Thanks to everyone who requested a Melaleuca review! Here you go.
What is Melaleuca?
Melaleuca is an MLM company that has been around since 1985. They claim to sell over 400 products, and they aren’t kidding – from protein shakes to a toilet bowl cleaner called ‘safe and mighty,’ Melaleuca is like a grocery store….of pseudoscience, that is!
But I don’t want to give too much away right here. What fun would that be?
Personally, I don’t give a crap about the non-nutritional products that Melaleuca sells. Toilet bowl cleaner is really not my wheelhouse. But the nutritional products?
That’s where I come in.
Melaleuca Weight Loss
I went straight to the ‘Weight Management’ tab on their website to see what they offer.
I chose the 9-product Metabolism and Weight Loss Pack, chock full of 30 days-worth of weight loss treasures.
Here’s what the Metabolism and Weight Loss Pack has:
3 GC Control or Attain shakes
1 canister of FiberWise drink
1 box of Attain CraveBlocker bars
1 bottle of NutraTherm fat burner
1 box of Splash H20
An insulated tumbler
Vitality Simple Steps Guide, which they say comes ‘free’ in the Pack.
Melaleuca GC Control and Attain Shakes.
GC Control shakes are “specially formulated to put you in control of your junk food cravings, energy levels, and weight management efforts.”
Or so the company tells us.
When it’s used in terms of eating and weight, the word ‘control’ really chaps my hide. It’s used to MLM and other weight loss companies and diet peddlers to make you believe that you’re responsible for ‘controlling’ your urges, including the one to eat.
That sucks, because in that case, when you ‘lose control,’ it’s automatically your fault. Then you feel guilty because the diet failed you.
But it’s not your fault. In most cases, weight management in extremely complex – my upcoming book, Good Food, Bad Diet (Simon and Schuster, 2021) deals with the real nitty gritty behind our feelings around food – and it’s not even close to a matter of ‘control.’
It’s social determinants of health, it’s hormones, it’s the relationship with food that a person has since, well, being BORN….all of that plays in to how and what we eat. And cravings often come as a result of emotional stuff…all the shakes in the world won’t change that if you don’t deal with your emotional triggers and **negative core beliefs** first.
So to tell people that a gross protein shake is going to help them control their cravings and weight management efforts, is pretty off the mark. But I know there are a lot of people who fall for it.
The marketing material for GC shakes uses a particularly idiotic comparison: grams of sugar in a GC shake (1 gram) vs grams of sugar in a latte (11 grams).
Sure, a latte has more sugar than this shake. But it’s lactose – otherwise known as the naturally present sugar in milk. The latte also has more protein than a GC Shake, but Melaleuca doesn’t mention that!
Also: wouldn’t you rather drink a latte that’s coffee and milk with no added sugar, than a shake that’s ultra-processed with a shit-ton of ingredients?
I sure would.
GC shakes are also marketed as blood sugar stabilizing. They even have ‘research’ behind them that supposedly proves their efficacy at reducing glucose and insulin levels. I know the layperson would take Melaleuca’s word on this, but I’m not.
This is the perfect time to demonstrate how MLMs use ‘research’ to sway potential customers into buying the product.
- This ‘study’ wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal. It was published in the Melaleuca Journal, whatever the hell that is.
- The ‘study’ isn’t a ‘study,’ it’s a white paper that doesn’t reveal the most important parts of the methodology, like WTF the subjects actually ate and when. It does say that participants gave data in a questionnaire about their energy and appetite levels. That sort of subjective data is worth absolutely ZERO. People get tired and hungry for various reasons, and because we don’t have the full story, we can’t take these metrics seriously.
- The ‘study’ was done by Melaleuca, which is a huuuuuuge potential bias.
- The company is basing their claims on the Carb-Insulin theory which hasn’t been proven. I’m not going to get into that here, but I do in this post.
Melaleuca Attain shakes are the same sort of thing as GC shakes – they have something called ‘CraveBlocker’ meant to ‘control the hunger cravings’ in your stomach and your brain.
Um, okay? Are they hunger, or are they cravings? Because those are 2 different things, you know. Cravings are not a result of hunger; they’re based on emotion.
Regardless, IF YOU ARE HUNGRY, YOU NEED TO EAT.
You don’t need to ‘control’ your hunger or cravings with a nasty-ass shake.
Melaleuca pulls the common MLM bait and switch with the ‘proprietary formulas’ in its shakes. Meaning, they put shit in there that they only give us half the story about…seems like a pattern with Melaleuca, doesn’t it? Generally, the proprietary formulas that MLMs use are a mixture of ingredients in unknown amounts. Do they reach an effective dose? Are they dangerous at that dose, when combined with other things?
We don’t know, because we don’t have that information. And that’s not okay.
All we know is that like the GC shakes, the Attain shakes (bad name, BTW…’Attain’ sounds like an adult diaper brand) contain whey protein, 2 kinds of sugar plus sucralose, artificial flavour, sunflower oil ‘creamer,’ and various thickeners and starches.
Yum yum! Drink up!
Are they going to tell us again how their shakes are better than a latte? BECAUSE THEY AREN’T!
As an aside, I actually recommend lattes as snacks, because they have protein from the dairy, and they’re the perfect pick-me-up.
The Attain bars don’t deserve more than a passing mention, since they look completely unappetizing and offer the same crappy claims as the shakes. These bars have 6 types of added sugar per bar (10g), refined corn fiber, and all the same shit these bars always have, like crisped rice and fractionated palm kernel oil. Tasty AF.
No, just kidding.
When I invent a snack bar, it’s going to have real Swiss chocolate and a shit-ton of nuts. None of that cheap, low-cal crisped rice.
Melaleuca Fat Burner.
Moving on to the ubiquitous MLM ‘fat burner,’ Melaleuca’s very inventively-named ‘Nutra-Therm.’ Do these names – and the Melaleuca website, for that matter – scream ‘80s to anyone, or is it just me?
*singsong voice* I’m gonna say this onnnnnnnnnnne more tiiiiiiiiiime!
NO PILL OR FOOD BURNS FAT.
Especially one with a fucking 80’s vibe.
All that’s in Nutra-Therm is green coffee, green tea, and hot pepper, in a ‘proprietary formula.’ Which is actually fine, because none of these ingredients, in any amount, burns fat or increases metabolic rate long enough or high enough that it’s going to make a difference in your weight.
Same story. Different fat burner. Sigh. Such a waste of money.
The SplashH20 crystals are basically Crystal Light. Nothing to see here folks, let’s move on.
The FiberWise fiber drink is like Metamucil. In the photos, it appears murky and viscous…just what we all want to choke down every day, am I right?
The product has a mix of fibers, which is great, but wait…it also has a ‘proprietary blend of soothing herbs, antioxidants, and probiotics.’ There’s that proprietary thing again.
There’s 13 grams of fiber and 7 grams of sugar (0 grams in the sugar-free version) per serving of FiberWise, and the first ingredient is maltodextrin, which is a refined starch. To be fair, Metamucil has maltodextrin too, but not as the first (most plentiful) ingredient.
Melaleuca Vitality Guide.
Last but not least, there’s the Vitality Simple Steps Guide, which is the ‘how to’ plan for weight loss. The important thing about this Guide is that it truly reflects the fucked-up, outdated nutrition philosophies that Melaleuca espouses.
Here are some highlights:
The Guide uses BMI as an indicator for health, which is outdated and inaccurate. Someone can have a BMI over 25 and be metabolically healthy.
It gives a ‘calorie limit’ for different weights, but this is random and stupid. You can’t tell how many calories someone needs by the weight of their body. So 80’s. Paging The Scarsdale Diet!
They also drone on about how eating less and getting more exercise is the key to weight loss. What this entire way of thinking doesn’t acknowledge is that weight loss is much more than ‘eat less and move more.’ There’s a huge emotional component, which I suppose I can’t count on a supplement company to teach, but hey. I have high expectations.
The Guide talks briefly about ‘changing your relationship with food,’ which is sort of funny, since the next page discusses all of the shakes and bars you need to eat on the program.
Replacing food with ultra processed crapola, believing that weight loss boils down to eat less, move more, and using arbitrary, blanket calorie levels to portion out your meals is more like,’ruining your relationship with food.’
The guide tells people to ‘eat around the clock to stay thin,’ which is total bullshit.
Bullshit because let’s stop using the word ‘thin’ to describe the apex of ‘health,’ and bullshit because if you’re telling people to eat every 2-3 hours as they’re doing, it can be a recipe for losing natural hunger cues and eating ‘because Melaleuca said so.’
They also claim that small, frequent meals increases the metabolism and burns more calories, but that’s not the case. And many people who ‘graze’ end up eating more overall, not less.
Do you get what I’m saying?
You don’t need any of these products. Nobody needs any of these products.
Melaleuca, go back to the 80s. We don’t need you in the 21st century.
Do you know what ‘normal eating’ is? Here’s my philosophy on it.