GNC Total Lean Shake 25 Review

Author: Mike

February 21st 2023

GNC Total Lean Shake 25 is a meal replacement shake they claim is a delicious way to keep you full and your metabolism ticking over, helping you achieve results on your weight loss journey. Unfortunately, closer inspection reveals it isn’t as good as it sounds.

GNC Total Lean Shake 25 Review

Things look good at first, with 25g of protein, 18g of carbs, 8g of fibre, and 3g of fat per serving, although 180 calories is a little low. However, alarm bells ring immediately upon looking at the ingredient list as, despite using 21 ingredients, less than half are actually useful.

The formula is instead filled with emulsifiers, flavours, sweeteners, and thickeners. This shows more effort has been put into making the shake enjoyable to drink, rather than being beneficial.

Then there’s the issue of no ingredient quantities listed, making it impossible to see how much of each is used. This makes it hard to determine the effects the shake will have, especially as multiple types of protein are used, all with different levels of effectiveness.

Considering the sweeteners are mainly cost effective alternatives and the best proteins are further down the label though, you can still establish cost was prioritised over quality.

A choice of 11 flavours and reports of it tasting nice both draw people in, as does GNC’s name recognition. Don’t let this convince you to buy a flawed and ineffective shake though, especially as it has a premium price.

You’re far better off using Instant Knockout Complete instead. Another shake that focuses on weight loss, it’s packed with beneficial ingredients that actually help you see results.

GNC Total Lean Shake 25 Ingredients

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein is the best type of protein to build muscle, improve strength, and repair damaged tissue. It’s extremely potent and quick release, getting to work as soon as it enters your system are doing its job effectively and efficiently (1).

However, whey concentrate is a less refined form of whey. This means, while it indeed offers all these benefits, it also includes more carbs, fat, and lactose, meaning the protein content per gram of concentrate used is lower than other types of whey.


Maltodextrin is an artificial sweetener with the same calories as regular sugar. It doesn’t provide any health benefits and is only used as it’s a cheaper alternative, despite the fact it spikes your blood sugar faster (2).

Its inclusion is particularly worrying as it’s the ingredient listed second, meaning it’s among the most abundant ingredients in Total Lean Shake 25.

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder features antioxidants that are said to offer both cardiovascular and cognitive benefits, while also boasting a pleasant flavour.

However, as more research must be done to confirm this, its inclusion in Total Lean Shake 25 may affect nothing but the taste (3).

Milk Protein Concentrate

Milk protein is a mix of whey and casein protein, a protein that offers similar benefits to whey (although is less potent), while being slower release, keeping you feeling full for longer (4).

The issue is, while milk protein is usually 80% casein and 20% whey, this varies. This means there’s no way to know how much of each protein you’re consuming, especially as Total Lean Shake 25 doesn’t disclose the quantities of its ingredients.

Natural & Artificial Flavours

Seeing natural flavours on a label can be a selling point, as it appears less processed, but its vagueness makes it hard to know what’s in the product. Artificial flavours are almost always unwanted though, as it means the product contains unnatural chemicals.

The real issue is how high up the list they are though, as this makes clear they’re a huge part of the formula and take up space that should be used by ingredients that are actually beneficial.

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey isolate is the most effective type of whey. It’s refined until it contains nothing but pure protein, making it the most desirable, yet most expensive, type of whey.

Its cost, however, often leads to manufacturers avoiding it, as it either raises the price or lowers their profit. Unfortunately, having it listed so far down the ingredients likely means they’ve included only a small amount just to get it on the label.

Oat Bran

Oat bran is the outer layer of an oat. Rich in protein, soluble and insoluble fibre, minerals, and vitamins, it’s often used to add a fibre content to supplements like Total Lean Shake 25, benefitting hypertension and offering glycaemic control to help with diabetes (5).

The problem, yet again, is that we don’t know how much is present. That means, while it can be beneficial, there could be only a superficial amount present that has no effect.


The creamer in Total Lean Shake 25 consists of coconut oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, mono- & diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, and sodium silico aluminate.

Like with so many of its other ingredients, it’s used to improve the quality of the powder and drinkability of the shake, rather than for its health benefits.

Gum Blend & Resistant Corn Starch

Xanthan gum, cellulose gum, cellulose powder, carrageenan, and resistant corn starch are all included to boost the appearance, consistency, shelf life, and texture of the powder and the thickness of the drink it makes and don’t offer any nutritional benefits.

Nonfat Dry Milk

Nonfat dry milk is milk that’s had the fat removed before being dehydrated and made into powder. It’s used to add carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals to a shake, while also enhancing its flavour.

However, in protein powders already featuring various types of protein in unlisted quantities, its inclusion is suspicious as it can further dilute the premium protein sources the shake is based around.


Salt is a mineral that’s vital for optimal health but can also cause severe health issues. As with everything in Total Lean Shake 25, it’s impossible to know the exact outcome it will produce without knowing how much pure salt is present (6).

Tricalcium Phosphate & Calcium Carbonate

Calcium is a mineral vital for maintaining the strength and health of the bones and heart and can even boost testosterone production (7).

Phosphorus is mineral that can be negatively impacted by your calcium intake, so the two are put in supplements together to prevent there being an issue.

Unfortunately, as we don’t know how much of either is present, it’s impossible to determine what effects they’ll have.


Fructooligosaccharides are an oligosaccharide fibre in various fruits, herbs, and root vegetables. They aid weight loss as they’re calorie free and produce a prebiotic effect that stimulates the digestive tract, reducing fat storage and boosting digestive health.

They also offer other benefits, like enhancing mineral absorption and healthy gut biome production, reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and combatting constipation and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (3).

The problem again though, is that without declaring the quantity of fructooligosaccharides in Total Lean Shake 25, it’s impossible to know what effect they’ll have, if any.

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide is a slow release form of the mineral magnesium, which offers numerous health benefits and can be enjoyed over a longer period.

This includes boosting exercise performance, blood sugar levels, mood, focus, mental clarity, sleep, and bone, hair, joint, muscle, nerve, nail, and skin health, aiding depression, headaches, and migraines, and reducing cramps, inflammation, and the risk of diabetes, heart disease, digestive issues and sleep issues (8).

Unfortunately, as the overall magnesium content in Total Lean Shake 25 is just 25% of your recommended daily allowance, it’s unlikely to noticeably produce any of these effects.

Vitamin & Mineral Blend

Total Lean Shake 25 features vitamins a, b1, b2, b3, b5, b6, b7, b9, b12, c, d, e, calcium, copper, chromium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

The range is quite diverse and offers many health benefits, but the doses are all over the place. Some are just 8% of your recommended daily intake, while others are 200%. This means it’s insufficient while making taking other vitamins difficult.

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin adds stability and texture to powders while providing health benefits like reducing cholesterol levels and fatigue, and boosting heart and brain functions, energy levels, and skin health. (9).

Unfortunately, with no quantities listed, it’s impossible to know if enough is present in Total Lean Shake 25 to be beneficial.

Sucralose & Acesulfame Potassium

Sucralose and acesulfame potassium are artificial sweeteners used as sugar substitutes as they’re calorie free and cheap. However, studies show they harm your healthy gut bacteria, cause inflammation, and lead to obesity and diabetes, making them possibly unsafe.

GNC Total Lean Shake 25 Pros & Cons


  • Tastes great


  • Overpriced
  • Packed with ineffective ingredients
  • Provides no information on ingredient quantities

GNC Total Lean Shake 25 Review Conclusion

Total Lean Shake 25 is a poor quality, ineffective meal shake that relies on brand recognition and reports of it tasting nice to sell. From overusing additives to prioritising low grade proteins, the only reason anyone buys this is a lack of information.

Alternatives like Instant Knockout Complete provides the advertised weight loss and health benefits while costing virtually the same price, making it a superior product you’d be much better spending your money on.



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