In stressful everyday life, there is often not enough time for a fresh and balanced meal. YFood wants to be a quick and healthy alternative here: the drink, which is advertised with the slogan “This is food”, supposedly contains all the important nutrients and is also said to keep you satisfied for a long time. Together with a nutritionist, FITBOOK took a close look at meal replacement.
YFood founders Benjamin Kremer and Noel Bollmann developed the drink. The former bankers successfully launched their invention into the “Lion’s Den” in 2018. The young Munich-based company now has several products in its range, all of which are developed in cooperation with food technologists and produced in Germany and Austria. YFood drinks are now available online in 30 countries and in retail stores in six European countries. But what is really in the food to drink and how healthy is YFood really?
Is YFood a healthy “quick drink”?
The two founders wanted to bring something to market for quick consumption that provides all the important nutrients you need, especially during times of stress. To do this, they hired a food technologist and developed YFood: a (vanilla-flavored) drink that claims to replace an entire meal per serving, so “This is food,” p. Dt.: “This is food,” he says. In a healthy way. Preservatives, flavor enhancers: none. Instead, as Kremer assures FITBOOK, “protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as important omega fatty acids” are included.
Unlike comparable shakes, the YFood drink must not only be healthy, but also especially filling: up to four hours. It sounds like a calorie bomb, but it’s actually supposed to be a reasonable meal (a bottle has about 500 calories). The base of the drink is lactose-free milk, with additives such as coconut powder, oat fibre, sunflower oil and much more.
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Is YFood healthy? That’s what the nutritionist says.
All this is not really new, explains nutritionist Prof. PhDr. Sven David Muller. “These types of products have been used in the diet of sick people for decades when someone cannot or cannot eat.” He himself couldn’t understand if someone would reach for such an “artificial product” unnecessarily. And he finds several arguments for it.
Emphasizing that nutrition should be as natural as possible, the expert finds a number of things in YFood’s ingredient list controversial, as far as he knows. His warning concerns, for example, oat fibers and maltodextrin, which must be produced in complex industrial processes and are said to have other drawbacks. “Maltodextrin has an extremely high glycemic index, as does the added rice starch,” says Müller. To explain: The glycemic index (GI) assesses the effect of carbohydrate-containing foods and beverages on blood sugar levels. The general rule is: the higher, the worse.
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Carrageenan as a controversial ingredient
Müller is particularly critical of the carrageenan contained in YFood. “It’s suspected that it can promote colon cancer and also damage important gut flora,” he says. However, research disagrees on this point. Carrageenan (often declared as additive E 407 on product packaging) is used as a gelling and thickening agent in numerous convenience foods, such as puddings, salad dressings or ice cream, including products from organic stores. Its harmful effect on the intestinal mucosa has been discussed since the 1980s, after isolated cases of intestinal ulcers were found in experimental animals fed partially degraded low molecular weight carrageenan. However, no harm has been discovered in human studies, according to the “Association for Independent Health Council (UGB)”. And he explains: “The suspicion that carrageenan triggers allergic-type symptoms in people predisposed to it has not yet been confirmed.”
YFood in the FITBOOK test
Of course, a real meal is preferable to any drinking variant. But before you eat greasy fast food or grab a bag of chips because you just don’t have time for “reasonable” food, YFood is certainly a good alternative, but does it really fill you up, as the two founders promise? ? And do the drinks taste good?
To find out, two FITBOOK editors, Anna Kessler and Markus Hofmann, swapped canteen lunch with YFood. They were both blown away by the taste. As for feeling full, Anna found that even two hours later, she wasn’t actually hungry. Still, her stomach felt empty and uncomfortably queasy. Markus, a notorious eater, was surprised at how much drink could fill him up. Even three hours after taking it, there was not much hunger. Conclusion: Not so bad!
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Extended range and improved recipe
Since the recording of “Die Höhle der Löwen”, in which investor Frank Thelen joined the startup, YFood has grown significantly. In addition to milk-based drinks and powders, as well as bars and bowls in various types, sizes and flavours, the range now also includes vegan drinks. The recipe has also been revised. The proportion of maltodextrin was “reduced to such an extent that it continues to have positive effects, while the negative effect is no longer significant,” according to the company’s website. The glycemic index has also been checked: “Our coco loco drink has a low GI of only 32. This means that the blood sugar level rises only a little and then falls steadily again. As a result, the hunger metabolism is not subject to strong fluctuations such as excessive satiety or sudden cravings.