What’s Ka’Chava? In this Ka’Chava review, we’re looking at the unbiased science to compare this shake to its claims. As a registered dietitian, my goal is that this science-based KaChava review empowers you to decide for yourself, is Ka’Chava worth it?
Note: this article was first published July 17, 2022, but was updated in July 2023 to reflect new information from Ka’Chava regarding product safety.
What is Ka’Chava?
Ka’Chava is a powdered high protein, high fiber shake supplement. It’s described as an all-in-one, plant-based, superfood “whole body meal.”
Ka’Chava ingredients include several proprietary blends, consisting in excess of 85 different plant-based ingredients.
The various proprietary blends include:
- Plant Protein Blend: organic sacha inchi protein, yellow pea protein, organic whole grain brown rice protein, organic amaranth, organic quinoa
- Adaptogen Blend: organic maca root, organic shiitake mushroom, organic maitake mushroom, organic reishi mushroom, organic ginger, organic cordyceps mushroom
- Antioxidant/ Super-Fruit Blend: organic coconut flower nectar, acai berry, camu camu berry, organic blueberry, organic tart cherry, organic blackberry, organic strawberry, organic maqui berry, organic raspberry
- Omega EFA/ Fiber Blend: chia seeds, flax seeds, organic pure whole grain oat, organic acacia gum
- Super-Greens/ Vegetable Blend: organic beetroot, chlorella, organic moringa (matcha flavor only), organic kale, organic broccoli, organic green tea (matcha flavor only), organic parsley leaf, organic celery, organic cauliflower, organic spinach, organic brussel sprouts, organic asparagus, organic green pepper, organic garlic, organic carrot, organic cucumber, organic cabbage, organic green onion, organic tomato
- Digestive Enzyme Blend: amylase, protease, cellulase, lactase, lipase
- Probiotics/ Prebiotic Blend: inulin, lactobacillus rhamnosus, lactobacillus acidophilus
- Vitamin Blend: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12
- Mineral Blend: folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, chloride, sodium, potassium
- Other Ingredients: cocoa (chocolate only), coconut milk, soluble vegetable fiber, natural vanilla flavors, xanthan gum, lo han fruit extract, guar gum, cinnamon (chocolate only)
Let’s chat a bit more about these proprietary blends.
What are Proprietary Blends?
Proprietary blends contain undisclosed quantities and ratios of ingredients – think of it as a secret recipe.
It’s absolutely understandable for a company to want to keep their trade secrets confidential. I get it!
But from the consumer side, this can make it a little tricky to know exactly what — and how much — we’re getting.
Let’s use the ingredient maca as an example:
A supplement company may see those studies and share that their maca-containing supplement promotes those same evidence-based benefits.
And while that’s not inherently wrong, the concern to be aware of is how much. How much maca is in that proprietary blend, and how does that amount compare to the amounts used in studies?
For the record, maca does appear in Ka’Chava’s adaptogen blend. But given that the entire adaptogen blend has a volume of 1020 mg, the product clearly doesn’t contain the 3000-3500 mg used in studies showing potential benefits of consuming maca.
This is not inherently problematic – it’s just something to be aware of as a consumer.
Ka’Chava nutrition information varies slightly between their five flavors. In general, each serving contains 240 calories, 7-8 grams fat, 21-25 grams total carbohydrate, 4-7 grams fiber, 5-6 grams added sugar, and 25 grams protein.
To sweeten their shakes, Ka’Chava uses uses coconut flower nectar. Similar to sweeteners like coconut sugar and agave, coconut flower nectar is considered a source of added sugar.
Some folks like to claim that these “natural” sweeteners are healthier with more micronutrients. But any micronutrients (not found in regular cane sugar) are found in such trivial amounts, it’s insignificant.
Is the use of an added sugar in Ka’Chava shakes a deal-breaker? That’s up to you! As a dietitian, I advocate for balance, awareness, and doing what works for you.
At 5-6 grams per serving, Ka’Chava falls well within the 25 grams (for women) and 36 grams (for men) of daily added sugar recommended by the American Heart Association. So I’d say that yes, a Ka’Chava shake can absolutely fit into your daily routine, if it works for you.
But if you consume other sources of added sugar or have health reasons that cause you to be particularly mindful of added sugar intake, this is something to be aware of/ you may prefer finding something unsweetened or sweetened with something like stevia or monk fruit instead.
What Does Ka’Chava Taste Like?
Ka’Chava shakes come in five flavors (vanilla, chocolate, chai, coconut acai, and matcha), and generally tastes how it’s supposed to! If you’re not familiar with pea protein, you may find it tastes a little more earthy than you’re used to.
Additionally, some flavors and sweeteners can come across a bit artificial in taste to some, particularly those used to a more whole foods diet.
One tip to improve Ka’Chava’s taste is to use a blender to help create a smoother texture. I highly do NOT recommend a shaker bottle, as it congeals and blends terribly.
Remember that taste is highly subjective. So even if you read every all the Ka’Chava reviews on the Internet, you’ll see everything from love to hate. Some say it’s too sweet, whereas others say it’s not sweet enough. Keep your personal tastes in mind when reading reviews, too.
Ka’Chava Meal Replacement Shake
Ka’Chava is marketed as a meal replacement shake, but is it really?
At 240 calories, a Ka’Chava shake is far under the energy needs most adults require at a meal. Yes we all have unique needs, but a calorie amount this low is a red flag.
Additionally, shakes alone aren’t usually a satisfying meal for most folks since there’s minimal to no chewing. And there’s even data that suggests that chewing can significantly increase meal satisfaction.
To make a true meal replacement out of a Ka’Chava shake, try adding nut butter, fruit, or rolled oats. You could also try blending with dairy or soy milk or kefir instead of water for more calories and protein.
Or just have it as a snack or one component of a full meal.
Ka’Chava costs $69.95 per bag when buying through their website. ($59.95 if you enroll in the subscribe and save program with automated monthly deliveries.)
Each bag makes 15 servings/ shakes, making it $4.66 per shake (or $3.99 with the subscribe and save option).
Shipping is $7.95, or free if you buy two bags or more.
Where to Buy Ka’Chava
You can buy Ka’Chava on the Tribal Nutrition website, Amazon, or Walmart online.
Is Ka’Chava Safe?
Please note that this section has been updated in April 2023 to reflect new information from Ka’Chava about their product’s safety.
The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements, so it can be difficult to determine the true safety of a supplement.
While Ka’Chava did not use to be independently tested by third parties, I’m SO happy to report that at some point they started more rigorous testing of their products.
As a dietitian, the most important testing I look for is third party testing.
Ka’Chava Third Party Tested
Ka’Chava states that, “In addition to the ISO17025 certified in-house testing laboratory, we also use third party testing laboratories that are certified and accredited.” Some of the third-party labs they work with include Eurofins, Silliker Laboratories/ Bio Merieux, Alkemist Laboratories, MQL (Micro Quality Labs), and IEH Laboratories.
Ka’Chava Ingredient Testing
In addition to third party testing their product, Ka’Chava also reports that they screen and test every single ingredient extensively before, during, and after production, all with third party labs.
The ingredient testing they perform includes: ingredient ID, pesticides, allergens, organoleptic, heavy metals, potency, toxins, purity, aflatoxins, and microbial.
Finished product testing includes: supplement fact verification, microbial, allergens, heavy metals, and organoleptic.
Personal Safety Concerns
No matter the supplement, there are some individuals who should always be aware of their potential personal safety concerns with any type of dietary supplements.
Individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any medical conditions or take any medications should always check with their physician before starting any new diets or supplements.
Ka’Chava Side Effects
Some individuals note Ka’Chava side effects including cramping, bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea. These side effects could possibly be related to the added fiber and how well (or not) some folks tolerate it.
Other potential allergy-related side effects have also been reported by some.
Claimed Ka’Chava Benefits
There are many claimed Ka’Chava benefits – improved immunity, weight loss, energy, sleep, digestion, mental health claims, and lots more.
I have to be honest – I try VERY hard to be as neutral and unbiased as I can when it comes to supplement reviews. But as a dietitian, it’s always a bit of a red flag and sets off some alarm bells when a supplement seems to claim any and every potential health-related benefit as their own…especially when some of the benefits contradict each other. But let’s look at the science behind the claims.
Ka’Chava claims to help produce immune cells and ward off infections. They state that it’s “packed with” nutrients that support the body’s immune system through physical barriers (skin and gut microbiome), cellular immunity, and antibody production. These nutrients include zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, probiotics, vitamin A, and B-complex vitamins.
While these nutrients can support immune health, Ka’Chava contains less than 100% of the daily value of the nutrients mentioned.
If you’re concerned about your intake of these vitamins and minerals, a general multivitamin that meets recommended intakes may be another avenue to explore. (And if you’re able to, what I really recommend is working with your healthcare team to create a supplement regimen targeted to your individual needs)
Ka’Chava & Weight Loss?
Does Ka’Chava help with weight loss? It claims to support a healthy metabolism, boost satiety, and support a healthy weight. Ka’Chava’s website says it’s, “the ideal plant-based meal if you’re looking to get (or stay) svelte, minus the hunger pangs.”
Remember that 240 calories is not a full meal. Even if weight loss is a goal, you still need to eat enough. In fact, you may find that you have more success if you eat enough that yes, keeps you in a calorie deficit, but is enough to keep you satisfied, too.
Protein & Fiber May Help Weight Management
Ka’Chava is basically a glorified protein powder with added fiber. We know that both protein and fiber can be helpful with weight loss and management. Multiple small studies and a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials support higher protein diets leading to greater fullness and satiety during weight loss. High protein diets may help prevent weight regain after loss, too. And fiber supports metabolic and overall health, including weight management. One randomized, controlled trial found that even something as simple as focusing on 30 grams of fiber a day may support weight loss.
But the accurate weight loss claims pretty much end there.
Faulty “Evidence” Behind Their Claims
Honestly, if Ka’Chava had just left it here, I would’ve been fine with it. But instead, they try to highlight a bunch of nutrients found in the supplement (like probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin D) that actually aren’t going to impact weight or fat loss.
There are two systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials that show the effects of probiotics on fat mass are insignificant and probiotics are not effective for reducing weight or BMI.
Omega-3s offer some health benefits – but none regarding weight loss/ fat mass in humans.
Then to make things even more frustrating, Ka’Chava tries to cite studies and sources to back up their claims, but most studies linked to were limited, small, inconclusive studies, or actually refuted Ka’Chava’s claims.
Case in point: the article Ka’Chava linked to with its claim that vitamin D helps weight loss actually states, “vitamin D3 supplementation during weight loss did not increase weight loss or associated factors compared with placebo.” (Which tracks – a 2019 review of RCTs concluded there is no clear evidence that vitamin D affects weight loss.)
These inaccurate claims and fake evidence are found in many of the claims on their website.
Like, will Ka’Chava improve your energy? I mean, sure it provides literal energy (calories) to fuel your body, but Ka’Chava is making these claims regarding other nutrients, too. (Like B-complex vitamins, iron, vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D.)
And here’s the thing: most of these nutrients aren’t going to directly translate into feeling more energized – unless you’re deficient. And even then, you probably won’t feel an immediate energy surge after drinking a Ka’Chava shake.
Case in point: if you’re anemic, eating a high-iron food won’t help you immediately feel energized. It will, however, slowly help over time as you replete your iron stores. (And Ka’Chava being plant-based means it contains non-heme iron, which is less bioavailable compared to heme iron from animal sources.)
Vitamin D & Energy?
Not to pick on vitamin D again, but studies on vitamin D’s improvements to energy and fatigue are done in populations that are vitamin D-deficient. If you are vitamin D deficient, you need higher supplementation – not Ka’Chava. Why?
Ka’Chava contains 5 mcg of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). In contrast, one study found benefits from vitamin D supplementation, but they used 2,500 mcg (converted from 100,000 IU) of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – five hundred times the amount found in Ka’Chava! (Also note that vitamin D3 is typically more potent and effective at raising vitamin D levels compared to vitamin D2, found in Ka’Chava).
Ka’Chava claims to keep you “physically and mentally energized,” — but then also says their shakes, “help you drift off to dreamland.”
So…which is it? This is anecdotal, but I personally don’t find myself drifting off to dreamland very easily when I’m feeling physically and mentally energized.
Gut health is super trendy right now, so any and every supplement is making digestion claims – including Ka’Chava.
Ka’Chava does contain some ingredients, like fiber, probiotics, and vitamin D, that may help support digestion.
Fiber is well known for its benefits to overall health, including your gut health. (Check out some of my related articles, like Does Fiber Make You Poop? and benefits listed in this High Fiber Foods Chart).
Probiotics can support digestion, but probiotics aren’t as simple as they seem. There are many, many different strains of probiotics (like, hundreds) and they don’t all do the same thing. In fact, some strains of probiotics may help something (i.e. IBS), whereas others will make it worse.
And while Ka’Chava does disclose the types of probiotics in their shake (lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus acidophilus), they don’t disclose how many CFUs (colony forming units) it contains – which is the medical standard (and another red flag about the lack of expertise involved in Ka’Chava).
Honestly, if you feel like you need a probiotic supplement, I wouldn’t turn to Ka’Chava. Instead, find out which probiotic strains are best for your unique health and concerns and talk to your doctor about an appropriate dose.
Mental Health Claims
Ka’Chava says that, “a poor diet can drive stress, anxiety, and a range of mental health issues that mess with mood and productivity,” and claims to “help boost mood, improve focus, and calm anxiety,” “restore your mindset to its peak,” and “may help improve psychological and cognitive health.”
Yes, there is some evidence that suggests healthy eating patterns may help with prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety. However, we need a lot more quality research (double-blind RCTs) to get a better understanding of this area of nutrition.
Also, as a healthcare professional, it’s imperative that clinical mental health disease isn’t diluted to “mindset.” Mindset work is a valid thing – but so is clinical mental health diagnoses, and they are not the same.
Even if you are trying to create a healthier mindset, as a dietitian who has worked with clients helping them with their mindsets…yeah, the answer is not a shake.
Other Health Benefit Claims
For brevity’s sake of this Ka’Chava review, I’ll stop analyzing individual claims here. But know that Ka’Chava markets many other claimed benefits (like improving muscular health, joints, bones, heart health, reducing stress, etc.) They even claim to improve your appearance by boosting your “glow factor from within.” Um…I’m not finding any clinical trials about that glow factor…
For the record, I appreciate that Ka’Chava does state, “there’s no magic bullet” when it comes to improving your health. But that doesn’t cancel out some potential concerns:
Additional Potential Concerns:
- Simon Malone, Ka’Chava’s creator, has no medical or nutrition background. He comes from a corporate background, left to “get into nature,” saw a business opportunity and created Ka’Chava.
- There is no mention anywhere of any medical, health, or nutrition experts as part of the Ka’Chava team. Or that any were consulted during the creation process, reviewing the supplement, etc.
- I’m also not seeing any mention of a board, period, let alone medical or nutrition experts on a board.
To note, I personally wouldn’t say any of these things individually are inherent deal-breakers. But if a company is going to make health claims, I think it would reflect more due diligence to see some health experts involved at some level.
Also of note:
- There are several outstanding complaints/ currently an F rating on the Tribal Nutrition, LLC Better Business Bureau page (Tribal Nutrition is the company that makes and sells Ka’Chava).
Potential Ingredient Concerns
- They include raw forms of some ingredients, like maca, likely because that’s often perceived as “healthier” by many folks. But raw maca is hard to digest raw. Most traditional cultures that use maca use a treated or cooked version, and clinical studies often use gelatinized versions.
- Ka’Chava has added a lot of vitamins and minerals to its shake, which is pretty unnecessary for most healthy folks.
Health Claims Potential Concerns
- Calories are way too low for this to be a viable meal replacement. And given how heavily this is marketed as such, I find this very misleading.
- Ka’Chava’s health claims are all over the place, even with some contradicting. They’re trying to be too much to too many people.
- Ka’Chava grabs at lots of incredibly weak or flat-out nonexistent evidence to “support” their claims.
Does Ka’Chava Work?
This is highly subjective, will depend on who you ask, and what problem they were expecting Ka’Chava to solve.
Does Ka’Chava work as a fiber-enriched protein powder? Sure, if that’s what you’re looking for. I think there may be more affordable per serving options out there, but I would say it meets this purpose.
Does it work as a meal replacement shake? No.
Does Ka’Chava work for weight loss? It depends. In theory, if you swap one meal for a 240 calorie shake, it may lead to a calorie deficit. And a calorie deficit is required for weight loss. But as a dietitian, I see many folks who are trying to eat too low calorie and “clean” end up hungry and unsatisfied by the end of the day or week. This often leads to excessive snacking and/ or binging, which often usually negatively affects weight loss efforts.
At the end of the day, it’s your overall eating pattern (and overall calorie deficit) that will lead to weight loss, not any one individual food.
The best way to find a Ka’Chava alternative is to look at what you’re specifically looking for. Do you want a plant-based protein powder? Greens powder? Fiber supplement? Are you really looking for a multi-vitamin? Probiotics?
Get specific with what you want and work with your healthcare team to create a targeted supplement plan for you.
And for the record, there are far more affordable and better quality pea protein supplements available over Ka’Chava. Fiber supplements, too. Not to mention that most folks would likely see a lot of similar benefits simply by focusing on adding more fruits and vegetables to their day, along with other basic forms of self-care.
Ka’Chava Review Final Thoughts – Is Ka’Chava Worth it?
It’s up to you to decide if Ka’Chava is worth it for you, your needs, and your budget. Will it cause harm? Not likely, for an average, healthy adult. Their nutrition stats are pretty good, and it does use pea protein (a complete plant-based protein).
And since revising this review for 2023, I do greatly appreciate that they now perform third party testing. But there are still some potential concerns that I unearthed in this Ka’Chava review.
Is it something that I, as a registered dietitian, am personally using or recommending? No – but that doesn’t mean it may not be a good solution for you.
Ultimately? There’s no universal right or wrong answer here – you do what works for you!
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