Are Herbalife shakes safe in pregnancy?

Nutritionist Dr Rana Conway explains the recommendations on weight-loss shakes such as Herbalife during pregnancy?

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In a nutshell

Herbalife shakes are safe to have – but they aren’t recommended in pregnancy.

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We wanted to bring this up because we’ve noticed a few celeb mums (including Jacqueline Jossa and Laura Carter) have been talking about Herbalife on Instagram recently.

It seems EastEnders star Jac’s teamed up with the brand only as part of her post-baby fitness journey, but we did clock in one post that Laura mentioned she’d decided to use the shakes in pregnancy, eating a healthy lunch and dinner, but swapping her breakfast for a shake.

The expert view

While Herbalife products range from vitamin supplements to sports energy drinks, the company is probably best known for its weight loss shakes and bars.

These aren’t recommended when pregnant, Public Health England told us (back in 2014), as it does not advise following weight loss programmes in pregnancy.

Our nutritionist Dr Rana Conway says that the “only way of ensuring you get all the goodness you and your baby need is by eating a balanced diet”.

“Shakes and other supplements may contain the recommended amount of key vitamins and minerals, but foods contain so much more,” she points out.

“In recent years scientists have discovered that ellagic acid, which is found in berries, is protective against cancer, and greens such as spinach and kale contain a substance called lutein which is important for eye health.

“These are just a couple of the many beneficial phytonutrients found in real foods, and more are still being discovered.”

Herbalife’s representative George Fischer explained (again, a few years back now) that the company advises that all nutritional supplementation taken during pregnancy should be discussed with your midwife and GP.

“Optimum nutrition during pregnancy is important to maintain your health and to minimise problems during pregnancy,” he added.

“Although Herbalife products are safe to be consumed by most adults, a few Herbalife products bear a warning statement indicating they are not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. The products referred to with the warning statement generally contain caffeine.”

Images: Instagram/Jacqueline JossaInstagram/Laura Carter

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