Shakeology drinks are a health coach and social media influencer favorite, but the company’s website is quite vague when it comes to the safety of the product during pregnancy.
Drinking Shakeology during pregnancy may not be safe. Because the FDA views Shakeology as a nutritional supplement, as well as some included herbs and botanicals that carry risk for causing miscarriage, it is best to choose an alternative protein powder while pregnant.
Shakeology is not just a single product. I’ll give you the safety lowdown on several of their popular varieties, as well as an explanation of whether these shakes can be beneficial during pregnancy.
Is Shakeology Safe During Pregnancy? Can it Cause Miscarriage?
Shakeology is a highly popular meal replacement/protein shake program owned by Beachbody, a health coaching and exercise/weight loss program. The shakes are advertised and sold by Beachbody ‘health coaches’ as part of their nutrition programming.
I find it important to point out that Beachbody’s health coaches’ do benefit financially from Shakeology. The coaches partially make their earnings through commission on products sold (including Shakeology) and get discounts when purchasing Shakeology products for themselves (source: Beachbody).
Using protein powders and other supplements while pregnant has a lot of gray areas, where safety is often questioned. Beachbody’s official stance on pregnant women using their Shakeology product states that it should only be taken “under the direction of their physicians” (source: Beachbody).
Taking a look at the product label, Shakeology is labeled with ‘supplement facts,’ not ‘nutrition facts,’ meaning it is marketed and evaluated as a nutritional supplement and not a food.
This seemingly insignificant detail means that the FDA has much less stringent standards for the product’s purity. Check out our article on protein shakes for more details on supplement versus nutrition facts labeling.
Shakeology promotes itself as a ‘mood booster’ due to the company’s proprietary botanical blend that is incorporated into the powder. This botanical blend, however, contains herbs that are known to be unsafe during pregnancy.
Due to the product’s status as a nutrition supplement, and not a food, as well as the botanical blend that contains unsafe herbs, Shakeology is best avoided during pregnancy.
Though the added greens (spinach and kale powders) in Shakeology seem like a nice boost for those who want to increase their veggie intake, there are other, safer protein powders on the market that contain greens without other risky herbal ingredients.
Shakeology Ingredients and Pregnancy Safety
As I mentioned above, some of the herbal and botanical ingredients in Shakeology are not recommended during pregnancy.
Ashwagandha is the largest concern, as consuming it can lead to miscarriage. Maca root and goji berries are two other ingredients to avoid, as there isn’t enough research done on either to verify if maca root or goji berries are safe during pregnancy or not. For more details, head over to our dedicated articles on maca root and goji berries.
Each serving also includes 6 grams of fiber. While fiber is totally necessary and can help prevent pregnancy-induced constipation, too much at one time can wreak havoc on the digestive system.
Shakeology does include a ‘digestive blend’ of enzymes they claim will help your digestion, however, enzymes aren’t required for digestion in the general, healthy population.
A simpler route would be to choose a product you tolerate well with less added fibers and then get dietary fiber from your regular diet by eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Is The Vegan Shakeology OK During Pregnancy?
The vegan Shakeology line is nearly identical to their traditional products, including in protein and other nutrient content.
The only difference is that the vegan option includes only plant-based protein sources, as opposed to the traditional products which use a blend of whey and plant proteins. The unsafe herbs and botanical ingredients are still included, and so vegan Shakeology is also best avoided while pregnant.
Is the Café Latte Shakeology Pregnancy Safe?
Coffee-flavored protein shakes are incredibly popular and are widely available from many different protein shake brands. Not only is Cafe Latte Shakeology coffee flavored, but this version will also contain some caffeine as coffee is listed as an ingredient.
Unfortunately, the product label does not state how much caffeine is in a single serving. Caffeine content of other brands ranges from around 50-100 mg caffeine per serving.
While it’s unclear if this flavor of Shakeology is safe from a caffeine standpoint, as you may assume, the drink is best avoided during pregnancy due to its herbal ingredients.
Can I Use Shakeology to Lose Weight During Pregnancy, or Postpartum?
As part of the Beachbody program, Shakeology is primarily marketed towards folks looking to lose weight.
The official website and labels for Shakeology claim that the shakes have been shown to promote weight loss, however, these studies were actually funded by Beachbody (the parent company) and placed participants on an incredibly restrictive diet.
Participants were asked to replace both breakfast and lunch with Shakeology drinks, then eat their normal dinner (source: Beachbody).
This type of diet is too limited and does not contain nearly enough energy intake for a pregnant mother, or any other human for that matter, and should not be followed during pregnancy.
Note: Weight is a sensitive topic for many women, and is incredibly nuanced and individualized. If you have any questions or concerns about your weight trajectory during your pregnancy, please consult with your medical providers who can provide personalized guidance.
Instead of weight loss, weight gain is more appropriate and necessary to support healthy growth and development for your baby while keeping you healthy at the same time. The CDC and Institute of Medicine agree that no matter your body size at conception, weight gain is a healthy part of pregnancy (source: CDC).
Postpartum is another time when many women feel the pressure to ‘drop the baby weight.’ Contrary to this popular belief, weight gained during pregnancy is also used to support breastfeeding, which is incredibly demanding on the body.
Though promoted by ‘coaches’ and other media influences, Shakeology contains several ingredients which are unsafe or their safety isn’t known during pregnancy.
What’s more, the shake is also a supplement, and therefore not evaluated strictly by the FDA. For these reasons, if you decide to use protein powder it is best to choose another brand.