Update 3/10/20. The Vemma website says that the Bode (pronounced “Body”) meal replacement shake is “a one-of-a-kind, nutrient-dense meal replacement designed to feed your body’s 63 trillion cells with the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, to transform and achieve a healthy weight.” That’s a mouthful, to say the least, but, let’s cut to the chase – does it work? In this review, I’ll check to see if the shake —or any of its ingredients —has any weight loss research because that will give us the real answer. I'll also address questions that you may be wondering about if you were considering this product. Hopefully, by the end of this review, you’ll have a better understanding of the Bode shake is right for you.
Vemma Bode Shake Ingredients
According to the label, a serving = 2 scoops if the shake is mixed with water. If it’s mixed with milk, a serving is only 1 scoop. Since 2 scoops (with water) have 200 calories, this means 1 scoop has 100 calories. This wasn’t clear on the label I saw so I wanted to mention it.
|Mix with water||Mix with 8 oz skim milk|
|Calories from fat||35||20|
|Amount per serving /% DV||Amount per serving /% DV|
|Total Fat||4 g / 6%||2 g / 3%|
|Sat fat||1 g / 5%||0.5 g / 3%|
|Trans fat||0 / 0%||0 / 0%|
|Cholesterol||25 mg /8%||15 mg / 5%|
|Sodium||180 mg / 8%||190 mg / 8%|
|Potassium||80 mg / 2%||420 mg/ 12%|
|Total Carbs||24 g / 8%||24g / 8%|
|Dietary Fiber (Fibersol-2)||7 g / 28%||4g / 16%|
|Sugars||8 g||16 g|
|Protein||16g /32%||16g / 32%|
The label says the Bode Shake contains milk and soy lecithin and is made in a faculty that processes wheat.
As you read the label you may notice that the shake has more calories when mixed with water than with milk. This is not a typo. I took this information directly from the Bode label. I speculate that the difference in calories etc. is because when the shake is mixed with water, the serving is 2 scoops. When it's mixed with milk, people are advised to use only 1 scoop.
The shake also has a variety of vitamins and minerals which all seemed reasonable for a meal replacement shake – not too much and not too little. I liked that the Bode shake provided vitamin D3.
How Much Protein?
Whether you mix the shake with water or milk, the Vemma Bode Shake only has 16 grams of protein. To put things in perspective, there are 28 grams in one ounce. So, the bode shake has about half an ounce of protein.
While a reduction in calories is what's most important in weight loss, some studies do suggest that protein might help too. How much protein helps weight loss is controversial but with that said, given that the Bode shake has 200 calories (mixed with water), I wished it had a bit more than 16 grams.
The Vemma website states that the protein in the Bode shake “works to suppress your appetite and helps protect against muscle loss.” But the bigger question is does it do it better than other shakes? Would it be better than 2 scrambled eggs? There is no evidence either way.
Here are links to the previous meal replacement shakes I've looked at for those who want to dig deeper into each of these.
What Kind of Protein?
The Bode shake gets its protein from a proprietary blend that comes from, in order, these ingredients:
- Whey protein concentrate
- Pea protein (click to see review)
- Organic whole grain rice protein
Pea protein is “complete” so that's good. That means it has all the essential amino acids we need.
Therefore, the Bode shake contains complete proteins, which is very good for a weight loss shake because complete proteins are healthier. Essential amino acids are better than non-essential aminos at building muscle too.
There are a lot of other ingredients in the Bode shake. I noticed that the ingredients also included:
- Aloe vera gel
- Decaffeinated green tea extract
- Stevia (for taste)
Mangosteen, aloe vera, and green tea are the main ingredients in the Vemma drink I previously reviewed so see that link for additional information.
With respect to green tea extract, they don’t tell us what extract of green tea they are using. We know it's not caffeine because they say it's decaffeinated green tea. Might it the extract called EGCG? Green tea is popular in weight loss shakes and supplements even though the evidence that it helps is pretty poor. Regardless of whether you think it works or not, there is not much green tea extract in the shake because it’s mentioned toward the end of the ingredients list.
Green tea has been getting some bad publicity because of evidence it may be linked to liver problems. There are human case reports of liver issues too (and liver failure) although, because people were taking supplements that contained many things ―not just green tea ―it's hard to pinpoint what caused their problems.
I don’t feel the Bode shake has a lot of green tea extract, although I personally wish they would take it out until we know more. For the record, I don't know of any liver issues resulting from the Bode shake and I think it's likely very safe. I just wanted to mention this because I want to be as thorough as I can.
See my review of Mega T Green Tea for more info.
What Is Fibersol-2
Fibersol-2 is the source of the fiber in the Bode Shake. This is an artificially created soluble fiber that, according to the website of the company that makes it, is derived from the sugar, maltodextrin but unlike regular maltodextrin, Fibersol-2 remains undigested when eaten. Therefore it provides no calories. Here is a company-sponsored video that discusses Fibersol-2 for those who want to know more.
There is some research on Fibersol-2 noting that it might reduce hunger. The research I've seen has used 10 grams per day to achieve this effect. See my review of the 18 Shake for more on Fibersol-2. Also, see the review of NutriSystem weight loss shakes.
What Kind Of Omega 3s?
The Vemma website states that the Bode Shake has 690 mg of omega 3 fatty acids. The label says these are provided by an “Essential Fatty Acid Complex” which is a combination of flaxseed and sunflower oil. These do provide omega 3 fats but they are not the same as fish oil.
The omega 3 in the Bode Shake come from alpha linolenic acid ( ALA). In the body, a little bit of ALA is converted to EPA and DHA (the fish oils). While ALA omega 3 fats have benefits, they may not be the same as EPA and DHA. For example most of the “heart healthy” research on the benefits of omega 3 fats, stems from research on EPA and DHA – not flaxseed oil.
My Resources Page has several things that can help you learn more about omega 3s and other issues.
Vemma Bode Shake Research
On the Fact Sheet for the Bode shake, I saw a reference to 2 clinical studies conducted at Brunswick Laboratories in Massachusetts. Brunswick labs helps supplement companies conduct research on their products. The titles of these studies are:
- Bioavailability and Antioxidant Effects of a Xanthone-Rich Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) Product in Humans
- Effect of a Mangosteen Dietary Supplement on Human Immune Function: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
The Vemma Shake Fact Sheet says:
“The studies confirmed Vemma showed significant improvements in immune markers, superior antioxidant absorption and a lowering of C-reactive protein (CRP), which points to its beneficial effects on overall health and wellness.”
But, here’s the thing…
Neither of these 2 studies involves the Bode meal replacement shake. Rather they involved at another vemma product called Mangosteen Plus with Essential minerals.
Remember, these studies appear on the Bode meal replacement Shake fact sheet. If they didn’t involve the Bode shake, why are they being used as evidence for the shake?
I’m sorry but since they used different supplements in those 2 studies, it's bad science to assume the effects would be the same. They might or they might not. Let’s test it and see.
Since I can’t find any research on the Bode shake itself – and since none are specifically mentioned on the Vemma website, I conclude it has no published peer-reviewed evidence on the Body Shake itself.
Bode Shake Questions
Now, let's cover some questions people may have about the Bode shake. If I missed any, leave a comment below so I can update this part of the review.
What Are The Sweeteners?
According to Vemma, the Bode shake contains organic cane sugar and stevia.
Is The Shake Organic?
The Bode shake is not organic. While it does have a few organic ingredients, it’s not enough to be considered “organic.”
Is the Shake Vegan?
No, The protein blend in the Bode shake contains whey protein which comes from milk, so it is not vegan.
Is The Shake Gluten-Free?
According to the Vemma website, since the shake is made in a facility that processes wheat, they can't say either way if it is gluten-free or not.
Does The Shake Contain Soy?
Yes, the Bode shake soy lecithin but only a little bit (less than 1% according to the Vemma FAQ sheet). Here is a website that discusses soy lecithin in more detail.
Does The Shake Contain GMOs?
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. It’s controversial in some circles whether or not GMO foods are harmful or not. Foods that do not contain genetically modified ingredients are said to be “Non-GMO.” Currently, food labels in the US do not have to tell us if foods are GMO.
Without getting into the debate, I’ll say that I did not see any references on the Vemma website about whether or not the Bode Shake was “non-GMO.” Because they did not say that, I’ll assume it has GMO ingredients. Let me know if I'm wrong on this.
The shake does contain a little soy lecithin. It’s often said most of the soy used in the US is genetically modified. The maltodextrin from which Fibersol2 is derived might also come from GMO corn. I honestly don't know either way.
Let me be clear, I’m not passing judgment. If Vemma distributors want to weigh in on this I’ll be glad to read their unique insights.
Does The Shake Contain Milk?
While it does not contain milk specifically (unless it's mixed with milk), the Bode Shake does contain whey protein, which comes from milk.
Is The Shake Antibiotic-Free?
I’m not sure. Whey protein comes from milk and some cows may be treated with antibiotics. Would any of that get into the whey protein in the Bode Shake? I have no idea. Protein supplements containing antibiotics have been noted in the past, but this doesn’t mean the Vemma shake has them. I didn’t see any mention of this on the website.
To be fair, unless you are drinking organic milk and eating organic meat and poultry, you are probably already getting some antibiotics. If that’s you, you don’t need to discriminate against Vemma on this basis. I know this is controversial and some people have strong feelings about this. I mention it in case of this matter to people in the hopes of helping them do to their own research.
The Shake Does Not Contain…
The Shake does not contain peanuts, shellfish, eggs or tree nuts.
Chris Powell And Vemma
Chris Powell is literally the face behind the Bode Shake – his face is on the shake! Chris is a real personal trainer with a BS in exercise science and he has the same fitness certification as I do —Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)— which is arguably one of the top fitness credentials in the world.
While I’m sure everybody knows that Chris, along with his wife, Hedi, are the personal trainer at the TV show, Extreme Weight Loss, what some may not know is how the TV show came to be. I first saw Chris several years ago in a TLC documentary called The 650 Pound Virgin (click to see a video), where Chris literally moved in with a man named David Smith and helped him lose over 400 pounds (click to see the video)! This is the documentary that inspired Extreme Weight Loss.
Unfortunately, David regained much of the weight. Here is one of David’s YouTube Videos. Please wish him well, support and pray for him as he tries to lose weight again.
I'm not sure if the Vemma Bode shake is used with participants in Extreme Weight Loss or not. If anyone knows, let me know.
For the personal trainers reading this, remember that recommending supplements is often outside the bounds of what fitness trainers do. Liability insurance policies often do no cover trainers if any legal problems arise from recommending supplements. For more info on this read my post, Should Personal Trainers Recommend Supplements.
Vemma Bode Shake Side Effects
I am not aware of any significant side effects from the Bode Shake and I personally feel it's safe in healthy people. With that in mind, here are a few general things I wanted to mention.
If you take any medications, show the ingredients to your doctor and pharmacist. It’s possible that some of the ingredients in the Bode shake may interact with some medications such as blood thinner drugs. Vemma has similar recommendations on the site too. I mention pharmacists because they know a LOT about drug interactions and you don’t need to make an appointment to see them.
It’s possible that the whey protein in the Bode shake may interfere with some antibiotics people are prescribed by their doctor.
Stop the Bode shake — and all supplements— at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Vemma And The FTC
In August 2015 the Federal Trade Commission took action against Vemma alleging that the company was basically a Pyramid Scheme. The FTC alleged that Vemma specifically marketed itself to college students and other young adults with the prospect of getting rich selling Vemma supplements.
Here is the FTC document. See the FTC for more information.
Does It Work?
By using the Vemma Bode shake —in place of eating other, higher-calorie foods —I can understand how it might help some people lose weight. This is the same principle behind all similar meal replacement shakes too. Remember, it’s called a “meal replacement” shake for a reason: its meant to replace higher calorie foods that people ordinarily eat. This helps people consume fewer calories. For those who remember that then the Vemma Shake might help.