Shakeology and the Glycemic Index


The fact that Shakeology is so decadently delicious—and yet super healthy—can be hard to believe the first time you try it. And every time a new flavor comes out, this skepticism begins anew. Take new Café Latte Shakeology. With a taste every bit as tempting as anything frapped up at your local coffee chain shop, it’s hard not to ask, “How the heck can this stuff be good for you?”

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A quick peek of the back of the bag should put your mind at ease, but for lovers of hard data, we just got word that our latest flavor has received a glycemic index rating of 25—the seventh Shakeology to receive a low rating. What does this mean? Well, no matter which flavor you choose, this is proof that what you’re drinking is filled with “good carbs.”

The glycemic index (GI) is a scale from 0 to 100 created to measure how fast the carbohydrates in different foods enter your system. When you eat carbs, they’re broken down by your digestive system into glucose (also known as dextrose), a sugar that can enter your blood stream and be processed for fuel. Once this “blood sugar” is in your system, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin to shuttle it to your cells. When a lot of glucose enters your blood, so does a lot of insulin—this is called a “sugar spike.” You get a big jolt of energy, but all that insulin gobbles up the glucose extra fast and you go from having too much sugar in your blood to not having enough. This is a “sugar crash.”

A problem arises when you spike and crash on a regular basis. Your cells don’t need all this extra fuel, so they stop receiving insulin, leaving a bunch of extra sugar floating around your system. This is called insulin resistance and it’s a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

While there are some instances when a sudden sugar boost might benefit you, like after a hard workout when you’re low on blood sugar and glycogen, generally your best bet is to consume slow-absorbing carbs. The glycemic index was created to help you do this. It shows you the speed at which various carbs absorb so that you can make the right choices.

In the glycemic index, glucose sets the baseline at 100. From there, the lower the number, the slower it absorbs. Foods rated 70 or above are considered High GI. Examples include corn flakes, white bread, and many other refined flour baked goods. Foods rated between 56 and 69 are considered Medium GI. This includes raisins and bananas. Anything rated 55 or less is considered Low GI. This includes most veggies and fruit, nuts, seeds… and all seven flavors of Shakeology.

But how low, exactly, is Shakeology on the index? To determine this, Beachbody sent samples to Glycemic Index Laboratories, Inc. for testing. Here’s what we found out.

Chocolate Vegan: 20
Tropical Strawberry Vegan: 21
Chocolate: 29
Vanilla: 26
Strawberry: 14
Greenberry: 26
Café Latte: 25

By comparison, apples rate 39, lentils rate 29, and cashews rate 27.

A good GI rating isn’t the sole indication of a healthy food—but it’s a good place to start. As I wrote earlier, look on the back of any bag of Shakeology and you’ll see it’s filled with good stuff. But still, doesn’t it feel even better drinking your daily dose of dense nutrition when you know that science is on your side?

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