Have you heard of ViSalus or the Body by Vi Challenge? If you’re like me, odds are several people have asked you about the science behind ViSalus or asked you if you wanted to try their products. Fortunately for me, a friend gave me some samples so I could check it out for myself, so let me now review ViSalus and pay particular attention to its Body By Vi Shape weight loss shake because which seems to be one of their flagship products. I've written a separate review on Vi Slim Metabo Awake so check that out if your looking for information specific to that product.
What is ViSalus?
ViSalus, the company is actually part of a larger company called Blyth located in Greenwich CT. Blyth Inc is actually a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Its stock symbol is BTH. Blyth Inc. is involved in marketing a variety of products. See the Blyth website for more information on their products.
In America, Blyth is located at One East Weaver Street Greenwich, CT. Their phone number is : 203-661-1926
I mention this because it appears that ViSalus itself will be spun off as a publicly traded company in the near future. As of August 16 2012 ViSalus has started the paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
There are several ViSalus supplements that range from weight loss to “neuro support”. These supplements are usually sold in “kits”. Purchasing any kit also grants people access to the Body By Vi online support website.
These are the kits sold by Visalus.
1. Body by Vi Balance Kit. This is kind of a starter kit and has a 30 day supply of Vi Shape weight loss shake powder. This is designed for people who use 1 shake a day. Here is the Balance kit on Amazon.
2. Body by Vi Shape Kit. This kit has 60 servings of the Vi Shape shake powder and is designed to last 1 month (2 shakes per day). Here is the Shape Kit on Amazon.
3. Body by Vi Core Kit. This kit was a little ambiguous when I looked at it on the Visalus website. They say the Core kit has “a patented anti-aging and energy formula, balanced nutrition, and hydration and energy without the jitters”. Is that 4 different products or 5? It was hard to figure out how many products are in the Body by Vi Core Kit. Here is the Core Kit on Amazon.
They also say “Combine that with our comprehensive Vi-Pak, for sound nutritional support from head to toe, and patent-pending Neuro Smart Energy drink mix, to support healthy brain function and keep you sharp”. Here is the Vi Pak on Amazon.
The Vi Pak? Is that extra or does it come with the Core Kit? When they say “combine” it makes me think you have to buy the Vi Pak separately. Make sure you understand this part if you purchase the Core Kit.
The Vi Pak is a mulit vitamin and mineral, anti aging and omega fatty acid supplement developed by Dr. Michael Seidman who is on the ViSalus science board. Check out the Vi Pak link for everything in the Vi Pak. Be careful with the Vi Pak if you are pregnant, lactating or taking blood thinner drugs.
Tip. Nobody knows why we age or grow old. There are many theories about aging but no single theory completely explains the aging process. Because of this fact, don’t take too seriously anyone who has an “anti-aging” formula –even if it’s “patented”.
4. Body by Vi Transformation Kit. This is billed as “the ultimate in shaping and nutritional ingredients to help you see and feel maximum results.” It looks like it’s basically a 30 day supply of everything in the Visalus product line. Here is the Transformation Kit on Amazon.
How much do the Visalus kits cost?
I found the prices on the Visalus website in a pdf file.
- Balance Kit: $49
- Shape Kit: $99
- Core kit: $199
- Transformation Kit: $249
Yearly cost of Visalus Kits
Let’s add up what 1 year costs if you used any of the Vlsalus kits.
- Balance Kit. $49 x 12 = $588 per year
- Shape Kit $99 X 6 = $594 per year (each shape kit lasts 2 months)
- Core Kit. $199 x 12 = $2388 per year
- Transformation Kit $249 x 12 = $2998 per year
I checked out ViSalus on the Better Business Bureau and they give the company an “A” Rating as of 8/18/11. The BBB did report 6 complaints for ViSalus but the categories were vague, dealing with issues about “Advertising/Sales Issues” and “Problems with Product/Service”. All complaints appear to have been resolved and I'm not worried about their reputation with customers at this time.
Body by Vi business
Body by Vi seems to be marketed mostly through distributors. It looks like there is a multi level marketing (MLM) aspect to the business which makes some people think ViSalus is a scam. That said, I don’t think MLM is always a bad thing and it does allow some people to make a lot of money with a home based business. In this economy, I do like that.
If you are thinking about being a ViSalus distributor ask “what does the average ViSalus distributor make?”. The answer to that question might help you get an idea of how much you might make.
Also ask ViSalus if you have to buy the product up front before selling it? I don’t think this is the case with ViSalus, but ask anyway before you join up.
Many weight loss supplements are sold via distributors. For example this is mostly how Shakeology is sold.
Speaking of Shakeology, here is a post where I compared ViSalus shakes to Shakeology. There you can get a cost breakdown also.
In some respects the ViSalus shake reminds me of Formula 1 meal shakes by Herbalife. See that review for more information.
The Body by Vi Challenge
Like many people I first heard about ViSalus because of its Body by Vi challenge. This is basically how the challenge works. If you use ViSalus supplements and lose more weight than the others in 90 days, you win.
Prizes for winning the Body by Vi Challenge range from a Hollywood vacation to a cruise to Baja Mexico. Runners up can get other prizes.
The Body by Vi Challenge reminds me of the Body for Life “challenge” which was big in the late 1990s and is still popular today.
I credit Body For Life as being the impetus behind P90X and most other fitness and weight loss challenges that are popular today.
The book, Body For Life was written by Bill Phillips, who used to run EAS supplements. People who changed their life the most in 90 days by using EAS supplements (and working out) got prizes. This is pretty similar to the Body by Vi challenge.
The idea of a fitness or weight loss challenge is very smart marketing. You buy the supplements, work hard and if you win, the company makes a big fuss over you and shows you off to others.
For the company, it’s a win-win.
The company makes money up front when you buy their supplements and the company makes more money later on by showing off the winner of the challenge to “the next generation” of people in the challenge.
You win because you got healthy and got a cool prize.
There isn’t anything wrong with this and getting healthy is great. I only want to point this out to you. It’s also nice that the Body by Vi website lets people interact with others in the Challenge. Online support is good because it’s been shown to help people achieve their weight loss goals.
The Vi Shape
At the core of the ViSalus product line is the weight loss shake called Vi Shape. This shake is included in every Body by Vi Kit. Let’s take a look at it and see what we can discover.
Body By Vi- Shape Ingredients
|Calories from fat 10||10|
|Cholesterol 15 mg||5%|
|Total carbs 7 g||2%|
|Dietary fiber 5g||22%|
|Sugars <1 g|
|Protein 12 g||24%|
There are also many vitamins and minerals in the Vi Shape as well. Mostly, the shake gives you 30% of each vitamin and mineral. The exception is iron where you only get 5% of your daily value. That’s not a bad thing since most healthy people get enough iron from their diet –and too much iron is not always good.
Overall, the shake is pretty conservative in how much vitamins and minerals it gives you. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Tip. Extra vitamins and minerals don’t make you bigger, leaner or stronger. That’s probably why the Vi Shape doesn't give you lots of them.
How much nutrition is in the Body By Vi Shake?
On 11/3/11, I noticed an interesting video on the website BodyByVisalus.com. The video says that to get the same nutritional value in just 1 Body By Vi shake you would have to eat:
- 12 eggs – for vitamin D
- 1.5 cups broccoli – for vitamin E
- 5 peaches – for vitamin A
- 2 chicken breasts – for vitamin B12 (they say “at least 2 chicken breasts”)
- 1.5 cups of frozen yogurt – for calcium
- 1.5 cups of bran flakes – for magnesium
- 18 oz tomato juice – for vitamin B6
- 5 oz cheddar cheese for zinc
- 3 cups Lima beans – for niacin
- 15 slices of whole wheat bread – for pantiothantic acid
- 20 spears of asparagus – for riboflavin
- 2 cups of mushrooms – for copper
- 30 apples – for chromium
- 10 stalks of celery – for manganese
- 3 pineapples – for digestive enzymes
- 30 prunes – for fiber
All that in just 1 shake! Pretty impressive but this is just “fun with numbers”. Don't be fooled by this. For example, take the 30 prunes which they say is where Body Bi Vi gets it fiber from. But, 1 shake only has 5 grams of fiber. I bet if you ate 30 prunes, you would be getting much more than 5 grams of fiber!
As for digestive enzymes, you don't need these unless you have a digestive issue, which most healthy people don't have.
Adding protein to a weight loss shake is smart because it helps reduce our body protein (including muscle protein) from breaking down during dieting – something that can occur. But, each Vi shake only has 12 grams of protein. If you ate the 12 eggs and 2 chicken breasts in the above list, you would be getting MUCH MORE than 12 grams of protein!
The protein in the Vi Shake is a combination of soy and whey protein.
Compared to other weight loss shakes I've seen – like the P90X Recovery Drink – there is nothing in Vi Shape shake that would be considered “controversial”. That’s good. On the downside, I don't see anything special in the Body by Vi Shake either. Basically the Body By Vi Shake just a low calorie weight loss shake.
If you mix it with water, it’s only 90 calories. If you mix it with 8 oz of milk, it’s about 190 calories.
Can ViSalus help you gain muscle?
I'm sure in some people it might be able to help but remember ViSalus shakes have only 90 calories and 12 grams of protein. Gaining muscle is a matter or not just strength training, but extra calories and extra protein.
If you want to know how the ViSalus shake tastes, read my ViSalus shake taste test.
Because it’s fairly low in calories, that’s how the shake helps you lose weight – by reducing the calories you eat per day. If you follow the Body by Vi program you are replacing 1 or 2 meals a day with a ViSalus Shake. You also eat one or two “real” meals a day.
This is the same reasoning behind MANY other weight loss solutions. For example it was the same logic behind Right Size Smoothie. It’s also the basis behind Slim Fast too.
But here’s my question. Is the ViSalus Body Vi Shake better than other weight loss shakes? Will you lose weight faster or safer with Body By Vi than, say, Slim Fast for example? There is no good proof one way or the other.
What do you think?