Lucky bloggers often receive offers to review products, but when I was sent an offer for Drink Iconic, my immediate response was, NO WAY.
Usually, I love trying new products from companies that are aligned (hello, lovely matcha and free acai!). When I got the offer from Drink Iconic, I was just so irritated by the product that I had to write about it here and share with readers. To this day, this is one of the most popular articles on my website!
Drink Iconic presents itself as a healthy meal replacement beverage (however, meal replacement isn’t all that healthy in the first place). Their website proudly states that, “In our quest to find the perfect drink for our active lifestyles, we assembled a team of nutritionists that helped us design this uniquely simple concoction we call ICONIC.” Unique, perhaps, but simple– absolutely not.
Simple would be homemade herbal tea, blended juice, or simply water. Drink Iconic is not simple at all; their product is loaded with what Michael Pollan would call ‘food-like substances-” ingredients that are technically derived from foods but have been so denatured and processed that often our body does not digest them well, which can lead to allergies, indigestion and more.
Check out the list of ingredients in their chocolate truffle flavor (ingredients for other flavors are currently unavailable):
Ingredients: Water, Milk Protein Isolate, Organic Blue Agave, Inulin, Vegetable Glycerin, Cocoa Powder, Natural Flavors, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Cellulose Gel, Sunflower Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Carrageenan Gum, Xanthan Gum, Stevia and Monk Fruit, Iconic Nutrient Blend (Magnesium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Phosphate, Green Tea Extract, Tyrosine, Choline Bitartrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cholecalciferol, and Cyanocobalamin).
Here is an updated list from 2019 for the Chocolate Truffle flavor:
Water, Grass Fed Milk Protein Isolate, Organic Blue Agave, Chicory Root Inulin, Cocoa Powder, Less than 1% of the following: Natural Flavors, Glycerin, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Sodium Hexametaphosphate*, Magnesium Phosphate*, Sunflower Lecithin, Potassium Citrate*, Sea Salt, Organic Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum, Monk Fruit, Rebaudioside A (Stevia Leaf Extract), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)
EVERY. SINGLE. INGREDIENT is processed – there is not a single whole food in this drink unless you count WATER. This makes me super mad for a lot of reasons… some of which I’ve detailed below. The following is the email I sent to the Drink Iconic PR person; I did receive a response from their PR team.The Important Media team just received your submission for your beverage. I am the Editor for Vibrant Wellness Journal, our website focused on health and wellness, and I am definitely NOT interested in reviewing your product. And in case you are wondering, here’s why:
- Drink Iconic is the opposite of a health food! Combining oils, isolated milk proteins, and chocolate is not good for our bodies. Our bodies respond best to foods that are whole and unprocessed; isolated milk or soy makes digestion difficult and is tangentially linked to increased food allergies.
- There is nothing ‘natural’ about it! Where in nature can you find a combination of carrageenan, xanthan gum and lecithin? These are heavily processed ‘food’ items that contribute only to mouthfeel and texture, there is nothing wholesome about them (in fact, most are considered health offenders)
- This is not a meal replacement: Just because a product offers vitamins and minerals doesn’t mean that it can adequately fuel our bodies the way that real foods can.
- Foods like this are simply adding to the confusion about what constitutes healthy and natural in our convoluted food industry. Rather than offering a true solution, your product is simply adding to the issues that debilitate our population– lack of nutrient dense foods, lack of plant based foods, and overabundance of animal foods.
I bet this product tastes amazing – it’s sweetened with three types of sweetners (agave, stevia, and monk fruit), and I guess that the isolate and the binders (lecitin and gums) help make it feel really creamy and decadant. But you could also make a healthy superfood hot chocolate, or a whole food smoothie with fresh fruits, real cacao powder, and some natural sweetener like coconut sugar. There is really no need in the human body for protein isolate, gellan gum, natural flavors, glycerin, or locust bean gum.
Is this stuff terrible for your health? Probably not, but is it good for you? Also, probably not. Our human bodies thrive when fed whole, natural ingredients, not processed bits of beans, proteins, and plants. Skip this product and try something more natural!
What do you think about products like this? What about the food industry pissed you off? Let us know in the comments!