why arbonne is bad?
Herbal supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means many people do not know if Arbonne products are safe for consumers.
Arbonne consists of a 30-day herbal supplement kit promoted to help individuals feel more in-shape. It also promises to remove the guesswork out of feeling physically fit.
The kit includes various products, including a daily fiber boost, protein shakes, and herbal detox tea. This kit is sold by Arbonne International, which sells herbal supplements.
An Indiana woman filed an herbal supplements lawsuit in U.S. District Court located in the Northern District of Indiana in 2013. She claims that she began taking the herbal supplement, then began experiencing fatigue and jaundice after approximately six weeks.
She was later diagnosed with acute liver failure. The lawsuit alleges her liver failure developed after ingesting toxic levels of green tea extracts.
Other side effects and health considerations linked to Arbonne products mainly involve stomach and digestion issues. These can include bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, constipation, and other issues. Long-term damage may occur in some cases as well.
Arbonne lawsuits are typically filed based on the theory that the Arbonne kit was a defective product. A defective product is any item causing injury to an individual because of:
An example of a defective product claim is where the Arbonne products did not come with the proper warning labels informing consumers about the dangers associated with the product. In such a case, the lawsuit might be filed under a failure to warn or warning label defect theory.
Another example is where the Arbonne product was manufactured incorrectly, resulting in a tainted batch of health care products. Here, the lawsuit might be filed under a manufacturing defect statute.
Defective product lawsuits may often result in various legal remedies, such as monetary damages award or a product recall. Monetary damages in an injury lawsuit often cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs.
MLMs have been around for decades, and especially in the nutrition space, there’s always more popping up. People flock to them because as consultants, they’re looking to make money. And as consumers, the products promise all sorts of great things that aren’t available in mainstream stores.
My Arbonne review post continues to be my #1 performing piece on my site, probably because Arbonne is so popular. Its flashy, go-for-it messaging and female-targeted products (rose champagne fizz sticks and marble cake protein shakes, anyone?) really bring home the bacon for the company.
But there’s another side to Arbonne and other nutrition product MLMs, and it’s not so bright.
The first indication that something’s shady is with the information that’s online for consumers.
A quick search online reveals Arbonne materials put out by Arbonne’s ‘independent consultants’ aka salespeople – probably unauthorized, but bearing the Arbonne logo to look ‘official’ – that communicates a vaguely ominous message:
You need our products, or else you’re unhealthy.
These infographics are complete garbage science, yet they’re neat, engaging, and appear to be professionally done.
Unfortunately, the layperson doesn’t understand how faulty a lot of this information is. All they see are the promises and ‘wellness’ verbiage:
‘Pure’ – Arbonne’s products are ‘pure,’ therefore they must be high-quality.
‘Cellular’ – Your cells need cleaning, and Arbonne can do that for them.
‘Detox’ – Your organs need support, and Arbonne can support them.
‘Unprotected’ – You can’t trust the FDA, but you can trust Arbonne.
‘Cleansing’ – If you’re fat, you’re unclean. But once you’ve cleansed, you’ll lose weight. Then, you’ll be clean.
Every one of these statements is untrue, but it’s the MLM M.O.: rely entirely on fear to persuade a buyer that a product is something they ‘need’ for some nebulous condition that you’ve convinced them they have (but actually don’t).
MLM claims are almost always based on immeasurable metrics. So, they might sell a product that ‘cleanses the cells’ or ‘rests the liver,’ but how in the world does a person even measure an outcome? They can’t. All they can do is trust the MLM and the people they’re buying from.
The fear tactics that MLMs use to sell products and establish loyalty create anxiety and fear around food, and a distrust of our food system.
And as we start to get a sense of belonging and become one of an MLM’s ‘followers,’ we can lose our common sense and ability to think critically about what they’re telling us.
In other words, they suck us into their tangled web with alternate facts and a community of believers that creates a biased echo-chamber.
Even the salespeople are subject to the same influence: with a promise of earnings and bonuses while they work at home, plus an insta-family of like-minded women who are also selling the products, it’s a no-brainer.
To ‘prove’ the efficacy of their products and convince people to purchase them, companies like Arbonne often use very poor science, or no science at all.
For example, Arbonne claims in a roundabout way that its Metabolism Support product causes increased thermogenesis to burn calories, but then at the bottom of the materials, in small print, says this:
**Increasing thermogenesis may aid in weight management, although this has not definitely been shown.
Okay, so which is it? Does thermogenesis work, or is Arbonne full of it?
The plot thickens when the company says the product includes the ingredient Svetol, which ‘research’ says helps with weight loss:
“Rev it up. Metabolism Support provides 400 mg per day of green coffee bean extract, which in a clinical trial was shown to help study participants manage their weight.* Also contains a blend of targeted botanicals to help support metabolism.”
Oooh! CLINICAL TRIAL!!
And again: “**Consumption of Svetol induces a reduction in glucose absorption in the small intestine, which may help support weight management.”
SCIENCE-Y AND STUFF!! Sounds like it works!
But does it reeeaaaaally? What is this special Svetol stuff that works so well?
Pay attention now, because I’m going to show you how MLMs (and any other nutritional company, really) pull the wool over peoples’ eyes with their ‘research’ to convince them that their stuff has magical, ‘scientifically proven’ ingredients that are worth buying.
Svetol is a name-brand green coffee bean extract, otherwise known as chlorogenic acid.
Curiously, both the Svetol and Arbonne sites don’t link to any of the Svetol research that’s so incredibly fantabulous. I wonder why?
So, I went digging, because of course I did.
I found the review of studies – that both sites reference. Here it is.
Aside from the fact that the review was done by the company that produces Svetol (I know, so shocking!), the studies that were reviewed were faulty AF.
There were only two human studies included in the review. The other studies were in rats or about drinking coffee. Irrelevant.
Both human studies were done by the developers of Svetol.
Both were small. Both were short. Both are over 10 years old. This is important, because if Svetol was a big important discovery, we would have seen more of it since 2007.
But we haven’t, and there’s a reason for that.
The first human study the authors refer to links back to their review. Weird.
The second study, and the only one done specifically on Svetol’s effect on body weight, has typos (boby mass index?) and questionable science like this: “There is a relationship between the amount of carbohydrates in the diet and the amount of fats in the adipose reserves since the carbohydrates are responsible for most of the calories introduced and the intake of sugars reduces energy consumption.”
Um, pardon me?
So, carbs are responsible for most of our calories, and if we reduce sugar then that automatically reduces our caloric intake?
How about the other two macronutrients, fat and protein? Do those not count or something?
Not exactly what I’d call, ‘strong clinical evidence.’
Aside from questionable research, I have real issues with how MLM nutrition products are sold.
MLMs work because the consultants are incentivized with sales. Consultants are encouraged to sell product themselves and to recruit ‘team members,’ whose sales the original consultant will get a percentage of. The more everyone recruits and sells, the more everyone makes, and the higher they climb within the pay structure.
So obviously, recruiting and moving product is a big deal. Gotta level up to Area Manager!
I’m not even going to address how MLMs target women and how many of them lose, not make, money from them.
The problem with the MLM setup is that consultants have little to no information about their customers. And when you’re selling supplements and weight-loss products, there’s risk that comes with that.
Sure, anyone can go to the drugstore and buy products that are basically the same as Arbonne’s and others – protein shakes, fat burners, energy drinks. But MLMs’ way of selling ads another layer onto that: it’s not just someone wandering into a store.
A person establishes a relationship with their salesperson or ‘consultant.’ There’s a conversation and a give-take that happens.
Many of these MLMs are selling programs and lifestyles, and although I don’t expect salespeople to take a full health history, I do expect them to hold off on selling products to people who they know full well aren’t appropriate for them.
But the combination of a drive to sell, coupled with ignorance of a customer’s health status, can be deadly.
I’ve heard from far too many followers who have first-or-secondhand experience with MLM salespeople from Arbonne, Slimroast, and others selling shit to customers who they know have eating disorders.
A lot of MLM nutrition products contain stimulants like octodrine, which can be dangerous if overconsumed, and active ingredients in ‘proprietary blends’ that may interact with certain medications.
But salespeople don’t know anything about that.
The question remains: should we actively be searching out and selling weight loss programs and supplements to random people who we really know nothing about?
Which brings me to my next point: the coaches.
A lot of MLM nutrition companies use coaches with zero experience, in particular to communicate complex nutrition science or to counsel people on their eating habits. These coaches are also driven by incentives, combining bad nutrition information with the desire to make money into a vortex of misinformation.
Why in the world would anyone hand over their precious health to somebody with what amounts to no nutrition training.
It’s like the blind leading the blind, and in extreme cases, it can be dangerous. Weight loss isn’t something to take lightly. It can be a tangled web of emotional and physical issues that can worsen with the wrong type of counselling.
It’s not a matter of ‘just eat less and drink these protein shakes and take these detox pills,’ so let’s not pretend that it is.
Saying that to the wrong person can be deadly.
It has taken me literally YEARS to get where I am in terms of nutrition counselling, and I’m still learning, so make no mistake about it: MLM coaches are in no way qualified to do what they’re doing. And no, going through the program and losing weight is NOT adequate experience to coach others.
Aside from irritating MLM consultants clogging up your social feeds and asking to ‘meet for coffee to reconnect,’ MLMs can be dangerous physically and emotionally.
The false claims, bad science, and shady tactics aren’t going to lead you to some undiscovered weight-loss pot of gold. More likely, you’ll be out a bunch of money and in for a lot of BS.
Arbonne is an MLM company that claims to strive to be the best and healthiest company in the world. It sells a variety of products, including vegan skin care products and nutritional supplements.
You can choose from dozens of products on its website, but the most popular program Arbonne offers is the 30 Days to Healthy Living program. Notably, the company refers to it as a “reset” after a person has engaged in unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Arbonne claims that when you experience digestive issues, low energy levels, or other general health concerns, it’s a sign that your body is not functioning as it usually would and needs to be reset.
The diet involves removing foods that you may be sensitive to in order to revitalize your body from the inside out.
To follow the diet and purchase products, you must work with an independent consultant — a person who sells and speaks on behalf of Arbonne products and earns a profit from each product they sell and each person they recruit.
Despite selling nutritional supplements and providing diet recommendations, consultants are not required to have any formal education in any nutrition or health-related field.
According to the 30 Days to Healthy Living guide on the company’s website, there are six steps you must follow:
The first step is to remove any foods that Arbonne claims are not beneficial to your well-being. Foods like alcohol, coffee, dairy, wheat, gluten, soy (except organic, non-GMO tempeh), and artificial sweeteners are to be avoided for at least 30 days.
Still, the company does not provide evidence or rationale for these claims.
Considering that this practice is an elimination diet, it should be pursued only under the guidance of a qualified health professional.
Next, Arbonne suggests incorporating healthy foods into the diet, though it doesn’t provide a specific meal plan. Instead, the company provides general tips, such as:
The diet encourages followers to replace two meals per day with an Arbonne shake “meal,” which includes:
In addition to these tips and foods, Arbonne recommends four “core” supplements to support your health, along with two customizable options. Keep in mind that these supplements are expensive and feature numerous suspect health claims.
The four “core” supplements are:
In addition, you must select two additional supplements to take:
Arbonne recommends daily physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight, heart health, physical fitness, and self-confidence.
Though it doesn’t provide a detailed program, the company recommends moving more than you did the day before, joining a gym, and/or taking up a new hobby, such as tennis or dancing.
Arbonne strongly recommends stress-reducing activities, such as meditation, hiking, or reaching out to friends and family. The company suggests that lowering your stress levels will make you less likely to overeat high calorie and high fat foods, which can lead to excess weight gain.
Arbonne recommends resting more often and sleeping at least 8 hours per night to prevent weight gain, improve your immune system, and lower your risk of chronic disease.
The company provides general recommendations, such as using essential oils, putting electronics away before bedtime, and practicing a bedtime ritual.
Arbonne generally recommends tracking your goals and progress to help you notice changes in your body, things that you could improve on, and foods that are bothersome to you.
After completing the 30 days, Arbonne recommends that you continue using all Arbonne products, meaning the protein shake, fizz sticks, digestive support, and so forth.
Further, you should work closely with your independent consultant, the person you buy your products and program from, to identify foods you should reintroduce or exclude from your diet.
Interestingly, Arbonne suggests that you will need to do the 30 Days to Healthy Living program more than once, which calls into question whether the program actually works and whether it’s intended to make people become reliant on the company’s products.
Arbonne, also called Arbonne International, is a wellness brand that sells a wide variety of products, from supplements to food to skincare. Although the brand has faced legal issues, its products are still highly popular.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in two of Arbonne’s most popular products: fizz sticks and protein powder. We’ll analyze medical research to give our take on whether these supplements are effectively formulated or if they’re a waste of your money. We'll also review Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living program.
Finally, we'll highlight some of the legal challenges Arbonne has faced, and explain why some refer to the company as a pyramid scheme.
Arbonne’s Fizz Sticks is an energy supplement. It comes in powder packs that can be mixed into water or any other liquid.
This supplement provides 400 milligrams (mg) of panax ginseng extract, which is an effective ingredient for energy. A 2018 medical review found panax ginseng to be a promising treatment for physical fatigue after analyzing data from 10 clinical trials on the topic.
Caffeine is another effective ingredient for an energy formulation, although the 55 mg dose is relatively low (less than one cup of coffee).
We cannot locate any medical studies proving energy benefit for any other ingredient in this formulation, nor does Arbonne cite any on their product page, so we’ll consider the remaining ingredients ineffective for an energy formulation.
While Arbonne Fizz Sticks contain two ingredients that we consider effective, they also contain a large number of ingredients we recommend avoiding, listed below.
Green tea extract may cause liver injury in a small subset of consumers according to Health Canada.
Cane sugar may contribute to obesity and diabetes when consumed in excess according to a meta-study published in 2019. Many Americans already consume too much added sugar, and we recommend avoiding all supplements containing added sugar.
Citric acid appears to cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in a small subset of consumers according to a series of case reports published in the Toxicology Reports journal. This ingredient can be derived from citrus fruits but over 90% of the citric acid used in manufacturing is derived instead from a fungus called Aspergillus niger according to the above-linked review.
This supplement also contains a blend of added vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 and potassium. We recommend avoiding supplements containing added vitamins and minerals unless otherwise instructed by a doctor. In early 2022 a supplement company was forced to recall several products from the market due to the vitamin additives causing toxicity to customers. It seems illogical in our opinion to take supplemental vitamins and minerals without a documented deficiency.
While we do believe Arbonne Fizz Sticks may potentially increase energy due to the panax ginseng extract and caffeine, overall we do not recommend this product due to all of the additive ingredients that we consider questionable from a health perspective.
We already established that panax ginseng has research backing for energy, and Illuminate Labs manufactures a panax ginseng extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% ginsenosides) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy. It contains no questionable additive ingredients like added sugar or citric acid.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link.
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Arbonne Fizz Sticks is published by a channel called “Savannah Marie” and has achieved over 29,000 views at the time of writing this article. The creator tries multiple flavors of Arbonne Fizz Sticks and the review appears unsponsored (she even refers to herself as an “Anti-MLMer”):
We cannot access the full ingredients list for Arbonne Protein Powder because the brand fails to publish one on the product page of their website (more on that later).
From other reviews of the product, we can deduce that this protein powder contains a wide range of added vitamins and minerals. The brand also claims on their website that their protein powder contains methylated vitamin B12.
Arbonne states that the vitamin B12 is “particularly chosen because it is similar to the form naturally produced by the body.” This doesn't explain why this ingredient is necessary or beneficial in a protein powder.
We recommend avoiding this protein powder because of the lack of ingredient disclosure, and because we recommend avoiding all supplements containing added vitamins and minerals.
We recommend Bulletproof Collagen Protein as our top protein powder.
Bulletproof's protein powder only contains one single ingredient: collagen protein sourced from grass-fed animals. No questionable additives at all. Bulletproof's product costs $43.95 while Arbonne's protein shake currently costs $89.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Collagen Protein at this link to the product page on Bulletproof's website.
Below is a real user review of Arbonne Protein Powder that appears unsponsored:
In April of 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning letter to Arbonne in regard to false claims made by one of the brand’s representatives, who suggested that Arbonne products could cure COVID-19.
While Arbonne itself doesn’t appear to have made the claims, this example illustrates why we consider multi-level-marketing (MLM) businesses to have a questionable business model from an ethical perspective.
MLM businesses like Arbonne incentivize representatives to make health claims about their products, because increased sales leads to increased revenue for the representatives. But many representatives of MLM products have no scientific or medical credentials, so they are not a reliable or accurate source of health advice in our opinion.
We recommend that consumers be extremely wary of health claims made by distributors or representatives of MLM companies.
Arbone sells a program called "30 Days to Healthy Living" that recommends a variety of their products. We do not consider the Arbonne supplements we reviewed healthy due to the additive ingredients, so we disagree with the title of this program from the outset.
There are a number of products included in this 30-day program with questionable health claims. One of the "customizable options" is an Arbonne product called Cleantox Gentle Cleanse which the brand claims is "a cleanse that helps promote the elimination of toxins."
As we explained at length in our review of Squeezed Juice Cleanse, we consider all health claims in regard to "cleansing" and "toxin elimination" to be unscientific, because we haven't seen any convincing medical evidence that detoxification support from supplements is beneficial or effective beyond the detoxification that the liver and kidneys already provide.
A YouTube channel called "Jacqueline Lopez" published a review of the 30-day eating program that shows what some of the meals look like:
On all of the product pages we reviewed, Arbonne failed to publish a full ingredients list. We consider this to be unacceptable and to be a consumer safety issue. Consumers deserve to know the ingredients in a supplement or food product, because they may have allergies or sensitivities to one or more ingredients.