Meal replacement shakes and protein powders are becoming more and more popular, flooding the market and providing an alternative route to that of traditional weight loss diets.
Marketed for those who do not want to sacrifice the nutritional value of their diet while trying to keep healthy and get fit, the market for these shakes and powders continues to grow. These products can be found wherever food items or dietary supplements are sold – from drugstores to budget stores, and everywhere in between.
The problem is simple: diet products either work, or they don’t. With so many shake options out there, how do you (the consumer) ensure you’re buying a safe, quality, effective, and dependable brand?
GNC Total Lean Shake is one of the most highly-recommended options out there. It’s certainly a product with many positive reviews on popular marketplace websites like Amazon. GNC itself has also made its mark as a popular and dependable brand within the weight loss and supplement industry. Manufacturing both meal replacement shakes and protein powders, providing you with the tools to build muscle, lose weight, and improve well-being without sacrificing their nutrition or hurting their body.
Today, we will be taking a closer look at these claims, focusing on GNC Total Lean Shakes. We will be taking an in-depth look at what the shakes are made of, their nutritional value, and the scientific basis behind GNC’s claims.
What Do GNC Lean Shakes Do?
GNC Total Lean Shakes are regarded as a good product for helping you lose weight over time with a regular intake of calories and key nutrients, as well as improving diet adherence. There are also exercises provided in the packet. “By supporting lean muscle mass and reinvigorating your metabolism, it shouldn’t take long before you start seeing a change in body weight” – this is the manufacturer’s key claim, and the main statement we’re going to test today.
What are GNC Lean Shakes?
The GNC Total Lean Shake is an oat-based meal replacement product. The shake is designed to help you reduce the number of calories you consume on a daily basis, simply by replacing two daily meals with shakes. The product markets itself as formulated to provide the body with a well-balanced ratio of calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to support optimum biological function.
GNC Total Lean Shakes feature a patented fiber-rich blend which is credited with allowing the user to have greater control over their appetite. Other claims made by GNC include that it will promote healthy cholesterol levels and developments in muscle mass.
Overview: Does It Work?
GNC Total Lean Shakes include a variety of ingredients that are intended to support digestive health, suppress appetite, and regulate energy output. The ingredients of the GNC Total Lean shake include:
- Filtered water
- Skim milk
- Protein blends
- Whey protein concentrate
- Calcium blend
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower seed oil
Several of the ingredients of GNC shakes have been scientifically proven to promote digestive health and regularity. On the flip side, however, the shake is also shown to include some ingredients that might not be so healthy and kind to our digestive system:
- Soy (depending on who you are and your digestive environment)
- Artificial flavors
Nutritional facts for GNC Total Lean Shakes are easily obtained from the packaging and the manufacturer is refreshingly open and honest. Notable figures are the inclusion of 8grams dietary fiber and 25grams protein per shake (or 14 fluid ounces).
The manufacturer claims that these high content levels of fiber and protein are primarily responsible for improved satiety when replacing a solid meal with the Total Lean Shake. These claims are backed up by scientific evidence and studies into human digestive processes, alongside the proven accuracy of the ingredient profiles, in line with GNC’s focus on good manufacturing practices. GNC is off to a good start.
Total Lean Shakes also contain 25% of the daily value of several key vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Improved cardiovascular health and reduced CV disease risk factors
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Improves circulation and blood flow, as well as playing a key role in the production and transfer of energy
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B6: Supports effective, healthy organ function (especially in the liver)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Improves asthma symptoms, reduces stress-related anxiety and protects against hair loss/damage
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Ensures healthy growth and maintenance of the hair, nails, and skin
- Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
- Vitamin B12: Supports energy transfer, immune function, and health in tissues like the skin
- Calcium: A key ingredient for women’s reproductive and breast health, as well as improved health for the bones, teeth, and other tissues
- Magnesium: A universal co-enzyme, involved in hundreds of bodily processes
- Chromium: Deficiency in this mineral can result in increased diabetic symptoms and has been linked to excessive body fat
- Potassium: An underrated mineral that combats excessive sodium intake, protects the heart from disease and regulates blood pressure
- Zinc: Regulates hormonal health, especially testosterone and other growth hormones, and maintains the immune system
- Trace elements like Phosphorus and iodine
Protein: Key to an Effective Shake
Whey Protein Isolate is one of GNC Total Lean Shakes key active ingredients, and its purpose is a mixture of appetite suppression and developing muscle mass. Whey protein has only a small amount of fat from animal sources and provides almost 90% more bioavailable protein than other hydrolysates (proteins that have been broken down for better absorption by the muscles). Whey protein isolate has been shown in clinical studies to efficiently build muscle mass and cause individuals to feel full with relatively little food intake.
By consuming sufficient protein, individuals seeking weight reduction are roughly six times more likely to lose fat and/or build lean muscle mass through a consistent workout plan. Cravings may also be addressed by this supplementation due to the fulfillment of nutritional needs, especially that of protein, before dinner.
Good Or Bad Calories?
Each serving of GNC Lean Shake contains about 180 total calories, 20 of which are from fat.
The calorie content of the GNC Lean Shake is derived primarily from “good calories”, meaning that they have a higher nutritional value for their caloric worth, we call this nutrient-density.
By using this product as a meal replacement for the first two meals of the day, you can guarantee with some certainty that you’re consuming only 360 calories (in addition to the number of calories eaten during dinner meals). With the correct adherence and lifestyle adjustments, coupled with self-control during dinner, this will create a sufficient calorie deficit to assist with weight loss. If you’re not losing weight on a diet that has been reduced this drastically, you may do well to consult a registered dietitian!
What Does a GNC Lean Shake DO?
The aim of the shake is to help consumers to experience consistent weight loss by helping to limit the number of calories consumed each day.
Weight loss is governed by a simple equation:
Calories in – Calories out = Energy Balance
Simply put, if your calories in are lower than your calories out (as determined by exercise and metabolism), you will lose weight. While these figures are only estimates, they provide a simple framework for structuring your diet.
Basically, this requires an overweight individual to consume fewer calories than their body burns in one day, and repeat this process consistently over time. By replacing one or two meals per day with a meal replacement shake (such as GNC’s total lean shake), consumers simply take a step towards increasing the odds that their daily caloric intake will be less than their daily caloric output, resulting in gradual weight loss.
People who consumed meal replacement shakes have reported varying results, with the majority (and available research) saying that there was an average weight loss of one to three pounds per week. This sort of individual variation is to be expected: the final meal of the day was the result of personal choice, and both genetic and lifestyle factors play a key role in determining short-term weight loss.
Some users did report negative responses to the taste and consistency of various flavors of GNC Total Lean Shake, indicating that the shake had a chalky or stale consistency. However, we suspect that this is a small concern for those looking to lose weight: this is simply what whey powders taste like, and we suspect they’re still preferable to broccoli.
Other participants also reported temporary side effects including constipation, loose stool, and decreased energy levels. These are all relatively mild, and may be expected – we may prefer a casein protein to reduce the digestive effects, while decreased energy levels are an inherent risk of calorie restriction and weight loss.
When taken consistently as a meal replacement for one to two weeks, results from GNC Lean Shakes did consistently demonstrate a positive user response, with customers reporting an average loss of five pounds per month. This is slightly above average results for healthy individuals and is likely the result of a high-calorie surplus and adherence rates.
We appreciate that GNC Lean Shakes provide a significant amount of fiber to assist with regularity and appetite suppression. However, we still have reservations about this supplement: there is a lack of solid clinical research available to back up the manufacturer's claims. The research discusses meal replacement shakes in general, providing no reason to prefer GNC’s product to others. Furthermore, the amount of protein in a serving of GNC lean shake is actually proven to be deceptively low (only 9grams).
Usage of this shake as it is directed, twice a day, would cost you nearly $131 per month, which is a hefty price to pay for a supplement that is not guaranteed to be effective – or at least not as effective as comparable products.
When you really take matters into consideration, the effect of this diet replacement shake is reliant on basic diet concepts. Nothing about the ingredients of this shake will help or hinder your weight loss alone: the shakes’ effectiveness lies in your adherence to dosage instructions, otherwise known as calorie restriction, and an effective exercise regime.
Simply put, this shake will only work if you’re burning more calories than you are consuming. And while it could be argued that the GNC Lean Shakes could assist in helping some individual successfully achieve this, it is equally possible with whole foods – arguably in a much more financially and nutritionally beneficial way.
If you really feel the need for dietary supplements and meal replacement shakes to aid in weight loss, it should always be encouraged that you choose a diet supplement that is both affordable and backed up by real clinical results. GNC’s total lean shake is one of many options on the market, and we’ve definitely seen superior brands.
Steven has researched over 500 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. He has also worked with nutritionists specializing in weight loss while coaching people on how to transform their physiques and live healthy lives.