Almased

Last updated July 21st 2015

Almased claims to burn fat, suppress appetite and boost metabolism with a free meal plan. However, they were issued a warning by the FDA and customers have reported an unpleasant taste.

Almased Pros

  • Supposedly targets four of the five key areas of weight loss
  • Although Almased is manufactured in the USA, they also have a UK site
  • Comes with a diet plan
  • Customer reviews are generally positive

Almased Cons

  • Claims that the product is clinically proven are not backed by any evidence
  • It appears that Almased were issued a warning letter by the FDA
  • They encourage fast weight loss by replacing meals with the product, which may not be a long-term weight loss solution
  • Numerous customer complaints regarding the product's unpleasant taste
Almased is a meal replacement powder which claims to burn fat, suppress appetite and boost metabolism, as well as providing a free meal plan.

The company is based in the USA although they also have an informative UK website, where they claim that it’s been scientifically proven, and customer reviews generally seem positive.

However, other customers have complained about Almased’s taste being too unpleasant to use, and their usage instructions specify using bottled water, which some people may find inconvenient.

In addition, the FDA issued the company a warning letter, and meal replacement is arguably only a temporary weight loss solution, and may cause crash/yo-yo dieting.

Almased Review

In this review of Almased, we will look at how Almased works, its ingredients and clinical studies. We will also examine the possible side-effects of taking Almased. This review should help you decide if Almased is the best product for you.

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How Many of The 5 Key Areas of Weight Loss Does Almased Cover?

Almased claims to reduce fat and not muscle mass, suppress appetite and boost metabolism, as well as improving the digestive system, and it comes with a free meal plan.

Fat burning is a physical process where ingredients work together to burn fat cells, while a metabolism booster converts calories and fat cells into energy.

Appetite suppression can be a mental or physical process; certain ingredients may have a ‘swelling’ effect that make you feel physically full, while others may stimulate the stomach, sending signals to your brain that your body’s full.

The website also provides a free diet plan; this guides customers on what they should eat when using the product to produce the most effective results, and advises how to maintain weight loss after.

Almased Ingredients

Soy protein

Soy is allegedly a source of protein, fibre and minerals; it comes from the soybean, and it can be processed into a powder form known as ‘soy protein’ which is used in Almased. It’s said that soy may have the potential to treat conditions such as menopause and its symptoms, PMS, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, constipation, diarrhoea, memory loss and soreness after exercise. It’s also been said to slow down progression of kidney disease, and treat cancer of the uterus, prostate, lungs, thyroid and symptoms after breast cancer.

Source: Drugs.com, MedlinePlus, NCBI

Honey

Honey is produced by bees from nectar in plants, and although it’s perhaps most commonly known as a food, it’s also said to have medicinal properties and uses. It’s believed to have a number of antifungal and antibacterial properties, but these may be lost when honey is heated or exposed to prolonged sunlight. It’s allegedly used in mouth gargles and applied to the skin to treat sores, burns/sunburn and wounds, but it also treats senile cataracts, coughs, asthma, hay fever, diarrhoea and stomach ulcers, and some say that it’s a source of carbohydrate during exercise.

Soure: Drugs.com

Vitamins

Almased consists mostly of different vitamins, all of which have different functions. The product includes vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B6 and B12, and there seems to be two types of vitamin: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin A and E are all fat-soluble vitamins which dissolve in fat and are absorbed into the body and stored in the liver and fatty tissue for when your body needs to use them, although excess can be harmful.

A balanced diet should provide enough fat-soluble vitamins, so they’re used in case your diet lacks them. Vitamins C, B1, B2, B6 and B12, however, are all water-soluble and therefore dissolve in water and exit the body through urine, and are less harmful if used in excess as they’re not absorbed into the body, but they need to be consumed daily, and these are thought to improve weight control.

Source: NHS

Potassium

Potassium is a mineral said to have critical functions in the body in order to make it work properly. Potassium can be consumed through foods including fruit, vegetables, cereals, beans and milk. It’s also used in medicine to treat those with potassium deficiency. In addition, it’s believed to help nerves and muscles communicate, prevent strokes and improve negative side effects of high blood pressure. Potassium is also used to treat high calcium levels, menopause, allergies, headaches, acne and Alzheimers disease. In Almased, it’s used for its alleged thermogenic properties to burn fat and boost metabolism.

Source: MedlinePlus

Calcium

Calcium independently is an essential mineral found in bones/teeth, and it’s used to make the heart, nerves and blood clotting systems work effectively and to strengthen bones and tissues in the body. In medicine, calcium can be used to treat low calcium levels and bone conditions such as osteoporosis, rickets and osteomalacia. Meanwhile, other people may use it to treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and to prevent rectal or colon cancer, while pregnant women may use it to treat leg cramps and high blood pressure. In Almased, it allegedly boosts metabolism and burns fat through thermogenesis.

Source: WebMD

Niacin

Niacin is an ‘essential vitamin’ otherwise known as vitamin B3, meaning that it’s a member of the B vitamins group, and is therefore water-soluble. Niacin naturally occurs in plants and animals and foods such as yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans and cereal grains, and it’s also manufactured into supplements. Niacin has been used to treat high cholesterol, fat in the blood, atherosclerosis, diabetes, skin conditions such as ‘bullous pemphigoid’ and ‘granuloma annulare’ and circulation problems, amongst others. However, in Almased and other products, niacin is used for its alleged metabolism boosting properties.

Source: Drugs.com, MedlinePlus

L-Tyrosine

L-tyrosine is an amino acid which acts as a ‘building block for protein’ and can be found in dairy foods such as meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats and wheat. It’s administered to people with phenylketonuria who are unable to create l-tyrosine naturally and therefore require it in supplement form. In addition, it’s used to treat depression, stress, ADD/ADHD, narcolepsy, alertness, PMS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, alcohol/cocaine withdrawal, heart disease, stroke, erectile dysfunction, interest loss in sex, schizophrenia, in suntan agents and appetite suppressants and it’s applied to the skin to reduce wrinkles.

Source: WebMD

L-Arginine

L-arginine is a ‘non-essential amino acid’ which is used to treat a number of conditions; it’s used to treat heart disease, heart and blood vessel conditions, blood clots, chest pain, the common cold, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure and to improve blood flow through the coronary artery. It has also been used to improve recovery after certain types of surgery to shorten the healing time, prevent infection and improve wound healing. Also, and perhaps more relevantly to this product, it’s used by body builders as it’s believed to improve exercise performance and increase energy levels.

Source: Healthline, Drugs.com

L-Leucine

L-leucine is another amino acid, also known as a ‘branched-chain amino acid’, essential to the body, and it’s allegedly found in meat, poultry and fish. In medicine, it’s believed that L-leucine is used to aid in ‘parental and enteral nutrition and feeding’, as well as acting as a flavouring agent in pharmaceuticals, and it’s said to act as a ‘tablet lubricant’ in manufacturing. It’s also said that L-leucine is often used in a supplement to build muscle, which may be why it’s used in Almased, as they claim to reduce fat but not muscle mass.

Source: Drugs.com, Wikipedia, NCBI

L-Lysine

Another amino acid used in Almased is L-lysine which enters the body through protein foods that it’s naturally found in such as beans, cheese, yoghurt, meat, milk, brewing yeast and wheat germ. L-lysine is also used for medicinal purposes; for example, people allegedly use it to treat herpes infections and cold sores caused by the condition, osteoporosis, angina, anxiety, migraines, to detoxify the body and relieve pain after heroin use, as well as regulating blood sugar levels. In Almased and other similar products, it’s used for its supposed exercise performance enhancing and muscle building properties.

Source: Drugs.com, University of Maryland Medical Centre

How Almased Works

Fat Burning / Binding

Almased claims to work in 4 phases; the first phase involves ‘resetting’ the body’s metabolism to ‘crank up’ the fat burning process which occurs in phase 2, and Almased is said to burn fat as it has a low glycemic index which allegedly means that it only raises blood sugar slightly and then releases less insulin, which they claim helps the body burn more fat whilst maintaining muscle mass. For more information on fat burning, please read our ‘Best Fat Burners’ article.

It’s believed that soybeans can control high blood sugar and encourage/maintain a healthy body weight because it allegedly lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides, both substances that are associated with weight gain.

The product contains a number of vitamins; vitamins are necessary for the everyday diet, as long as they’re taken in appropriate amounts. The water-soluble vitamins are said to be beneficial for weight loss; vitamin B6 in particular is said to fuel bodily cells which then encourages fat to burn, and when combined with zinc, it can improve digestion and allow the body to digest food properly instead of storing it as fat.

Some ingredients in Almased are said to be thermogenic; thermogenesis is said to be a common weight loss method which increases internal body heat which then encourages stored fat cells to be converted into and used for energy, which is not only believed to make you more alert and active, but it’s also said to speed up the process of burning fat.

These ingredients are supposedly potassium, calcium and L-tyrosine (because it’s said to increase neurohormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine). In addition, it’s believed that potassium breaks down nutrients and helps the kidneys to discharge waste.

L-arginine is said to produce human growth hormone which uses stored fats to build muscle, and it increases levels of nitric oxide which causes ‘vasodilation’ meaning it widens blood vessels and transfers oxygen/blood/nutrients to the muscles, leading to fat burning.

As mentioned before, L-leucine is believed to be used for building muscle, and it’s also said that it encourages ‘protein synthesis’ which allegedly increases the amount of calories that are burnt. In addition, it’s said that L-leucine may increase levels of good cholesterol and reduce levels of bad cholesterol, and one study indicates that using L-leucine in conjunction with regular exercise may increase weight loss than exercise on its own.

Fat Burning / Binding Ingredients

Soy Protein
B Vitamins
Calcium
L-Tyrosine

Appetite Suppression

Almased also claims to promote satiety, stating that 50g of the powder contains 260 calories, and when combined with 200-350ml of water and 2 teaspoons of oil, it acts as a meal replacement which can allegedly keep you full for 4 hours because it supposedly regulated levels of ‘ghrelin’, a hormone produced in the stomach which is said to control hunger. More information on suppressing the appetite and promoting satiety can be found in our ‘Best Appetite Suppressants’ article.

Arguably, the primary use of honey isn’t for weight loss, although many dieters use it as a healthier alternative to other, more sugary sweeteners. However, one pharmacist called Mike McInnes invented ‘the honey diet’, and he says that drinking a honey based drink before bed may encourage the body to repair, as well as increasing fat burning and reducing cravings, especially for sugar, at least when combined with a healthier diet.

This may potentially encourage users to eat less, especially fewer unhealthy, sugary snacks, although information on how this works is limited, and it’s unknown whether it’s actually the honey that causes this.

L-tyrosine is believed to have several effects on the appetite through different ways; firstly, it’s said to alter neurotransmitter concentrations, including dopamine which can benefit mood related conditions such as stress and depression. Though this may not directly target satiety, it’s said that these conditions can cause weight gain due to comfort eating and lack of energy/movement.

Appetite Suppression Ingredients

Honey
L-Tyrosine

Metabolism Boosting

Almased claims that their weight loss drink contains a number of nutrients which may not be consumed in an everyday diet. They suggest that this blend of amino acids, vitamins and minerals – amongst others – can give your metabolic rate a boost to prevent you from having a lack of energy and can prevent obesity. For more information on boosting metabolism, please read our ‘Best Metabolism Boosters’ article.

Although it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D has been said to be an effective metabolism booster when consumed in suitable amounts, and it’s supported by some clinical evidence which is displayed below, later in the article.

Again, potassium, calcium and L-tyrosine are all said to be thermogenic, which means that as the internal body heat is allegedly raised, more energy is produced, as the stored fat cells are converted into/used for energy. Not only is this believed to speed up the fat burning process, but it’s also said to make the body more active and energetic, essentially keeping you alert for longer and possibly improving your exercise performance.

Niacin is said to boost metabolism because its function is to produce energy from the food you’ve consumed which subsequently increases your metabolic rate and makes you more active, more alert and can speed up other weight loss processes such as fat burning.

Again, L-arginine is said to boost metabolism by aiding in ‘vasodilation’ which is said to refer to the ‘widening of blood vessels’, and this allegedly increases the production of nitric oxide in muscles when you exercise and therefore potentially raises levels of ‘resting growth hormones’ in the body.

It’s said that L-lysine may have potential role in boosting metabolism, particularly when combined with L-carnitine, which doesn’t seem to be present in Almased. However, one study on rats with fatty liver disease found a reduction in triglyceride levels, and they concluded that it may have potential antiobesity effects.

Metabolism Boosting Ingredients

Vitamin D
Calcium
L-Tyrosine
Niacin

Almased Clinical Studies

A clinical study examines the effectiveness and safety of a treatment, such as a drug, ingredient or product, and they act as an indication of credibility to potential customers/patients. Not many weight loss products undergo clinical studies on the product itself, but Almased claims to be scientifically proven and supported by clinical studies.

Their ‘science’ page doesn’t discuss or reference any particular studies, and instead they just include a comment by a nutritionist called ‘Prof. Dr. med. Aloys Berg’ who states that the product is backed by scientific research, and that 50g of Almased should be taken once or twice a day, and this is proven to cause weight loss, without linking to any proof.

However, further investigation leads to evidence of 3 studies on the product, although none of them appear to have been completed as their results aren’t published, despite them being conducted a long time ago.

Nonetheless, the first study examines the effect of Almased on 240 patients with type-2 diabetes and obesity, who were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group was placed on a lifestyle education programme for 12 months while the other group were put on a meal replacement regime using Almased.

A second study also uses a sample of 22 overweight subjects with type-2 diabetes who injected under 100U of insulin each day, and they followed one of the Almased diet plans which involved them replacing their 3 daily meals with 50g of Almased in a shake for the first week. During weeks 2-4 they only replaced 2 daily meals with the product, and they were allowed a protein-rich meal instead, and weeks 5-12 only saw 1 meal being replaced with Almased.

A final study investigates the effect Almased has on a sample of overweight and obese participants who were randomly split into 3 groups for 48 weeks; the first group was only treated by ‘health education’ for their lifestyle, while the other 2 groups were both assigned Almased. However, the second group continued using the product throughout the whole duration, while the third group discontinued Almased and had to try and maintain the weight loss for the 48 weeks, along with a separate exercise plan.

However, no results are presented for any of the 3 studies, despite each study claiming to be completed, and despite many appropriate measurements supposedly being taken. This along with the fact that the studies have not been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals reduces the credibility of the studies; they cannot be deemed reliable.

Clinical Studies on Each Ingredient

Clinical Studies on Soy Protein

One study investigated how effectively a diet high in soy protein can help to increase weight loss, without encouraging loss in muscle mass. They used a sample of 83 pre-obese and obese subjects who were randomly split into 3 groups; the first group were put on a lifestyle education intervention, the second group consumed a diet high in soy protein but low in fat, and the third group didn’t have any guided physical activity program.

The study was long-term and lasted for 6 months, and measurements such as change in body weight, fat mass and lean body mass were taken, and results showed a reduction in BMI in all groups as well as an improvement in blood sugar levels, and the group on the low fat, high soy protein diet saw a significant decrease in both body weight and fat mass.

Clinical Studies on Honey

One study on honey looks at its effects on the body weight of diabetic patients; they used a sample of 48 participants, all of whom had type-2 diabetes, and they were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group was orally assigned natural honey for 8 weeks, while the other group didn’t. Weight measurements were collected before and after the study, and results showed a significant decrease in body weight, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and they concluded that consumption of honey may potentially enhance weight loss.

Clinical Studies on Vitamins

Despite the large concentration of different vitamins in Almased, there’s limited evidence on how they promote weight loss, as they’re generally just beneficial for everyday health. However, one study examines the effect that a vitamin D and calcium supplement has on weight loss. They used a sample of 63 women who were randomly assigned either 2 supplements containing vitamin D and calcium per day or a placebo, and all participants were restricted to a diet of 700 calories each day, and they were then put on a 15 week weight loss intervention.

Results showed weight loss in both groups due to their reduced calorie intake, but there was a more significant reduction in the group taking the vitamin D/calcium than the placebo group, suggesting that vitamin D may have weight loss properties, especially when combined with calcium as it is in Almased.

A second study looks at the water-soluble vitamin C and its effectiveness in terms of weight loss compared to other methods. The information on this study is somewhat limited, but they looked at different foods such as peanuts and vinegar, and different diets and lifestyles of people generally. They found that those consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C saw 30% more fat reduction compared to individuals with lower vitamin C levels, implying that vitamin C can promote weight loss.

An analysis observes the difference between using vitamin supplementation and not using any supplement in regards to weight gain. They collected data through questionnaires regarding use of popular weight loss ingredients and their results, and the demographic of people asked were aged between 53 and 57 years old. The investigation was very big, using a sample size of 15,655 participants, discussing their results over a 10 year duration.

They asked about ingredients such as multivitamins, vitamins B6 and B12, chromium, coenzyme Q10, essential fatty acids, fiber, garlic, ginkgo biloba, panax ginseng, melatonin, soy, and St. John’s wort. Their results showed that long-term use of multivitamins, vitamins B6 and B12 and chromium saw a significantly higher reduction in weight, indicating that vitamins B6 and B12 are effective in weight loss, and so are multivitamin blends, which are all used in Almased.

Clinical Studies on Potassium

One meta-analysis summarises the results of several previous studies on potassium. This aims to examine the effects that potassium has on blood pressure in humans, specifically when ingested orally.

They looked at a total of 33 randomised, controlled clinical trials with a total sample of 2609 participants, discussing how the independent variable in all cases was the potassium supplementation, meaning that was the only thing that differentiated between the ‘intervention and control conditions’. They mentioned that out of the 7 researchers, 2 of them extracted information on sample size, study duration and design, potassium dosage and participant characteristics/information, as well as the test results.

Results showed that they found that 1 study providing evidence of a significant effect of the potassium lowering blood pressure, and they made the conclusion that low potassium intake may play an important role in the genesis of high blood pressure. Lower blood pressure is also said to encourage weight loss while higher blood pressure can inhibit it, meaning that it acts positively in regards to weight loss.

Clinical Studies on Calcium

One study looks at the effect calcium has on weight loss, examining the effect a supplement containing calcium combined with vitamin D has on fat mass loss in females with calcium deficiency. The study was randomised, double blind and placebo controlled, and took place over 15 weeks. The sample consisted of 63 overweight/obese women who were randomly allocated either a calcium and vitamin D supplement or a placebo. Each individual was instructed to ingest their supplement twice daily, and their ‘anthropometric variables, resting energy expenditure and spontaneous energy intake’ were measured both before and after.

Results showed that although the calcium and vitamin D supplement produced no significant decrease in fat mass in ‘normal’ participants, the results differed in individuals with lower calcium levels.  Those with calcium deficiency saw significant decrease in body weight, fat mass and spontaneous dietary lipid intake when they took the calcium and vitamin D supplement, although those in the placebo group saw no change; this implies that calcium can have effective weight loss properties for people with calcium deficiency.

Clinical Studies on Niacin

One study investigated the effect that a supplement containing both niacin and chromium had on a sample of African-American subjects in regards to weight loss. They used a sample of 20 overweight women who were put on a diet and exercise regime, and they were randomly split into 2 groups; the first group took a placebo 3 times each day for 2 months, and then a daily amount of 600mcg of niacin and chromium for a further 2 months, while the second group started with the niacin-chromium supplement first, then swapping for a placebo after 2 months.

Appropriate measurements were made and the results showed that both groups lost a significant amount of weight, and the reduction in body weight was roughly the same in both groups. However, the group who took the placebo first and then swapped for the niacin-chromium supplement saw a significantly greater fat loss. This implies that niacin can potentially cause weight loss, especially when combined with chromium, and even more so when accompanied by a healthy diet and regular exercise, but more individual studies may be necessary.

Clinical Studies on L-Tyrosine

One study assesses L-tyrosine’s effectiveness in regards to certain factors linked to ‘activity anorexia’ such as a loss in appetite, cognitive behaviour/attention and exercise tolerance. This was an animal study and used a sample of mice who were fed over a duration of 2 weeks. The second week involved dividing the sample into 2 groups where they were injected with either ‘saline’ or L-tyrosine.

Each mouse was put in a cage for the 2 weeks with an exercise wheel which was used to measure their exercise performance, and additional measurements such as their food consumption and cognitive function were taken, as well as examinations on their brains to monitor ‘adrenergic and serotonergic metabolites’.

Results showed that all mice saw a significant reduction in body weight of 27%, but this was due to being put on a restricted diet and a regular exercise regime. The L-tyrosine didn’t appear to change their body weight/cause weight gain, despite improving appetite and increasing food consumption.

Furthermore, L-tyrosine seemed to encourage a 22% increase in exercise activity while the saline caused an 18% decrease, and L-tyrosine also seemed to improve cognitive function. In conclusion, the researchers concluded that this ingredient may be effective in improving appetite, enhancing exercise performance and improving cognitive functions such as memory and focus.

Clinical Studies on L-Arginine

Very few studies on L-arginine focus on weight loss, but one study in particular looked at the effect of L-arginine in white adipose tissue in four week old Sprague-Dawley rats. They were fed either a low-fat or high-fat diet, and both groups consumed water with L-arginine supplementation dissolved in it for 15 weeks.

They had appropriate measurements taken and results showed that a combination of a high-fat diet and the L-arginine supplementation showed some signs of weight loss, but more evidence is certainly needed, especially human evidence, before making any conclusions.

Clinical Studies on L-Leucine

One clinical study looks at the relationship between L-leucine and exercise in rats, closely examining their changes in body weight. The study lasted for 21 weeks and involved 15 rats who were divided into 2 groups; the first group consisted of 8 rats and were the ‘exercise group’, while the remaining 7 were called the ‘exercise and L-leucine group’. Both groups partook in 60 minutes of a swimming exercise every day for 6 weeks, but the ‘exercise and L-leucine group’ were also administrated 5% of L-leucine.

Results showed that although there were no changes in total cholesterol or triglyceride levels, the ‘exercise and L-leucine’ group saw a significant decrease in body weight, as well as an increase in ‘good cholesterol’. This implies that L-leucine may be effective in promoting weight loss, especially when combined with exercise.

Clinical Studies on L-Lysine

One study observed a supplement containing the combination of L-lysine with L-arginine – both of which are used in Almased – as well as a methionine-enriched diet in terms of its effects on cholesterol and liver phospholipids when administrated to a sample of rabbits.

This study was a comparison to an earlier investigation involving glycine, but these results showed that the combination of the L-lysine and methionine showed a significant reduction in body weight, with some rabbits losing too much weight, but adding L-arginine neutralised the weight loss.

Almased Side Effects

There doesn’t appear to be any mention of Almased’s safety on their website, with no listed side effects displayed. As the rest of their site is so informative, some may assume that this means that the product is safe to use; however, customer reviews may act as a more accurate indication.

Not many customers reported adverse side effects in reviews, but several complained about the drink’s taste, claiming that it was too unpleasant to continue using the product, with some saying that it made them feel sick. However, Almased’s FAQ states that customers can use a sugar-free sweetener to improve the taste.

Side Effects Associated with Each Ingredient

Side Effects Associated with Soy Protein

WebMD claim that consuming foods or products containing soy protein is likely to be safe, and dietary supplements containing soy may be possibly safe when used in recommended doses and for short-term use of up to 6 months. However, they say that potential side effects include constipation, bloating and nausea, as well as possible allergic reactions. They also say that excessive and long-term use of soy-based dietary supplements may cause abnormal tissue growth in the uterus.

One study investigates the safety and antioxidant effects of soy protein when administrated in doses of 100g a week in hemodialysis patients for a total of 4 weeks. The soy protein was compared with a placebo: whey protein. They conducted blood safety tests which revealed ‘no harmful effects’, and the results were fairly similar in higher, longer-term doses and a single 20g serving.

Side Effects Associated with Honey

As honey is a common food ingredient consumed by many, WebMD suggests that honey is likely to be safe when consumed by most people orally or when applied to the skin. However, they warn that raw honey may be unsafe when ingested by mouth.

They also say that orally consuming honey produced from the nectar of rhododendrons is likely to be unsafe as it contains a toxin which can cause heart problems, low blood pressure and chest pains.

There’s limited evidence on the safety of honey as it’s such a common ingredient in food. However, the study from earlier about the consumption of honey in diabetics observed an increase in hemoglobin A(1C) levels, which may increase blood sugar and potentially worsen diabetes, and therefore diabetics may wish to be cautious and restrict their honey consumption.

Side Effects Associated with Vitamins

Almased contains a multivitamin blend because there are a number of different vitamins used. We know that water-soluble vitamins arguably have a lower risk of causing adverse side effects, merely because they aren’t absorbed into the body like fat-soluble vitamins are. Also, although vitamins are necessary and beneficial for your health, consuming too many could lead to risks of side effects.

Drugs.com list some common side effects which are perhaps less serious, including mild diarrhoea, nausea and stomach ache, and they advise that you consult your doctor if these symptoms persist. They also list more serious side effects where you’re advised to seek immediate medical assistance if you encounter any; these include severe allergic reactions, the feeling of the whole body swelling, numbness and tingling on the skin.

Side Effects Associated with Potassium

WebMD suggests that potassium is likely to be safe when taken orally in doses of up to 90 mEg in total of both the supplement and diet. However, if you consume too much potassium you may be more likely to experience stomach upset, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and intestinal gas. If you consume a lot of excess potassium you may even experience feelings of burning or tingling, weakness, paralysis or mental confusion.

One study looked at the safety and efficiency of concentrated potassium when used to treat critically ill patients with hypokalaemia, and their results showed that there were no significantly adverse side effects linked to the ingredient.

Side Effects Associated with Calcium

WebMD discusses how because calcium is an essential mineral for your teeth and bones, the risks of experiencing adverse side-effects is low, although calcium intake can provoke minor effects such as belching or gas.

However, ‘The Institute of Medicine’ set a daily tolerable upper intake of calcium depending age because too much calcium intake can cause much more severe side-effects such as risk of heart attack, but lack of evidence means it’s not too clear whether calcium is the definite cause of this.

Side Effects Associated with Niacin

Drugs.com list some potential side effects of niacin such as abdominal pain, flushing, headache, rash, runny or blocked nose or sneezing, and if these symptoms persist you should contact your doctor. They also warn that prolonged use could cause darkened urine, light grey stools, loss of appetite, severe stomach pain and/or yellow eyes or skin.

Furthermore, high doses could cause diarrhoea, dizziness/nausea, vomiting, dry skin, fever, itchiness, frequent urination, joint pain, muscle ache, swelling of feet/lower legs, thirst, fatigue/weakness or unusual heartbeat. These are more serious, and they recommend contacting a medical professional immediately if any occur.

One study examines the safety of niacin when used daily to treat high cholesterol; the investigation lasted for 16 weeks and used a sample of 148 participants who were randomly assigned either 1000mg of niacin a day, 1500mg per day or a placebo. Results showed that 4 patients discontinued the study because they experienced flushing, although one of those took the placebo, but other than that there weren’t many reports of adverse events.

Side Effects Associated with L-Tyrosine

As L-tyrosine is found naturally in dairy foods, WebMD suggest that it should be safe when consumed orally in food amounts. They then say that it’s possibly safe to be consumed in medicinal amounts or when applied to the skin, although there’s a lack of evidence to suggest its safety in these amounts for children. They say that it should be safe in doses up to 150mg/kg per day for up to 3 months, although potential side effects include nausea, headaches, fatigue, heartburn and joint pain.

One study reviews L-tyrosine’s safety in terms of medicine for human consumption, and after conducting several tests on both humans and animals in the form of allergy vaccinations in various doses, and they found no significant toxicity results. Therefore, the researchers concluded that L-tyrosine should be safe to use in appropriate medical doses, although it seems that more specific evidence on children is required.

Side Effects Associated with L-Arginine

Both Drugs.com and WebMD agree that L-arginine should be safe to use in small quantities for short-term use. However, they say that possible side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, bitter taste in higher doses, low blood pressure, abdominal pain, bloating, gout, allergies, airways inflammation or worsened asthma.

One study investigates the safety and efficiency of l-arginine when ingested orally, with results showing that l-arginine is well-tolerated. Another study looked at its safety when used to treat moderately severe falciparum malaria and results showed it to be safe in doses up to 12g over 30 minutes.

Side Effects Associated with L-Leucine

Upon searching for L-leucine on WebMD, it leads to their branched-chain amino acids page where they say it’s likely to be safe in the form of injection by a healthcare professional, and they’re ‘possibly safe’ when consumed orally in appropriate doses. However, side effects such as fatigue and loss of coordination have been reported, which is why users should be particularly cautious if using the ingredient in higher doses before tasks such as driving.

One study looks at the long-term safety of L-leucine when consumed orally in female rats. They specifically look at whether it affects their reproductive functions and the development of pregnant rats’ foetuses. The L-leucine was administrated in doses of 300mg/kg or 1000mg/kg throughout a pregnancy, and it didn’t seem to affect the rats or their babies, causing no abnormalities or side effects.

Side Effects Associated with L-Lysine

WebMD imply that L-lysine should be safe to use by most people when consumed orally in recommended dosage for up to one year, or applied to the skin for short-term use. However, they do warn that potential side effects include stomach ache and diarrhoea.

One human study assesses the safety of a supplement containing L-lysine, as well as zinc and a blend of herbs. This supplement is intended to treat the herpes virus around the face and mouth, and the study used a sample of 15 males and 15 females who applied an L-lysine formula to their skin, and they observed how well it worked at removing a number of symptoms using before and after photos. Not only did they find it to fully treat the condition in 87 percent of participants within 6 days, but no adverse side effects were reported.

How To Use Almased

Some may find the directions of use for Almased quite confusing at an initial glance of their website, because they have a number of different methods for different goals. However, the instructions on how to make the drink are printed on the tin’s packaging.

They say that to create the shake, you must mix 50g (8 tbsp) of the Almased powder with 10-12 ounces of a cold liquid (such as bottled/filtered water or low-fat/skimmed milk). They also suggest improving the taste by adding ’your favourite ingredients’ such as cinnamon, ground flaxseed, unsweetened cocoa powder or vanilla/almond extract, and this may be beneficial for customers who reported an unpleasant taste.

They then say that to achieve a smooth and creamy shake, you should blend the ingredients fresh and consume immediately after blending, and they instruct customers to use it as a meal replacement for up to 3 times a day, depending on their plan, or as a ‘wellness drink in addition to your diet’, and they stress the importance of drinking lots of water in addition.

They have 4 different plans for different people; the standard plan is called ‘4 Phases’ and is for long-term weight loss that can hopefully be maintained and lasts for 14 days, and this starts off by replacing all 3 meals a day, but gradually reducing it to 1 meal a day with much healthier meals which are found in their free meal plan. However, they also have a plan/tips specifically for diabetics, as well as a much more short-term, faster plan called the ‘Bikini Emergency Plan’.

This aims to achieve rapid weight loss and instead of gradually removing the Almased over the 2 weeks, people on this plan are advised to replace most of their meals with the shake, and only eating vegetable broth and vegetables and salad with lean meat or fish. This is arguably a less advisable way of losing weight as it’s encouraging fast weight loss which may cause crash dieting, and is only a temporary solution.

Almased don’t mention groups of people who shouldn’t use the product; in fact, one question in their FAQ asks ‘is age an obstacle to trying the Almased diet?’, and they responded by saying how weight loss is particularly important in older people, but they don’t specify a minimum age. This is unusual as some ingredients may not be appropriate for younger people, and so under 18s should avoid this product or consult their doctor first.

They have one plan especially for diabetics, but they don’t mention other conditions, and so it’s important to consult your doctor in advance, especially if you’re taking medication and/or have any type of medical condition. This is particularly important as Almased is a meal replacement and can mean making more drastic changes to your lifestyle.

Who Makes Almased

Almased appears to be an independent company who are based in the USA; this is evident from their contact details on their contact page, where they provide a postal address, a phone number, a fax number, a toll-free number, an email address for general enquiries, and an email address specifically for queries about the website. Alternatively, they display a form for customers to fill in online.

Although they’re based in the US, they also have a UK site which also has a contact page, but they only provide an online form to fill in. The company seems has a number of positive customer reviews and a large amount of customers, as well as providing detailed information on both of their sites. However, they don’t have a large selection of products; apart from Almased, their only other product is ‘Almased Vitality Tea’ which they claim compliments the shake as it improves digestion and detoxes the body further.

Although the Almased company appears reputable, there are several flaws and questions that haven’t been answered; for example, they claim that their product is scientifically proven, although they don’t reference any studies. Further research shows that there are several past studies in existence, but none of them have any results posted, despite all of them being completed. They are also not published in scientific journals and so cannot be deemed reliable. Furthermore, the company fail to list any potential side effects of the product, or people who should not take it.

The company was issued a warning letter from the FDA in 2012 for claiming that their product is a drug, therefore implying that it’s ‘intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease’ which was said to be violating the FDA’s regulations. This appears to have been altered and corrected since, but it may still raise doubt over the company’s credibility.

Where To Buy Almased

Although Almased seems to be based in the US, they also have a UK site where you can order the product from. Here, they offer the 500g tin of the meal replacement powder for £22.96.

Alternatively, it’s also available from Amazon.co.uk and eBay where they have multiple deals and bundles. Some may opt for online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay because prices may be lower and delivery may be faster, but others might be sceptical and prefer to use the official site to be cautious. We do not recommend purchasing weight loss supplements from online marketplaces as the quality cannot be guaranteed. However, you can gain an idea of an the seller’s credibility by reading customer reviews and ratings.

Amazon.co.uk offers 1 tin for £17.92, 2 tins for £39.29, 3 tins for £58.29 or 6 tins for £102.41, and these all appear to be stocked by the official Almased Amazon site, and they all offer free next day delivery for Amazon Prime members.

On eBay, 1 tin of Almased can be bought for £18.50, 2 tins for £36.50 or 3 tins for £55.95. These all appear to be from the same UK based seller, and although the delivery is free, the delivery time is longer than the offers on Amazon.

Overall Verdict

Almased has many positive customer reviews and most of its ingredients have been the subject of a small amount of clinical testing, though the product itself has not been tested. The company website is informative and detailed, offering lots of advise and free recipes and meal plans, with different methods for different people with various goals. However, the Almased diet is quite a drastic change in lifestyle, so it may not be for everybody. Also, they seem to encourage fasting, especially in their ‘Bikini Emergency Plan’ which encourages fast, short-term weight loss, which may lead to yo-yo dieting where they weight is just put back on after. There are some flaws and unanswered questions regarding their proof of clinical evidence, potential side effects and their warning from the FDA.

Approved Choice

Gravitate Nutrition
(5)

Gravitate Nutrition uses multiple clinically proven ingredients to successfully target all 5 areas of weight loss. Gravitate's clean and natural formula ensures the product is safe and side-effect-free.

  • Contains multiple clinically-proven, natural ingredients
  • No side-effects
  • Comes with 35-day money-back-guarantee

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