What Is the Yoli Diet?

protein drink with chocolate
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At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your health care provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

The Yoli Better Body System (BBS), also known as the Yoli diet, is a range of supplement products designed to "help you work toward optimal health." The products are advertised to help with weight loss, pH balance, immune support, sports performance, energy, and complete nutrition.

According to the company, "yoli" is an Aztec word that means means "to live." The brand states that its mission is to help people live their best lives. Yoli was founded and is run by several entrepreneurs with backgrounds in business and marketing. It is unclear whether any nutrition, health, or medical experts are involved with the company. Additionally, any health and weight-loss claims for the program and its products are unsubstantiated.

Yoli is a multilevel marketing (MLM) company, which 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 not generally 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.

Through Yoli, consumers can buy individual products for nutrition or Transformation Kits for weight loss. A Transformation Kit includes a variety of supplement products and a 28-day Better Body System workbook with a meal plan and weight loss advice.

While some of the weight-loss tips are aligned with best practices for nutrition, herbal and dietary supplements for weight loss are not always recommended by experts since many claims made by supplement companies are unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

To become a Yoli distributor, there are age and residency requirements. You must also purchase a sales kit (called the Yoli Distributor Success Kit) and 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 Amazon.

Though each Yoli product touts a different health benefit, the main priority of the brand is weight loss. Customer testimonials and before and after photos promote claims of substantial weight-loss, but they don't provide the details behind the transformations.

Promotional material states that first-time BBS customers report an average weight loss of around 16 pounds in four weeks. The Transformation Kits and workbook outline the 28-day program that leads to the weight loss, however, rapid weight loss of this magnitude is unusual.

In general, a rate of up to 2 pounds per week is considered a safe and reasonable rate to lose weight. There are no studies, peer-reviewed reports, or other scientific data provided to support Yoli's quick weight claims.

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

What Can You 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. In this program, portion size is very important, and specifics are provided for each allowed food. 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 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 and then have a smoothie for breakfast. You'll consume two protein servings as a snack and three protein servings for lunch. Then you'll have three more protein servings as a snack along with another supplement. For dinner, you'll 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'll 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 foods you want but to keep the calorie count between 700–900 calories.

Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can follow the Yoli diet. The Better Body System food list provides plenty of plant-based 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 also available.

What You Need to Know

Before starting the Better Body System, you are encouraged to take "before" pictures and are offered tips and suggestions for techniques to get the best images. Then you'll set a goal weight in your workbook. Based on this goal weight, a daily meal plan is provided for you.

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

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. Each day on the BBS 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.

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

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 guarantee that this salesperson would have a nutrition or health background.

In addition to the workbook, Yoli transformation customers can also access the blog on its website where they may find lifestyle tips, recipes, and other guidance. Customers are also encouraged to follow Yoli's social media channels to engage with the community.

While Yoli states that its products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any illness or condition, consumers should still be advised to speak to their health care provider before taking any supplements, especially if they take other medications or have a medical condition.

What to Eat
  • 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

What Not to Eat
  • 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—some are healthy choices and other options, such as hot dogs, are not. Portion sizes are relatively small.

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, which are great sources of dietary fiber, 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 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

Yoli provides a 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 BBS plan 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:

  • Alkalete blend: Calcium carbonate, potassium hydroxide, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, magnesium hydroxide.
  • YES Yoli Essential Shake (90 calories): Pomegranate, carrot root, olive leaf, African mango seed, grape seed extract, acai fruit, alfalfa aerials, maqui berry, spinach leaf, horseradish tree leaf, winged treebine leaf, broccoli aerials, native whey protein, inulin, natural flavors, cocoa powder, xylitol, guar gum, stevia extract, luo han guo.
  • Passion Thermo-G Blend (10 calories): Choline bitartrate, green tea leaf extract, cissus quadrangularis extract, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), Irvingia gabonensis seed extract, pomegranate fruit extract, strawberry fruit powder, acai fruit extract, guarana seed extract, olive leaf powder, yerba mate leaf extract.
  • Pure Capsules Alkasure blend: Prebiotic tapioca fiber, citric acid, milk thistle seed protease, dried plum, cranberry, lactase, amylase, and bacillus coagulans.
  • Resolve PhytoFiber blend: Glucomannan powder, apple cider vinegar powder, organic apple fiber, cayenne fruit, cinnamon, taurine.

Talk to your health care provider about taking dietary or herbal supplements. Certain ingredients may interfere with medications or cause reactions. Green tea extract may not be healthy if you're sensitive to caffeine and may cause shakiness and headaches or interfere with sleep. Research shows that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those with hypertension, cardiac disorders, or anxiety should not consume yerba mate.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Quick weight loss

  • Easy to follow

  • Goal setting and tracking is encouraged

Cons
  • Sets unrealistic weight loss expectations

  • Not sustainable

  • No professional support

  • MLM systems are controversial

  • Lacks evidence

The Yoli diet may help you lose weight quickly, but the program does not set you up to successfully maintain a healthy weight for the long term. Review the pros and cons associated with the BBS plan to inform your decision about whether you should try this diet.

Pros

Short-Term Weight Loss

The Yoli diet may be appealing to many people because the plan only lasts 28 days. A short-term weight loss plan may offer some the opportunity to try out different eating choices to see if there's any change. However, the program is not a sustainable long-term weight management plan and does not teach long-term healthy habits.

Easy to Follow

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 are relatively inexpensive. For those who may not want to spend too much time in the kitchen cooking, there are ways to stick to the plan with convenience foods like cereal and lunchmeat.

Goal Setting Is Encouraged

The BBS workbook provides people following the Yoli diet 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 weight loss goal, the fact that some goal setting and tracking tools are provided is a plus.

Cons


Unrealistic Expectations

It would be easy to begin the Yoli diet with unrealistic expectations. Without professional support or guidance from a credentialed nutrition expert, the program may not provide your desired results.

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).

Lack of Professional Support

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

Expensive

The Yoli diet 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.

Controversial

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.

Lacks Evidence

There is no evidence to support the efficacy of the Yoli diet. There are no published studies, no peer-reviewed articles, and no credentialed experts who are affiliated with the plan. 

There are other healthy 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, long-term weight management, and overall health and well-being.

Is the Yoli Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines include recommendations and tips for a healthy, balanced diet. The advice is designed to help you get the important vitamins and minerals you need for cellular health, 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:

While some of these foods are included in the Yoli diet, not all of them are. For example, nuts and seeds are not allowed (only nut butter). In addition, on protein-only days, no fruits, vegetables, or grains are consumed, which would mean that you're not meeting your daily recommended intake of these foods.

The portion sizes for protein on the Yoli diet are also confusing. For instance, 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. By contrast, the USDA advises that a single-serving of beef or poultry should be about 3 ounces.

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.

While some aspects of the Yoli diet include foods that adhere to federal dietary guidelines, the USDA does not condone the use of herbal supplements or any supplements for healthy eating, weight loss, or weight maintenance.

Health Benefits

Proponents of the Yoli diet claim it will lead to substantial weight loss in a short period of time, but studies of similar commercial diets show that more rigorous research on their effectiveness for the long-term is still needed. In many cases, the weight that was lost will return once normal eating habits are resumed.

Health Risks

While there are no known health risks associated with the Yoli diet, research shows that excluding healthy food groups and restricting calories is not always a successful method for weight management. Furthermore, eliminating healthy food groups can lead to nutrient deficiencies and also create unhealthy eating habits.

Similar Diets

Multi-level marketing diets encourage you to buy supplement products through distributors who make a commission off of your purchase. There are similar supplement-based weight loss programs such as Isagenix, Beachbody, and Herbalife. On each of these plans, you can expect to consume at least one weight-loss shake during the day, and guidance is provided for other foods you are allowed to eat on the plan. Here's how they compare to the Yoli diet:

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 the Yoli diet, Isagenix offers 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 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 meal replacements on the diet or as supplements to a regular food program. The company's 21 Day Fix has similar features to the Yoli diet.

Beachbody claims you can lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days, making it an appealing program for those seeking quick weight loss. On the program, you calculate your 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 replacement shakes through multi-level marketing distributors. Consumers who want to lose weight use the shakes as part of a combined program that includes supplements 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's tempting to believe that drinking a specially formulated beverage or taking a combination of capsules or pills can help you 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.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, and budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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Article Sources
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