My uncensored opinion on meal replacement diets



Before I start. This isn’t an article for sensitive people, or people who can’t handle the truth. So if that’s you – don’t bother reading any further. If you want to learn something cool and take away some new information, keep reading. Okay here we go then!

Take a look at the healthy meals in the photo above. On the left is a Herbalife healthy meal and on the right is my own healthy meal. Now, I’m not sure about you but I sure as hell would choose the food over the powder. Here’s the thing – yes, I have very strong opinions on meal replacement diets (of which you are going to read in this article) but I’m not writing this to rant and rave, but rather to lay down the bare facts about what meal replacement diets actually do to your body and your mind when it comes to weight loss. I will be addressing two of the most prevalent in the industry just now – Herbalife and Juice Plus.

This past week alone I have received 4 training enquiries from women who are at their wits end with dieting. They’ve tried EVERYTHING – but what concerned me the most was their words about Herbalife. One said – “Recently I decided to try the Herbalife diet which has made me quite ill” and another “I’ve been on Herbalife but I haven’t lost any weight  – I just feel sick and starving all the time.”  Just so you know the basics – Herbalife’s guidance for weight loss is to replace two meals per day with their Formula 1 Healthy Meal replacement and eat one nutritionally balanced meal. That’s all it says. Now – if you’re like I was (before I became a trainer) – I would be sitting there thinking what the fuck is a nutritionally balanced meal?

So – what’s wrong with replacing meals with Herbalife Healthy Meal replacement powder? Well – firstly let’s take a look at the ingredients. I have selected their “French Vanilla” flavour for the purpose of this article. On the label it says “Formula 1 is a delicious healthy meal that provides a balance of protein and nutrition” – let’s get one thing straight here. Is it fuck a “healthy meal”!! It’s not a meal at all! So – French Vanilla flavour – here are the ingredients with some information about them.

Soy Protein – Denatured GMO (Genetically modified organisms) protein. Numerous artificial flavourings, particularly MSG (mono sodium glutamate – a flavour enhancer), are added to soy protein isolate.

Soy Lecithin – comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid. (Source:

Corn Bran – another genetically modified organism

Carrageenan – is a toxic emulsifier – All Carrageenan is typically extracted using powerful alkaline solvents. Even at low doses, it has been found to destroy human cells and is linked to various human cancers and digestive disorders. It has also been found to impair human cell repair.

Artificial French Vanilla Flavouring – WOW – they even actually admit in the name – artificial. Enough said!

The above is just one of many Herbalife products littered with fructose, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours, colours and plenty of genetically modified organisms. Any company that uses ANY of the ingredients listed above doesn’t care about your health. They care about their bottom line and that’s why they use these ingredients. The ingredients are cheap and easy to make into a sweet tasting drink that is addictive to the palate. There is no doubt about it that these ingredients are toxic to the human body.

In my opinion – there are two main reasons that you are tempted to buy products from companies such as Herbalife and Juice Plus.

  1. They promise to deliver you quick and measurable results – and they do!
  2. The distributers (or sales people) are often people of a trustworthy position. Your group fitness instructor, your local personal trainer or even your best friend or family member. Surely someone that you trust wouldn’t be selling you poison? Well I hate to break it to you darling, but you have just been what I like to call – bullshitted!

Oh and before I end this section – don’t give me your shite about Ronaldo taking Herbalife. Does he fuck! He gets paid bazillions to hold a shake and smile at a camera. Do you honestly think an elite athlete is going to create a toxic body? Nah – didn’t think so!

I would say don’t get me started on Juice Plus but then, that’s what this article is for! So who decided to package up your “five a day” in a little capsule? Before all you distributers hurl at me – but this is the easy way for the population to get their five a day, let me explain. For a start – our population should be getting 7 or 8 a day, but that’s for another article. Secondly,  a company who wishes to blend, dehydrate and force your five a day into a PILL instead of EDUCATING people on how to actually EAT their five a day – should in my honest opinion – be closed down. “Juice Plus+ has not been designed to replace real food because it is real food.” COME ON PEOPLE – let’s get REAL here! *Steam coming out ears*

Juice Plus also have a weight loss range (although this is cleverly marketed as their “Shape” range). If I were choosing a shake flavour, I would most likely opt for Chocolate – so here are the ingredients of the chocolate flavoured “Shape” meal replacement shakes:

Soy protein, fructose, inulin, rapeseed oil powder (rapeseed oil, maltodextrin), flavours, algae oil powder (glucose syrup, algae oil, modified starch, sodium ascorbate, sodium polyphosphate, sunflower oil, tri-calcium phosphate, emulsifiers: sunflower lecithin and mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids; natural flavouring, antioxidants: tocopherol-rich extracts and ascorbyl palmitate), soybean oil powder (soybean oil, maltodextrin), pea protein, lupin protein, thickener: guar gum; strawberry pieces (1%), beta-glucan yeast concentrate, mineral blend (calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, potassium citrate, sodium chloride, ferric pyrophosphate, zinc sulphate, copper sulphate, manganese chloride, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), anticaking agent: silicon dioxide; beetroot juice powder (beetroot juice concentrate, maltodextrin, acidity regulator: citric acid), acidity regulator: citric acid; glucose syrup, vitamin mix (vitamin C, niacin, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin A, vitamin B2, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B12).

Holy actual shitballs on fire – 1% Strawberry pieces. That’s it. I’m SOLD! People – I give you – the most toxic meal on the planet. No wonder you’re losing weight – your body is literally crying out for food! How many of those ingredients do you recognise or can pronounce? This makes me so angry that I could go on forever but I think I have made my point.

The meal replacement diet cycle (let’s see how many of you can resonate with this).

Replace meals —> Feel hungry —> Over Eat —> Feel Guilty —> Start diet again —> feel hungry —> over eat —> Feel Guilty…

There is the word that makes me feel really sad. “GUILT”. Losing weight and getting your health back should be GUILT FREE. Long term dieting creates a negative mindset and this is NOT WHAT I STAND FOR. 

Meal replacement shakes are NOT a LONG TERM solution to your wellbeing, your health OR your weight. They are attractive because they offer a quick fix. Their marketing is clever and sucks you in. They are sold by people you know and trust (who will eventually try to get you to sell for them in order for them to make money off your sales). Don’t get sucked in. Have the confidence (and now the knowledge, hopefully!) to say NO to quick fixes, and know that there are genuine people out there (like me) who really are interested in YOU and YOUR HEALTH. If your personal trainer, group fitness instructor or friend are trying to sell you these products –  you have GOT to walk away. They are not interested in your health – they are interested in your money. You can fight this point all you like but the bottom line is that this is true. I have invested THOUSANDS of pounds into my nutrition education in order to bring you a trust worthy service that leaves you feeling awesome for LIFE.

My name is Rachael Watson and I am an advanced nutrition specialist, personal trainer, business owner and writer. I believe in educating people that you are more than just the food on your plate, the number on the scales, and what other people think about you. I will always be completely open and honest with you and will never ever bullshit you. Everything I tell you has a proven researched background which I am always more than happy to share with you. I work with dedicated, motivated women who want to feel empowered to make small changes that will have a big impact on their health and their weight. I am not interested in working with people who constantly make excuses for the way they feel and for that reason, I have an application process to work with me.

If you want to work with me to feel empowered to change the way you feel, and become more than just a number on the scales then shoot me an email to .

For my FREE e-book just enter your name and e-mail address here after clicking on this link:

I work with women all over the world both in person and online – so logistics are not an issue. If you’re ready to take control over your health and your weight and want to know more – email me. Take the step. Walk the talk.




86 thoughts on “My uncensored opinion on meal replacement diets

  1. Kay says:

    Real whole food all the way! Surely it taste better and is lots cheaper!
    I wonder what your opinion on these body wraps are? I can’t believe they sell at all 😱

  2. I have been tapped up by several reps from differing companies within the meal replacement industry and each have immediately led with the wrong ‘hook’ every time, despite my not believing or putting faith in any of their products – “You can make a load more money off your clients selling them this stuff!” Straight away they have missed the point of what I strive to do as a coach and that is firstly build and maintain their trust, achieved by putting their health and results first – secondly, I’m not in it to make a pot load of money! A living, yes, but I qualify my success by how many people’s lives I change and better, not by my bank balance. Aside from the piss poor ingredients making up these products the very nature of sell sell sell and get more people under you to sell sell sell just does not sit well with me. A disturbingly large proportion of the people selling this stuff on have NO IDEA what the ingredients do or mean to people’s health. Simply quoting company tag lines and responses without any knowledge on the subject. I salute your frank and honest blog here Rachael – keep up the great work

  3. Jane says:

    I just loved reading this. I “was” sucked in to trying Herbalife – it didn’t work for me at all. Give me a healthy eating plan any day of the week. I have lost 33lb since February and am still going. …..I hope everyone who reads this article boycotts the thieving manufacturers of these products. Thanks for the insight Rachel. 🙂

  4. I absolutely one hundred percent agree with you! I’m not a nutrition specialist and don’t know too much about ingredients, but I wholly agree that if I can’t read it or it reads like an ingredient from a Chemisty text book, I don’t want it.

    I hate how people waste so much money on shoddy dieting because they are too lazy to actually make something healthy themselves!

  5. Rach says:

    Just looked at the UK Juice Plus website and ingredients. Each portion has 24.8g of sugar, so that’s 50g of sugar a day plus whatever else you have for your meal and snacks. Holy shitballs on fire indeed!

  6. Delightful says:

    I have been sent friend requests and private messages by someone who seems intent on selling the products. She is losing weight while pregnant which is actually frightening. Yes, I lost weight when I was expecting but that was down to severe all day sickness. She is in a group that I am in and harps on about it constantly. Glad to hear that my gut-feeling was accurate. Thanks, Rachel. x.

  7. Michelle says:

    I’ve just come across this page and I find it very interesting as I myself have been sucked into juice plus, I didn’t lose weight but was told it would be good for my illness
    I have fibromyalgia and cfs as well as Ibs, j believed it would be good and was told it was vegan and super healthy, I didn’t really see a different and when I questioned this was told I probably don’t drink enough water or something anyway my point is what diets are good and would anything help my illness xx

    • sallymarsden says:

      Ive had people in ME/CFS/Fibro groups approach me about Juice plus saying it will be good for me. One of them owns a fb group but doesn’t sell strongly within the group thankfully but we all are aware. Whats been best for me is magnesium in many forms. Your body need magnesium for over 300 processes and its now thought to be nearer 800. It needs mag to be at optimum levels to make things like Vit D, calcium, iron and the list of essential things go on. 80% of the population are thought to be deficient in one way or another because of the way food is grown and also because of the amount of processed foods we now eat. I started slowly just having Epsom Salt baths then added bicarb soda to them then boron (bicarb and boron are co-factors for magnsium). I alternate with magnesum flakes in the bath with both co-factors. I take mag supplements (there are many types malate for energy, glycinate for sleep, citrate apparently strips us of essential nutrients while appearing to help, many more that are good and bad for different condition). These have to be backed up with co-factors (B6 and boron and bicarb) also so i take bee pollen and prunes and other foods that contain co-fators. I drink something called mag water (a co-factor) which is made from pure Milk of Magnesia, i spray something called mag-a-hol on my body (this is made from magnsium flakes and vodka) and its amazing to help sleep, get rid of fibro aches and pains. There is so much more to it. If you are interested you might like to join a group on facebook i belong to ‘The Magnsium Advocacy Group’ – there are so many knowledgeable peopple there. I started about 18 months ago with magnsium and it really has been the only thing to improve my condition apart form enforced rest and pacing.

  8. Steph says:

    I have been on herbalife since june last year. You DO NOT just have 2 meal shakes an one healthy meal. U also have 2 snacks inbetween. U eat little and often to keep your matabolisim going. It works for me ive lost 2 stone lost body fat gained muscle lost visceral fat and kept my hydration up. Some people just try it for a quick fix. But without the proper knowledge an guidance you will not get were you want to be.

  9. Dalia says:

    Great article! Thank you Racheal!! My husband has been brainwashed by the Herbalife cult that he is so far gone in the business. I, on the other had have tried Herbalife , even lost weight (mainly through exercise in these nutritional clubs ) became very sick & no one believed it was Herbelife products. I was even beign sucked in the MLM buisness part & I did my research & said to myself “oh my I can’t sell or build a nutrtion business based on lies!” It’s quite comical how obsessed & brainwashed these people are. Plus the ones who have made it in the business are really good bullshit artist & play it off as they are working hard toward success. I agree those products are posion..unfortunaltley my husband gets irate about me going against Herbalife. Glad I found someone who has a mind of their own like I do.

  10. Matt says:

    My girlfriend is interested in starting juice plus again after failing the first time, I am going to try steering her away. I am sceptical at the best of times about most sales pitches and so looked into what it is all about.

    It very quickly became apparent that juice plus is a simple meal replacement regime, wrapped up in a lot of pseudo science terms (as soon as I hear the word “toxins” in any nutritional context alarm bells start ringing) designed to make you think there is some actual solid science and research behind it, coupled with a “business opportunity” of becoming a juice plus agent yourself and making money off of your friends by selling them the same massively overpriced product that doesn’t work.

    Whenever you fail to lose weight there will be a seemingly valid reason, e.g. you need to drink more water to flush away “toxins” or maybe you didn’t do the detox phase for long enough. Always pointing to you need to spend more money and never the “product doesn’t work”.

    It’s a pyramid scheme preying on the insecurities and hopes of people not educated or confident enough to do it the right way (proper diet and exercise), a way incidentally, that works 100% of the time every time with not too much effort required if done right, and for far less money!

  11. Louisa says:

    Its good to read some opposing comments about Juice Plus. A group of very good friends seem to be ‘brainwashed’ by all this and I fear it is changing them for the worst. None of these sellers seem to be educated and are purely in it for money and the whole idea of getting rich seems to motivate them without a regard for their real friends and what they are actually selling. It seems that they are getting away with claims of benefits from the capsules by selling them alongside a lifestyle change with their food ideas. When in actual fact, anyone who changes their diet to a healthy, balanced one will of course notice changes. But in my opinion, Juice Plus seems to claim from this! Great article and read, thank you Racheal!

  12. Chris woodham says:

    This is fantastic! Completely agree with all that is mentioned here. I feel for people that follow these diets as they are not educated enough to see what is a ‘healthy’ lifestyle.

    The ingredients of these products are what concern me, the fact that they have approval to be sold is just a joke. I see these juice plus people on Facebook. Telling the audience ‘why not take a pill for your 5 a day’ anyone with logics would know something is not quite right there… These sales people prey on the weak and people that are desperate to lose weight but just simply don’t know the fundamentals of doing so. I really hope this industry gets a shake up as it pisses me off too!

  13. Kathryn says:

    I’m really worried about a friend I warned after reading her posts pushing Juice Plus+ on her Facebook page. I sent her a private message and she replied, “Thanks … a lot of the warnings are backed by pharmaceutical companies. They hate JP because it’s all natural and has such health benefits that people don’t buy as much medicines. Hence they like to try and discredit it.” Looks like she’s totally brainwashed and I don’t want to alienate her but would love any advice how to respond to this about the big pharmas, because in a way she’s right (about the power they hold), but is missing the point as well?

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