging that our cravings and appetites need to be controlled?
I have a couple feelings about this sort of thing. Mainly, that cravings are often emotional, and no chew or supplement or shake is going to fix that.
As I talk about in my book, Good Food, Bad Diet, if you have cravings that pop up around certain times of day, and/or around certain emotions, you don’t need to ‘control’ them. What you need is to figure out WHY you’re eating in response to these emotions.
If your cravings aren’t emotional, you might not be eating enough carbs or protein. But again, adaptogenic chews that are $1 each (a bag of 30 is $30) aren’t going to solve that issue.
Eating properly is.
And appetite control? Ridiculous AF. The only thing that controls appetite is FOOD, people.
You wouldn’t control the urge to pee. Your appetite is simply another innate cue that your body sends you to indicate that it needs something, and hunger shouldn’t be ignored.
I think it goes without saying that a company that claims to be all about health, but then sells fat burners (aka Arbonne ‘Metabolism Support’), appetite controllers, cleanses, and detox teas, has some serious explaining to do.
IF ANY OF THIS WORKED FOR WEIGHT LOSS, THE DIET INDUSTRY WOULD CEASE TO EXIST.
It seems very on-brand that Arbonne also sells a collagen supplement called ‘Skinelixir,’ and a greens powder called BeWell.
Even though neither collagen nor greens powders have ever been shown in credible research to be necessary for health (or to affect skin), of course Arbonne is capturing the ‘wellness’ crowd with these trendy products. Of course.
(Are greens powders healthy? Read my post about them here)
One thing I want to talk about is Arbonne coaches and their predatory nature.
This isn’t exclusive to Arbonne; all of us know nutrition MLM salespeople and their sales tactics that include pretending to be everyone’s long-lost friend, and inserting themselves into environments that aren’t sales-related (*ahem* funerals *ahem*) just to make a few bucks.
But recently, I learned of the lowest sales strategy ever: targeting people in recovery. Here’s a screenshot of someone telling their story @antimlmnicole on Instagram.
There’s nothing sicker or more disgusting than try and sell your nutrition MLM trash to vulnerable people, badgering them and causing them even more anxiety.
Telling them that they’ll own their own business, make money, and have all the support they need from the #girlboss team.
Apparently, there’s a faction of nutrition MLM salespeople who themselves were in recovery, and were targeted then as well. Those people turn around and do the same thing to others.
As this article on MLMs and recovery explains, nutrition MLMs are all about ‘health.’ People in recovery are often in the process of overhauling their health habits, so joining an MLM may appear to be a good choice.
But it isn’t. Like, ever. Sorry.
As I wrote in this post about the problem with MLMs and their coaches, very, very few people involved in MLMs actually make any money. The odds are stacked against them from the very beginning.
Dragging anyone into that, much less someone in a vulnerable life situation, is unconscionable.
Arbonne says they’re all about health. I just don’t see it. All I see is a company and its salespeople selling nutrition products that fall into one of three categories:
1: They may be fine but similar to the stuff you can buy in stores – like the protein shakes.
2: They’re products that nobody likely needs, like the probiotics with digestive enzymes and greens powder.
3: They’re garbage products like the fat burner and the detox tea and cleanse powder (which we didn’t get into).
In other words, next time an Arbonne salesperson slides into your DMs, it’s probably in your best interest to ignore them.