Vita Plus: A Layman’s Observations
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Photo by Jen
Several months ago, my friends were hyping up this herbal drink product called Vita Plus and how it can help you lose weight without compromising your health. I’m normally very skeptical about these so-called health drinks and their scientifically unverified claims, especially when there’s a multi-level marketing plan involved. What eventually convinced me was a photo of my friend Jen, who really did lose crazy amounts of weight after weeks of taking Vita Plus regularly.
Aside from the weight loss, I found out that the other desirable effects of Vita Plus includes increased energy and higher resistance to diseases. According to the manufacturers, Vita Plus can provide all these health benefits and more because of the five power herbs it contains: malunggay, sili leaves, saluyot, Pinoy spinach, and talbos ng kamote. Pound for pound, these herbs are said to contain vitamins and important minerals like potassium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium (see Jen’s blog entry for the complete list). The final selling point was the fact that Vita Plus does not taste like herbs at all; in fact, the four flavors of melon, dalandan, mango, and pineapple are said to taste exactly like the real fruit. So I when I read all of this in Jen’s blog, I was like, “OMG, a healthy herbal drink that does not taste like vegetables, that will help me lose weight, and that will give me the energy boost I desperately need in the morning? Why the hell not?!”
I bought two boxes, or 40 sachets of Vita Plus, for P700 per box (20 sachets). For a month and ten days, I took one sachet of Vita Plus first thing in the morning. Actually, today’s my second to the last day; the photo above is of the glass of Vita Plus I made about an hour ago. The first thing I noticed about Vita Plus is that the dalandan flavor really did taste like dalandan juice. More importantly, it gave me the energy boost that caffeine couldn’t. The entire time I was taking Vita Plus, I did not have to drink coffee to wake me up in the morning – and I am usually very grumpy, lethargic, and unable to work without my morning coffee. The effect of Vita Plus’s energy boost would last five or six hours – far longer than my morning cup of coffee, which would start to wear off by hour 2. I was very impressed by its energy-boosting capabilities, and would have taken Vita Plus twice a day if only it weren’t so expensive.
But this is where my raving ends. To be perfectly honest, I have a lot of doubts about the purported health benefits of Vita Plus – even the weight loss angle. I did exactly what was said for weight loss: drink a glass of Vita Plus 30 minutes before meals, in lukewarm water. The only thing I noticed was that smaller amounts of food would make me feel full and satisfied, but I don’t think I lost a significant amount of weight. Of course, it would be silly to think that a drink alone can make you drop ten pounds. Weight loss requires a total lifestyle change that includes exercise and a healthy diet, but only recently did I start exercising regularly and being conscious of what I eat. This might be why Vita Plus didn’t make me very skinny.
Also, I did get sick once during the Vita Plus period – the flu hit me out of nowhere. While I didn’t get a fever like I normally do, it may be because I overloaded on 1,000mg of ascorbic acid when I started feeling my throat getting itchy.
What really made me doubt the product was when I noticed the ingredients list several weeks ago. The photo above is the ingredients label from the back of the melon-flavored Vita Plus sachet I had this morning. I’m no expert, but I’d imagine that a product that actually contained malunggay, sili leaves, saluyot, Pinoy spinach, and talbos ng kamote would include ingredients like, “malunggay extract”, “sili leaves extract”, etc. Instead, all that’s there after the sugar and the flavoring is a vague “power herbs.” I know that Vita Plus is marketed to contain these so-called “power herbs”, but if the powder really does contain all these vegetables, why are they not listed in the ingredients label?
Finally, a quick look at the nutritional information shows that Vita Plus may not be as nutrient-packed as the claims. To the column on the right, you’ll see that its Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, and Zinc content is nowhere close to fulfilling the RDA for these nutrients. And take note that the RDA is based on a 100g serving – a sachet is only 22g. If you look at the column on the left, you’ll also notice that there’s far more sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium than any of the healthier minerals.
These observations made me decide to discontinue using Vita Plus. I didn’t start taking the drink for its health benefits per se, but it’s a little disheartening to realize that the health claims do not exactly correspond to the nutritional information on the sachets. I actually wouldn’t mind taking Vita Plus regularly for the energy boost, but a box costs P700. Seven hundred pesos! That’s a lot of money just to wake up for 20 days.
Despite my review, I suggest you try out Vita Plus for yourself if you’re really curious, and draw your own conclusions from there. Vita Plus can’t be found in supermarkets, but you can ask Jen where to get them.