Have you heard of Zeal? How about Zurvita? I've been asked several times about Zeal and Zurvita but until recently, I didn't know they were the same thing. There are several supplements in the Zeal line but in this review, I'm going to look at the Zeal Advanced Formula Protein Shake because I thought that might be useful to the most people. Does It work? What are its ingredients? That's what I'll set out to discover. Also see my review of Zeal Wellness Drink too.
Zeal Shake Research
I was not able to find any published, peer reviewed clinical research on the Zeal shake specifically. However, some of the ingredients, which I'll cover below, have been studies for weight loss.
Zeal Shake Nutrition Facts
I found a pdf document for the Zeal Shake (chocolate flavor). According to that document, 23 grams ( a bit less than 1 oz) contains the following Nutrition Facts:
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Calories from fat||12|
|Total fat||1.3 grams|
|Saturated fat||0.5 grams|
|Total carbohydrate||8 grams|
|Dietary fiber||5 grams||N/A|
This table is odd. Notice that there are no numbers under the “Percent Daily Value” column. Why didn't they list these? There are daily values for several nutrients such as fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
Also, next to fiber, they say there is no daily value -but the daily value of fiber is between 25-35 grams per day. I wonder if these omissions might be typos?
Zeal Shake Vitamins
The table below lists the vitamins and minerals in 1 serving of the Zeal shake (chocolate flavor):
|Vitamin||Percent Daily Value||Vitamin||Percent Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||91%||Vitamin D||67%|
What I like about this table is that I don't see an overabundance of any vitamin or mineral. Even with vitamin B12, they are only giving us 100% of our daily value. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, more does not necessarily better, so I appreciated seeing this.
Zeal Shake Ingredients
Here are all the ingredients in the Zeal protein shake (chocolate flavor). I've listed them in order as they appear on the label I have. Read the list from left to right. Ingredients listed at the top represent the most plentiful while those at the end, are present the least.
|Whey protein concentrate||PEA protein||fibersol 2 maltodextrin|
|Crystalline fructose||2-deoxyribose||Cocoa powder|
|White Kidney Bean extract||Glucomannan||sunflower oil|
|magnesium phosphate||cellulose gum||soy lecithin|
|Mono and diglycerides||potassium phosphate||calcium phosphate|
|stevia||ascorbic acid||citrus pectin|
|xanthan gum||potassium citrate||sodium chloride|
|asesulfame potassium||alpha tocopherols||natural & artifical flavor|
Take a close look at the table. Notice how with some ingredients, the first letters are capitalized while in others, they not. Also, the word “Glucomannan” is listed twice – once with the first letter capitalized and another time, when it's not capitalized. Pea protein is listed as “PEA protein.” It just looks odd to me. Maybe I have an older information sheet on this product?
For those who think I'm nitpicking, I'm not. I make my share of typos. But, I thought I would mention it in light of the issues I noticed with the Nutrition Facts table above.
Ok, perceived grammatical issues notwithstanding, there are some interesting ingredients listed in this table which I want to point out. Let's do that now.
Fibersol 2 maltodextrin
This ingredient is often just listed as “fibersol.” It's a patented, version of a type of a soluble fiber called maltodextrin. While it's sometimes used as a food thickening agent, I believe it's in the Zeal shake for another reason – weight loss.
There is some research that Fibersol (also called Fibersol 2) might reduce hunger.
The study I linked to actually used a yogurt that contained Fibersol 2 in addition to other ingredients. This makes it difficult to know if it was the Fibersol 2 – or something else – that reduced hunger.
In another study, 10 grams of Fibersol 2 was shown to decrease hunger in people. While they don't tell us how much Fibersol 2 is in the Zeal shake, looking at the Nutrition Facts table above, we can see that there is only 5 grams of fiber in the shake.
Other products I've reviews that also contained Fibersol include:
See those reviews for more information.
White Kidney Bean Extract
While they don't specifically tell us, I think the white kidney bean extract used is a compound called phaseolus vulgaris. It's sometimes also called “Phaseolamin.” This ingredient can inhibit an enzyme called alpha amalyse, which breaks down carbohydrates.
The idea behind kidney bean extract (phaseolus vulgaris) is that if you can stop the carbohydrate digesting enzyme from working, you won't absorb carbs – or their calories. This is why phaseolus vulgaris is popular in carb-blocker supplements.
There is some research on phaseolus vulgaris and weight loss – but it appears you have to use a lot of it. For example, in this 2004 study, 3000 mg a day was used.
How much white kidney bean extract is in the Zeal shake? They don't tell us.
I covered white kidney bean extract in these other reviews:
See those reviews for more info on this ingredient. Personally, I'm skeptical of how well this ingredient actually works. Yes, there are some studies, but I'm just not buying it yet until I see better research.
Glucomannan is a fiber that is popular in weight loss supplements. It also goes by the name, Konjac root extract. Because it's a fiber, the idea is that if it fills you up, you will be less likely to overeat.
There have been some studies on glucomannan and weight loss. Studies generally use between 1-4 grams per day. That said, in this 2014 meta-anallysis of glucomannan, the researchers concluded that there wasn't enough good proof that it worked.
A meta analysis is basically a “study of other studies.” Researchers look at a bunch of related investigations to see if common trends or results can be determined.
Personally, I think there is something to glucomannan. I believe it's the active ingredient in Skinny Fiber which is another popular weight loss supplement I've looked at.
For more on glucomannan see these reviews:
I also covered glucomannan in my book too if you have that. As I mentioned above, glucomannan is listed in the ingredients twice. I'm not sure why that is.
So, based on these 3 ingredients – Fibersol 2, white kidney bean extract and glucomannan – I believe that Zeal company (Zurvita), is trying to make an effort to help people lose weight with the shakes.
Of those 3 ingredients I believe glucomannan has the most evidence.
Here's glucomannan on Amazon. I feel the powder version is better than the capsule version.
What Kind Of Protein?
The Zeal shake contains a combination of whey protein concentrate and pea protein. See my review of pea protein for more info on that.
Does It Contain Soy?
Yes, the Zeal shake has both soy and milk. How much of each, I can't say.
What Are The Sweeteners?
The 4th ingredient listed in the Zeal shake is “crystalline fructose.” This is not the same thing as high fructose corn syrup (which is a combination of fructose and sucrose). Crystalline fructose is only made of fructose. This is also an ingredient in the Zeal Wellness Drink too.
Because it is the first sugar I see, I believe it this the most prevalent sweetener in the Zeal shake. There is some evidence that under certain conditions fructose can raise triglyceride levels.
I also see Stevia and acesulfame potassium listed too. I believe these also contribute to the taste of the Zeal shake.
The ingredients also list 2-deoxyribose as being in the Zeal Shake. Deoxyribose is a type of sugar that makes up our DNA (genetic material). Is it present as a sweetener? I honestly have no idea. I'm not sure why this is present.
Who Makes Zeal?
The company is called ZurVita, also called Zurvita Inc. Their website is ZurVita.com. Their US address is 800 Gessner Rd. Suite 110 Houston, TX 77024. They list this US contact number: (844) 987-8482. Their website lists several international phone numbers as well.
I also located another name for the company – Zurvita Holdings, which according to its Linkedin profile, describes itself as “a dynamic direct-to-consumer marketing company.”
Marketing company? I thought Zurvita was a supplement company.
At the time I wrote this review, the Better Business Bureau gave Zeal a rating of “A.” See the BBB file for updates and additional information.
Zeal Shake Side Effects
I think in healthy people, the Zeal protein shake shouldn't cause any significant problems. That said, here are a few things that occurred to me based on its ingredients. Speak with your doctor if you think any of the following applies to you.
- Fructose might increase triglyceride levels.
- Stop taking the Zeal shake at least 2 weeks before having surgery.
- Speak to your doctor if you have any health issues such as diabetes, digestion issues, heart disease or are allergic to any of the ingredients.
- For those who decide to experiment with just glucomannan, I've seen reports where the capsules might get stuck in the throat. That's why I like the powder version better.
- See your first doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Does It Work?
The Zeal shake only has 100 calories. That is in line with many other weight loss shakes I've looked at previously. Substituting a lesser calorie food for one of a greater calories, should help people lose weight. While the shake itself appears to have no clinical studies, some of its ingredients have been investigated for weight loss. Of those ingredients, I believe glucomannan has the best evidence. For those who try this ingredient alone, I personally think glucomannan powder would cause less issues than capsules.
Here is the Zeal shake on Amazon if you want to see what others are saying.