Weight loss is a challenge, and the promises of the Thrive by Le-Vel program may just be highly tempting. However, a one-size fit’s all approach to supplements, and your health, may not work for you.
Last summer, I attempted to research the Thrive by Le-Vel supplement line. While there were many discussions on the products themselves, there was no review of the strict diet protocols the promoter recommended. After getting some distance from the trial, and having plenty of time to reflect and calm down, I wanted to answer the questions I couldn’t find answers to.
What is Thrive?
Thrive by Le-Vel is a “proprietary supplement” brand whose shtick is “filling your nutritional gaps.” The end result, they claim, is weight loss, higher energy, and clearer thinking. The products are a “three step process.”
Note: I no longer have any product packaging, so can’t list everything in the supplements. You can look at the PDFs on their site if you want specifics, I’m summarizing. Also note that these links are NOT promoter links, or affiliate links.
First, two pills to take on an empty stomach with water. The pills have B vitamins, a few other vitamins, and green coffee extract. After waiting 20 minutes, you weigh in for the day, and then take the shake mix with water. The shake mix contains hydrolyzed soy protein, a few more vitamins, B, thiamine, some folate, and a few I can’t remember (threw out the box already, oops). Lastly, you stick a sticker (DFT patch) on your skin and leave it for 24 hours. You can take the patch off, when you put on the next morning’s one.
On the weight-loss side, the shake and pills act as a meal replacement. However, the Thrive site specifically states that the shakes are NOT to be used as a meal replacement.
I took Thrive by Le-Vel for 1 month last summer, August, specifically. Ironically, I had better weight-loss from my 4 day illness with C-v-d than I did from taking their product. Thrive weightloss was about 3 lbs, C-vid weightloss was about 5lbs in 7 days with 4 days being sever illness, and three days being recovering and getting back into eating.
I was NOT eating my normal diet while on Thrive. I followed the promoter’s recommended diet, that she said worked for her weight loss, and for many other people’s weight loss. These are people in my community, so I can see that they’ve lost weight.
The Thrive Diet:
First, after taking the three thrive products it’s recommended to wait two hours and have fruit. Coffee is not permitted, as the supplements are high in caffeine due to green coffee bean extract, and green tea extracts.
The fruits available are 3 types of oranges apples, and strawberries. You can eat as much of these fruits as you like at that two hour mark.
Two hours after the fruit, one is allowed to have protein and a vegetable.
All proteins are low in fat, they included chicken breast, shrimp, tuna in water, salmon in water, salmon fillet, crab, and prawns. No dark meat chicken, no turkey, no pork, and no red meat.
The vegetables permitted were lettuce, spinach, broccoli, green zucchini, cucumber, and tomato. You were not supposed to mix veggies, or use dressing of any type.
Two hours after the first protein, you could have a different fruit than the one you had the first time.
Two hours after, you could have another serving of protein (different from the first), and another vegetable (again different from the first).
Weigh-in’s were required every morning, as soon as you’d taken the pill and before you took the shake (or as soon after both of those as you’d had a bowel movement). You wrote down your weight on a tracking sheet, and marking it in RED if you’d been OFF PLAN the previous day. Off plan could be as simple as eating a YELLOW Zucchini instead of a GREEN Zucchini, or a chicken leg instead of a chicken breast, or raspberries instead of strawberries!
Exercise was forbidden, except for light walking IF you already were walking.
If you were off plan even one day in the week, and weren’t seeing consistent weight loss, the “off plan” day was blamed. And you were blamed for the Thrive products not working for your weight loss.
During my month on this diet, and taking the Thrive product line, I found out a few things. First, after 3 days, the DFT patch caused skin irritation if it was placed back in near the same spot. I had to switch sides, and areas, for the patch to not irritate. The patch irritated 100% if I put it on my arm, but the leg was semi-fine (as long as it didn’t go back to the same point for at least a week).
Second, within 2 weeks of starting Thrive, I had my period again, despite continually breastfeeding. Also, I had to take a tea milk-increasing supplement just to keep some milk production going, it had dropped substantially.
Energy levels remained relatively consistent, but tanked in the evenings. I did seem to lose some of the sugar cravings, but the out of pocket cost wasn’t worth the 25% reduction in sugar cravings.
Hunger was constant, even with eating as many oranges, apples, and strawberries as I could stomach, and all the cucumber I could cram in a 30 minute period. There wasn’t good satiety, even when I broke protocol to mix the shake with milk for the sake of my own milk production.
I lost between 0.4-1.2 lbs per week while actively taking Thrive. Total weight loss in the 5 weeks (one week hiatus with C-vid) I was on Thrive was about 8 lbs. That’s 1.6lb per week, so right in range of sustainable, logical weight loss.
Observing the success stories “my” promoter posts, the highest weight loss per week is about 2.5lbs on Thrive by Le-Vel products, following this weirdly strict diet.
Cautions on the Product Line:
- The Thrive product line is marketed to everyone, as a one-size fit’s all solution to tiredness, lack of energy, and, by many promoters, as a weight loss solution.
- There is no allergy information on the Thrive products. The pills contain shellfish extracts. The shake contains soy. There are no ingredients listed for the DFT, so you don’t know if you might be allergic to something, or even the glue.
- There is no pregnancy or breastfeeding cautions given for any of the Thrive product line. As a breastfeeding mom, at the time I trialed this, I found that the shake reduced my milk production, and stalled my infant’s weight gain for 1 month AFTER I was off the product.
- High caffeine in the pills and the shake mix. This is a danger for anyone pregnant or breastfeeding, as caffeine will pass to the child. The fact that the caffeine amounts, in milligrams, are not declared on any of their product packaging is dangerous. You cannot make an educated decision if the information is omitted.
- White Willow Bark Extract – This is in the DFT, and either the pill or shake (can’t remember which) it’s an herbal pain killer, and is the original source of early Aspirin. There is no caution about blood thinning effects of this extract, no mention of the amount of this extract, and no mention that you’re basically micro-dosing pain killers, daily. If you already take Aspirin, or are allergic to it, this could cause health issues, fast.
- Price is a big negative, for me. These supplement products are 250$+ CAN for just one month. It’s over 6$ per “breakfast” supplement. To make it reasonable, you have to sign more people up, and the supplement tries to keep you on board for life. I sold (at 1/2 cost) my remaining supplies to a “life time Thriver” who’d been on it for more than 5 years. One day off the shake, and she was mentioning decreased energy, foggyness, and general aches and pains.
- Necessity of weaning off. Many people find that they have to wean on, and wean off, the product. I went off cold turkey, and went back to my regular, single, daily coffee to avoid headaches.
- Can feed disordered eating tendencies. If you’re in red because you ate a yellow cucumber instead of a green one, or a bite of a treat instead of the whole thing, is this diet really sustainable? The insane restriction and blaming if you didn’t show a drop in weight DAILY, were enough to push me toward not eating anything at all. After all, by mixing my shake with milk (packet said milk or water) and a few frozen strawberries, i was already off plan! Every Day in Red Pen! but there was no way to get calories up to the minimum 1700 for breastfeeding, if I stayed as strict as recommended.
The Best Diet is One You’ll Stick Too:
For the price of the Thrive by Le-Vel supplements, you can by healthy, whole food for one person for a whole month. And probably have money left over. The temptation of this company is that they are a multi-level marketing company, you get free product if you get more people to sign up. It’s technically passive income, but it is based on suckering in more people to buy over-priced supplements so you get them for free. If they were reasonably priced, the company wouldn’t need to rely on promoters and tiers, and MLM shtick to get customers.
Real food is better than lab engineered crap. If you want to lose weight, eat real, unprocessed, food and wean off processed, sugar laden (admittedly tasty) stuff.
If you need guidelines and something drastic to follow, a sugar reset via Whole30, or a month or two of Keto could be a good plan. Then, shift to something with more sustainable macros once the cravings and sugar reliance are defeated. You can buy a month’s worth of food for Whole30 or Keto, easily, if you take the amount you’d spend on the supplements and your normal grocery budget added together.
Remember, if something is super restrictive, sells a supplement, and won’t let you exercise. Then you won’t be losing just fat on the diet, you’ll lose your muscles too! You can be a healthy weight and still “skinny fat” without enough muscle to prevent injury.
Example: supplements for one person are about 250$ Canadian, including shipping. Grocery budget for my family of 3 (plus 2 fur-babies) is about 100 per week. That’s 650$ for 3 people per month, if you add the two numbers together. While baby food is expensive, and premade food is just as expensive, the more I cook at home the easier it is to stay in that budget.
Stay tuned for the next article, where I discuss my pre-baby experience with Mediterranean style Paleo diet, and my current sugar-reset adventure with Keto.
Back to You:
What is your experience with supplements, weight loss, or dieting? Leave a comment.
If you are a Thrive promoter who hasn’t heard of this diet approach, I’d love to hear the way of eating you’d recommend to be paired with the supplements. Note: personalized links to Thrive, will be deleted.