What Is the Yoli Diet?

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The Yoli Better Body System, often called the Yoli diet, is a range of supplement products that is designed by the company to "help you work toward optimal health." The products are advertised to help with weight loss, ph balance, immune support, sports performance, energy, and total nutrition.

Consumers can buy individual products, but the brand's Transformation Kits are more popular. A Transformation Kit includes several different supplement products and a 28-day Better Body System workbook with a meal plan and other advice for weight loss. While some of the tips follow recommended nutritional practices, herbal and diet supplements for weight loss are usually not part of mainstream weight-loss guidelines.

What Experts Say

"Similar to many multilevel marketing diets, this plan requires purchasing several costly supplements with the allure of quick weight loss. While you may lose a few pounds, experts agree that any weight lost is likely to return when you switch back to a fully food-based diet."

Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

Background

According to information provided by the company, the word "yoli" is an Aztec word that means means "to live." The brand's website says the company's mission is to help people live their best lives possible. The company was founded and is currently run by several entrepreneurs with backgrounds in marketing and business. It is unclear whether nutrition, health, or medical experts are involved with the company or where the evidence for the program and products comes from.

Yoli is a multilevel marketing (MLM) company. That means that customers are encouraged to become "members" (also called distributors) and sell products to others for a commission. MLM is also known as pyramid selling, network marketing, or referral marketing. Products are generally not sold in retail stores, but rather through word of mouth and referrals. Members are incentivized to recruit others to sell the products, thus creating a pyramid-style compensation flow.

To become a Yoli distributor, there are age and residency requirements. You are also required to purchase a sales kit (called the Yoli Distributor Success Kit) and must adhere to a code of ethics. A health or nutrition background is not listed as a requirement. Yoli products are sold in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. You'll also find the products for sale on the company website and on Amazon.

While different types of customers may be interested in Yoli products, the emphasis both on the website and in the Better Body System workbook is on weight loss. Customer testimonials and before and after photos promote substantial weight-loss claims but don't provide timelines for the transformation.

Promotional claims state that first time Better Body System users report an average weight loss of almost 16 pounds. However, no studies, peer-reviewed reports, or other data is provided to support the claim. It is also somewhat unclear about the timeline for that weight loss. The Transformation Kits and workbook outline a 28-day program, but losing 16 pounds in four weeks (28 days) would be unusual. In general, a rate of up to 2 pounds per week is considered a reasonable rate of weight loss.

How It Works

Before you start the Better Body System (BBS), Yoli users are encouraged to take "before" pictures and are given tips and suggestions for ways to get the best images. Then users set a goal weight in their workbook. Based on this goal weight, a daily meal plan is provided.

Four goal weight categories are provided: less than 125 pounds, 126-150 pounds, 151-179 pounds, and 180+ pounds. Typical weight loss goal considerations such as starting weight, gender, age, height, or the desired amount of weight loss are not taken into consideration.

If you follow the plan, your week is divided into four protein days and three meal days. Protein and meal days alternate. Guidance is provided for the meals, snacks, and supplements to consume each day.

For example, on a protein day if your goal weight is 126–150 pounds, you wake up and take two supplements from the transformation kit, then have a smoothie for breakfast. You'll consume two protein servings as a snack and three protein servings for lunch. You'll have three more protein servings as a snack along with another supplement. For dinner, you consume another smoothie, then take four supplement capsules before bed.

On a meal day, if your goal weight is 126–150 pounds, you have more options. You take several supplements after waking, then have a smoothie and a serving of fruit for breakfast. You'll consume two protein servings as a snack and then consume a lunch that includes three protein servings, one carbohydrate, one fruit, and two vegetable servings. You'll have three more protein servings as a snack along with another vegetable and another supplement. For dinner, you consume another smoothie, then take four supplement capsules before bed.

During weeks three and four, you are allowed a "free" meal at lunchtime on one day of the week. You are advised to eat whatever you want but to keep the calorie count between 700–900 calories.

Meal prep tips, recipes, and meal suggestions are provided in the workbook. There are also guidelines regarding hydration, along with charts to track your progress. Finally, weight maintenance advice is outlined. For this stage, consumers are advised to purchase more Yoli products to help them maintain their weight loss.

What to Eat

On the Yoli diet, consumers are provided with a list of BBS-approved foods by category. A list of free foods is also included. Only a few items are designated as foods to avoid. On this program, portion size is very important, and specific portion sizes are provided for each allowed food.

Compliant Foods
  • Portion-controlled protein choices such as beef sirloin, pork tenderloin, skim milk, tofu, hummus, or a hot dog

  • Portion controlled vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, spinach, or okra

  • Portion-controlled fruits such as bananas, raisins, tangerine, or papaya

  • Portion-controlled carbohydrates and starches including Cheerios, polenta, Wheat Thins, tortilla chips, and mashed potatoes

  • Some healthy fats

  • Daily supplements and beverages

Non-Compliant Foods
  • High fructose corn syrup

  • Hydrogenated oils

  • Artificial sugars

  • Soda

  • Trans fats

Protein

There is a wide range of protein types included on the allowed foods list. Portion sizes are relatively small. As a basis for comparison, a single-serving of beef or poultry is usually considered to be about 3 ounces by the USDA. On the Yoli list, a single protein serving may include 1 ounce of beef, 3 ounces of fish, 6 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt, or one hot dog.

Vegetables

You'll be able to choose from several different portion-controlled vegetables, including 1/3 cup of beets, 1/2 of a medium leek, 1 cup of cauliflower, or one tomato. Celery, cucumbers, peppers, and spinach are considered free foods and can be consumed in moderation on any day. However, the word "moderation" is not defined.

Fruits

A list of portion-controlled fruits may be consumed, including blueberries (3/4 cups), strawberries (1.5 cups), and raspberries (1 cup). You can also consume one grapefruit, 1/8 cup of craisins, a kiwi, or a peach as an allowed fruit serving.

Carbohydrates and Starches

An interesting list of allowed carbs includes processed foods such as Cheerios, Wheat Thins, Wheaties, Life cereal, Corn Chex, and Rice Krispies. Whole grains are also included on the list, including quinoa, whole grain waffles, pancakes, bread, or pasta. Portion sizes are included for each food.

Healthy Fats

The company provides a short list of healthy fats that can be consumed in moderation, including avocado, low-carb dairy, natural nut butter, olive oil, and unsweetened almond milk. Those following the diet are advised to limit consumption to one to two servings each day. For example, you might use a small serving (not defined) to prepare your fish or vegetables.

Transformation Supplements and Beverages

Those who are on the Better Body System take several supplements each day. Some come in capsule form and others are beverage mixes. The YES Yoli Essential Shake can be mixed with either water or milk and on some days is consumed as a complete meal. Ingredients for each supplement include:

Recommended Timing

Each day on this plan, you can expect to have a meal or snack every few hours. Regardless of whether it is a protein day or a meal day, you'll consume breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks are provided between breakfast and lunch and then again between lunch and dinner.

The system is designed to be a 28-day transformation. However, if you have not yet met your goal weight, the instructions state that you can purchase another kit and repeat the process.

Resources and Tips

In addition to the workbook, Yoli transformation customers can access the blog on the website where they may find lifestyle tips, recipes, and other guidance. Customers are also encouraged to join Yoli social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

If you have questions during the program, the workbook advises that you "lean on the person who referred you to the BBS" for support and guidance. However, there is no indication that this salesperson has a nutrition or health background.

Modifications

Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can follow the Yoli diet. The Better Body System food list provides plenty of protein options that are not meat, dairy, or seafood. Many of the supplements contain some form of milk derivative. But a vegan transformation kit is available.

The company clearly states that their products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any illness or condition. However, consumers should still be advised to speak to their healthcare provider before taking any supplements, especially if they take other medications or have a medical condition.

Keep in mind that it is always smart to communicate with your healthcare provider if you choose to take dietary or herbal supplements. Certain ingredients may interfere with medications or cause symptoms in certain individuals.

For example, green tea extract may not be healthy for those who are sensitive to caffeine. It may cause you to feel jittery and shaky, interfere with your sleep, or cause headaches. Other ingredients can also be problematic. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those with hypertension, cardiac disorders, or anxiety should not consume yerba mate, according to medical sources. 

Pros
  • Simple to follow

  • No complicated recipes

  • Goal setting and tracking is encouraged

Cons
  • Sets unrealistic weight loss expectations

  • Expensive

  • No professional support

  • Lacks evidence

  • Not sustainable

  • MLM systems are controversial

Pros

The Yoli Better Body System may be appealing to many people because the plan only lasts 28 days. Having a time-bound eating plan is often appealing to those who aren't sure that they can change their eating habits for the long-term. A short-term plan may offer some the opportunity to try out different eating choices to see if they notice a change.

This plan is relatively simple. While it does require you to invest in the supplement products, the foods on each list are easy to find in most grocery stores and relatively inexpensive. If you are not a person who likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, there are ways to stick to the plan with convenience foods, like cereal and lunchmeat.

The workbook also provides users to think about and write out their goals—in terms of how they want their body to look and feel. While very little guidance is provided for how to set a reasonable goal, the fact that some goal setting and tracking tools are provided is a plus.

Cons

Many customers who are looking to lose weight may be tempted by the substantial weight-loss claims, customer images, and testimonials. But there is simply not enough evidence provided to make an informed decision about those claims.

For example, if a potential customer is enticed by an impressive before-and-after picture on the website, they have no way of knowing if that person in the image was compensated for their testimonial, how long they were on the program to achieve their weight loss, and what additional support they had to reach their goal (calorie restriction, extensive exercise, medical support, coaching, etc).

It would be easy for a customer to start the Better Body System with unrealistic expectations. Without professional support or guidance from a credentialed nutrition expert, the program may not provide the desired results.

Also, no evidence is provided for the program. There are no published studies, no peer-reviewed articles, and no credentialed experts who are affiliated with the plan. There are plenty of other eating plans, such as plant-based diets, or the Mediterranean diet that are widely supported by scientific evidence that may be more effective for weight loss.

Lastly, this program is expensive. Each 28-day Transformation Kit retails for $340. You'll also have to purchase food for the plan, although your grocery bill is not likely to be higher than usual.

If you become a member, you can purchase the products at a discount, but becoming a member/distributor requires a financial investment. While there is the potential for earning cash as a distributor, most people who join legitimate MLMs make little or no money, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

How It Compares

There are several other supplement-based weight loss programs that are similar in some respects to the Yoli diet. Multi-level marketing based companies, such as Isagenix, Beachbody, and Herbalife offer supplements sold through a distributor. On each of these plans, you can expect to consume at least one weight-loss shake during the day. Some guidance is provided for other foods that you are allowed to consume.

While some of these plans include foods included in USDA guidelines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not include the use of herbal supplements or any supplements for healthy eating, weight loss, or weight maintenance.

USDA Recommendations

USDA dietary guidelines include recommendations and tips for a healthy, balanced diet. The recommendations are designed to help you get the important vitamins and minerals you need for healthy cells, carbohydrates for energy, and fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help you feel full and satisfied.

You are encouraged to build meals and snacks around healthy foods including:

  • Beans and legumes (all beans, lentils, peas)
  • Dairy (reduced-fat milk, cheese, yogurt) 
  • Fruits (apples, berries, melon)
  • Grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats)
  • Lean meats (chicken breast, fish, turkey breast)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds)
  • Oils (olive oil, avocado oil) 
  • Vegetables and dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, green beans)

While some of these foods are included in the Yoli diet, not all of them are. For example, nuts and seeds are not included as allowed foods (only nut butters). In addition, on protein days, no fruits, vegetables, or grains are consumed which would make it impossible to meet your daily recommended intake of these foods.

Consuming the right number of calories each day will also help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The USDA recommends consuming roughly 1,500 calories per day for weight loss, but this number varies based on age, sex, weight, and activity level. On the Yoli diet, these factors are not taken into consideration.

You can use this calculator to determine the right number of calories for you.

Similar Diets

Multi-level marketing diets encourage you to buy supplement products through distributors who make a commission off of your purchase.

Isagenix

On the Isagenix diet, you consume shakes, bars, and pills that claim to "detoxify" the body to burn fat. Founded in 2002, this multi-level marketing company says its mission is to free people from physical and financial pain.

Like Yoli, they offer a 30-day program that can be used for weight loss. It costs about $379 and includes meal-replacements shakes and supplements. The meal plan is very similar to Yoli's in that you take supplements after waking and before bed at night. During the day, you consume three meals and two snacks.

On the Isagenix plan, however, you have cleanse days in which you consume very little food and a few cleanse beverages. Plans like these that promise to remove toxins and promote quick weight loss with severe calorie restriction are generally not advised unless under medical supervision.

Beachbody

Beachbody is one of the most well-known multilevel marketing weight loss programs. Shakeology shakes are popular among certain fitness fans who use them as meal replacements or as a supplement to their normal food program. The company's 21-day fix has features that are similar to the Yoli diet.

Beachbody claims that you can lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days, making it an appealing program for those seeking to slim down quickly. On the program, you calculate your own daily calorie needs using a formula supplied by Beachbody. This calorie target then determines the number of portion-controlled servings you consume each day. Beachbody shakes are not required but are promoted for this program.

Unlike Yoli, exercise is an important component of this program. You'll also be eating foods from all food groups every day. And while there are costs involved with this program, there are not as many supplements to buy. You can complete the 21-day program without buying supplements at all.

Herbalife

Herbalife provides meal replacements shakes through multi-level marketing distributors. Consumers who want to lose weight use the shakes as part of a combined program that also includes supplements that the company claims will help increase your chances of weight loss.

This program is less expensive than the Yoli diet, but like Yoli and the other supplement programs, you won't have the benefit of professional advice from a credentialed health or nutrition professional. There is little evidence supporting the program and any weight loss you achieve through calorie restriction is likely to be regained when you resume a normal diet.

A Word From Verywell

It is tempting to believe that simply drinking a specially formulated beverage or taking a combination of capsules or pills can help you to achieve your weight loss goal. Sometimes, the fact that the products include (what seem to be) novel ingredients can increase the appeal of these programs. But evidence supporting weight loss supplements or restrictive eating practices is lacking.

If long-term healthy weight loss or maintenance is your goal, consider making small changes to your eating plan. Replace high calorie, starchy snacks with fresh veggies or whole fruit. Drink more water. Cut back on added sugars and build meals around fiber-rich, nutrient-dense foods. If small changes don't get you to your goal, talk to your health care provider about getting a referral to a registered dietitian who can build a balanced eating plan based on your lifestyle and needs.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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