Ever since the Great Run and Herbalife Campaign, I have become much more aware and more suspicious of networking marketing (just pointing out my bias up front). Organisations such as Timeless Vie and Bot Watch are great resources if you want to read more about how they target the vulnerable and leave many far from healthy or wealthy.
Herbalife are just one brand and you may be familiar with others such as Juice Plus and Forever Living.
Recently, I have noticed more and more posts on social media about skinny coffee from Valentus and I was delighted to see that many were deserting it; realising that it had zero evidence and, from their accounts, that it was not even registered in the UK.
One such seller was Charlotte Thomas. I read about her online and she spoke strongly about integrity and how it was more important than money. She had this to say about Valentus:
Although some might argue that being busted by Trading Standards might have prompted her actions, given that she had happily sold the unproven coffee for six months, I feel that it was brave to speak out in public about a product and company that she had only the month before been praising.
So, when this job creating entrepreneur with integrity spoke excitedly about a new product whose scientific research she was this time certain about (we all make mistakes), I just had to find out more. As someone who has struggled with my weight for most of my life and who has always dreamed of being a #bossbabe , I saw this as an opportunity of a lifetime.
After all, she did cite “Fact” and who am I to argue with that?
However, life has taught me to be cautious and I asked Charlotte for this evidence and science for a Slenderiiz Review. She kindly sent me links to case studies and to product details, but sadly no scientific research. Here was me waiting to be as impressed as she was and unfortunately, there was no evidence to be found.
I pressed further and was added to the DNA 24 First Look Facebook Group where myself and 3,500 others were being educated about the Ariix product Slenderiiz.
There were videos galore and one interesting post from Erika Elmuts who serves on the Ariix Scientific Advisory Board. If anyone could provide the science and evidence, it would be Erika. After all, she did have a Harvard degree and she had spend years working in a homeopathic pharmacy. She boldly and without an ounce of irony stated that Ariix products were: “better than the products that we used to sell”.
What, better than homeopathic medicine?
But before they did, I wanted to find out more about Slenderiiz and with the links Charlotte provided, I went digging.
According to Ariix: “The easy-to-follow Slenderiiz system will do what nothing has ever done before. Slenderiiz gives you the edge you need to conquer your cravings and take control of your weight. The all-natural and clinically tested ingredients of the Slenderiiz drops curb your appetite, slow the absorption of carbs, boost your metabolism, increase satiety, lower your stress hormones, and help you sleep. Trust us, Slenderiiz is backed by real science and is like nothing you’ve ever tried before”.
Trust them, they said.
Throughout their marketing material and videos they focus on the fact that a multi- faceted approach to weight loss and weight management is key for staying healthy and on this, we can agree. So, I decided to read on and to read about all the scientifically researched and proven ingredients.
Spenderiiz comes in the form of two bottles of drops that you take before breakfast, lunch, dinner and bed. 90 drops in all across the day.
Ariix and their distributors promote at length the scientifically proven ingredients of Slenderiiz, so without any evidence provided, I decided to use my trusted pals at Examine.com , pubmed and a couple of dietician pals to research them all and to help me compile this Slenderiiz review.
Listed below are the ingredients of the Pre- Meal Drops and I have searched for the research that matches the claims of Ariix. I have considered their source, relevance and conclusions and I hope that you will too. For the record, I am not a medical professional, but I do advise the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine and I have written for the British Medical Journal Blog. Now, that might not trump Erika Elmut’s New York Times articles and while I do not have a Harvard degree, I do know how to read and interpret research (and when I do not, I ask others who do).
- 150mg White Kidney Bean Extract – According to Ariix (ATA) it helps delay the absorption of simple, starchy carbohydrates so your body burns fat instead of excess sugar. While White Kidney bean does have such a reported effect, the research shows this being achieved by supplementing with greater doses of 4-6g https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2446948
- 85.2mg Cacao Bean Extract- ATA it positively affects the hormones associated with hunger, effectively and healthily suppressing appetite. Again, this is a very low dose and with daily recommendations of 500-1000mg, I have to wonder about the efficacy of the Slenderiiz drops, especially when I couldn’t find any peer reviewed research on its effectiveness.
- 49.5mg Green Coffee Bean Extract – ATA it contains healthy, natural caffeine that boosts metabolism and increases the body’s ability to burn fat In research, a minimum dose of 440mg was shown to be effective while 140mg had no effect https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18035001
A systematic review of research on the properties of Green Coffee in regards to weight loss concluded that there was a high risk of bias and that they were of a poor methodological quality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20871849
- 19.8mg Green Tea Extract Another caffeine based ingredient and another example of a very low dose. According to Examine: “ Significant effects in humans are noted only at high doses, such as 400-500mg EGCG equivalent per day”
- 15.9mg Guarana Seed Extract – ATA it helps boost metabolism and contributes to increased fat burning. You might be seeing a trend here but 50-100mg per day is quoted as a recommended dose while there is not sufficient evidence for its efficacy.
- 7.95mg Cinnamon Bark Extract -ATA it helps the body maintain normal blood glucose levels, which in turn curbs cravings. The “well documented diabetics blood sugar level” research that Ariix refer to cites doses of 1-6 g daily https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18234131
- 300ug Biotin – ATA it helps boost metabolism and contributes to increased fat burning. A mice study was 2500ug PER KG of weight, so I have to ask what a total intake of 300ug for a human supports? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23724165
- 40ug Chromium- ATA it helps control blood sugars to avoid spikes and crashes in blood glucose levels. Research shows that supplementing with 250ug daily resulted in a modest drop in blood glucose in diabetics.
A review of literature concluded that there was “no current, reliable evidence to inform firm decisions about the efficacy and safety of Cromium supplements in overweight or obese adults”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24293292
In summary, not one of the Slenderiiz Pre-Meal Drop ingredients met or even came close to the recommended daily dose reportedly used in the clinical research above.
- 100mg L-theanine – ATA it is a natural substance found in green tea, aids weight loss by preventing fat accumulation and promoting relaxation and sleep. 100-200 mg is the normal dose and in this, Ariix meet the lower range and the research supports its use as a relaxant.
- 25mg L-glutamine – According to Examine 5g is the normal dose and Ariix do not provide any reason for its inclusion in their literature and the research does not support its use https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20181080
- 10mg Fructo-oligosaccharides is er a sweetener
- 5mg Acerola Fruit Extract – ATA it improves healthy gut ora, which aids digestion. There is no research (that I can find) that supports this. It is however a fruit rich in Vitamin C which we usually requires about 200mg each day and generally get in a normal diet.
- 5mg Holy Basil Powder – ATA it helps to lower cortisol levels and regulate stress levels that lead to fat accumulation. You guessed it. According to science it’s 100mg per day https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19253862
- 5mg Cordyceps Powder – No claims by Ariix on this one, but research again shows the need for high doses https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4621640/
- 5mg Astragalus Root Powder – ATA it encourages feelings of calm and well being – essential for stress-level maintenance. This is a herb that is very popular in Traditional Chinese Medicine where 4-6 g is recommended. Ten times as much as contained in Slenderiiz
Again, we have a range of ingredients that are mostly backed by science but again at much larger doses.
There is no independent evidence that Slenderiiz provides any results. When I put this to another Ariix representative they informed me that Ariix had in fact paid a third party to independently conduct consumer trials and the results were “insane”!!!
Insane or otherwise, I asked if they felt this was credible evidence given that they had paid for it? At this point, I was advised to speak to someone who knew what they were talking about as she just helped build businesses (no doubt supplying #bossbabes with “haters gonna hate” memes) and had seen “insane’ results using the product herself.
Again, take my money
However, remember when Ariix spoke about a multifaceted approach to weight-loss? They were not lying. At the heart of their weight-loss programme is:
THE PERFECT WEIGHT LOSS
At the core of this perfect weight loss programme is an instruction to keep your daily intake under 1,250 calories eating only Ariix approved foods
The Ariix approved foods are listed here and generally a diet consisting of these would be a healthy one. You wouldn’t struggle for choice and you wouldn’t feel hungry
In fact, the Slenderiiz Programme is all about not being hungry .
Unless of course you were being restricted to under 1250Kcals per day and like me have a BMR of 2800kcals. If you ask me, the secret to Slenderiiz success stories is down to the usual culprit…calorie restriction.
If you consume 500-1000 kcals a day less than your BMR for a prolonged period, you will see “insane” weight-loss results. I know this because I did it. I lost 174lbs in 12 months with a calorie restricted diet. Insane, I know!
To reduce stress levels and aid weight loss, I would urge you to get enough quality sleep, see friends (my current major failing) and enjoy the great outdoors. Track both your calories in and out using MyFitnessPal and a fitness tracker and take lots of small steps (read THIS for some great tips) to a healthier and happier you. Most importantly, I would advise ensuring that mentally and emotionally that you are ready to lose weight. To be successful you will benefit from having clear picture of why you want to lose weight and why it means so much to you.
You will not need to spend £130 per month (I kid you not) on Slenderiiz drops that have no independent research or evidence supporting their effectiveness and that, Charlotte Thomson, is a Fact!
So before buying into the Ariix brand or buying their products, please look at the science and the research that they are quick to cite but hesitant to discuss or publish. In fact, I will leave you with an image that summarises the importance of evidence within the Ariix community