The Feel Great System has been getting a lot of buzz lately, so we decided to take a closer look at it. In this blog post, I’ll discuss what the Feel Great System is all about, and I’ll give my honest opinion on whether or not it’s a good fit for people who are trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
First time here? Welcome! I’m Colleen, Registered Dietitian, and Intuitive Eating Dietitian. I help people just like you banish diets forever in favor of real, lasting health. Many of my SociEATy members have been chronic dieters for years…they love to see my reviews of popular diets to see what the pros and cons are.
In today’s post, we go through the ins and outs of The Feel Great System and give my review from an Intuitive Eating perspective.
Let’s dive in!
What Is The Feel Great System?
To put it simply, the Feel Great System is a riff on intermittent fasting with the addition of two supplement products designed to “help you reach your goals” (more on that in a minute).
Which goals, you ask? Could be just about anything, actually.
From the website for The Feel Great System;
“Feel Great is an evidence-based system with two scientifically designed food-based products that work synergistically to control hunger and cravings, improve energy, mood, and support healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. Of course, if you have weight to lose – that falls as a side effect.”
So, who is this founder, are things really evidence-based…and do I recommend this? Let’s dive in!
Who Is Rav Malik?
Who is this guy? Not a trained nutrition expert, actually.
Eating, nutrition, and wellness are complicated. And with a zillion different opinions, evolving research, and our own unique health history and personal preferences, it can feel overwhelming to know what TF to eat.
Getting curious about what patterns of eating help you to feel good physically and emotionally can take some trial and error. And I LOVE it when people take the time to learn what helps them to find the pattern that best suits their life and goals.
But this experimentation does not an expert – for others – make. Just because you eat food doesn’t mean you’re an expert and can tell others how to eat.
I have a degree in nutrition and am a registered dietitian. It is pretty common for folks to think that they’re equipped to tell others how to eat without any formal training to do so. Let me just say: I don’t love this trend.
It would be kind of like if I started giving you veterinarian advice about your pet just because I have my own amazing furry friend, the one, the only, Theo.
Sound bananas to you? Me too.
You shouldn’t take advice from non-experts, be it nutrition, mechanical or veterinary.
So…back to The Feel Great System. What does the founder recommend?
What are the guidelines?
So, what are the guidelines for TFGS? They’re pretty simple actually.
Basically, they advocate for a shortened eating window, aka, intermittent fasting. Plus, it is recommended that you eat two food supplements, one upon waking, and the other before each of your two meals.
I give my full overview of Intermittent Fasting right here: Intermittent Fasting: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risk? But briefly, Intermittent fasting doesn’t typically make any restrictions on the type of foods you can eat (love!) but there are rules about when you can eat (don’t love). Your stomach doesn’t clock in and out.
In addition to the fasting window, The Feel Great System recommends that you eat two food supplements; they’re called Balance and Unimate.
Balance is one of the two supplement products recommended for The Feel Great System. Balance is a vitamin-boosted fiber supplement that is intended to help people to meet their daily fiber recommendations, and in turn, enjoy the many health benefits of fiber.
Each packet has 3 grams of fiber, plus a few vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, chromium, and others.
What is missing? Any scientific studies to back up their claims. There are no scientific citations directly related to their products anywhere on the FGS website or product guides, even though they talk a lot about believing in science – eye roll – if you believe in science, show me your citation, please, and thank you.
However, if you look in just the right spot on the parent company that makes the two products, there are some research studies cited – more on those in a sec.
Here is my two cents: most adults in the US are not getting enough fiber. Having more fiber is a great idea (just don’t go overboard – it is possible to overdo it with fiber). If you like the taste of this product, and you’re using it as a gentle nutrition tool (vs. a tool to lose weight), then go for it. But, you don’t need this product to nourish your body – there are a lot of ways to get fiber throughout your day.
Unimate is the second product that is recommended for TFGS.
This is a product that is made from concentrated yerba mate, a kind of herbal tea that is common in South America. Like all plants, yerba mate has nutrition compounds called phytochemicals. Lycopene from tomatoes and beta-carotene from carrots are two phytochemicals you’ve probably already heard of.
In Unimate, there are a few phytochemicals that are specific to the yerba mate plant: chlorogenic acids, theobromine, and mate saponins. Having a wide variety of plant foods helps to reduce inflammation in our body – that is a good thing! You just don’t have to have an expensive tea if you don’t like the taste or the cost. (P.S. I have an Intuitive Eating Food list for you to download if you’d like to see my favorite foods and drinks).
Beyond the yerba mate, the Unimate drink also contains stevia, erythritol and Splenda, an artificial sweetener. I don’t have strong feelings about artificial sweeteners – if you like the taste, they don’t upset your tummy, and it’s not a food rule – enjoy! If they’re not your thing; skip them.
How do you know if you have a preference for not consuming sugar in the name of “eating healthy” VS a harmful food rule that needs to be broken? Take this 60 second quiz to find out!
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on where you live (for shipping cost, I imagine) and if you buy the products on a one-time basis vs. a subscription.
For folks in the US, for a one-month supply of the two different products (Balance twice per day and Unimate daily), you’re looking at just over $150. That is a lot of money each month for fiber, some vitamins, minerals, and a dose of caffeine, in my midwest budget-lovin’ opinion.
Does TFGS work?
Maybe? Since you can use the TFGS system to achieve just about any goal (at least according to the website), it is hard to tell if it actually works.
On the website for The Feel Great System, Rav Malik offers zero research to support its claims, other than the personal experience of the founder and some reviews by people who have tried it. Personal reviews do not make for good, reputable scientific claims.
However, if you dig around on the Udine website, the company that makes the two products that The Feel Great System recommends, there are actually some studies to read through. Whew.
Unicity Balance (the fiber supplement) may help to improve some of your lab values, including total cholesterol, and slow the rise in blood sugar with carb-rich foods. These are great, but you also don’t need to eat this product in particular to achieve these results.
For example, beans, veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruits are all fiber-rich foods that help to improve satiety, promote those regular #2s, and lower your risk of disease by improving your cholesterol and blood pressure.
So, is this a tool that helps you to achieve your gentle nutrition goals in a non-diet-y way? Go for it. Are you interested in this product for weight loss or because you feel like you should? Might want to take a second look at your why for taking this product.
Similarly, there are some benefits of the Unimate drink; a moderate mood boost after drinking and a modest decrease in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar.
But, just like with the Balance supplement, the Unimate drink is not the only way to boost your mood or improve lab values. There are many ways to personalize your nutrition plan to suit your taste buds, budget, and health. That is the beauty of Intuitive Eating – you discover what actually works for you.
Concerns with TFGS
While fiber is a great thing, this feel-great system has some issues. Let’s chat.
Can we talk?
Your relationship with your food is worth cultivating.
And a “nutrition” plan that has no lessons on what gentle nutrition is and how (and when) to incorporate the principles is missing out. As an intuitive eater, you learn how to pick foods that keep you full longer AND eat the lower nutritional value more soul-nourishing foods in a way that feels good without guilt.
There are no products that can override emotional eating, understanding hunger and fullness cues, or a foundation of basic nutrition. A diet is not going to make any of that better – it is like trying to build a house without a foundation – it will all come crashing down eventually.
Need to take forever
The Feel Good System is intended to be taken forever…that’s a long time. In one of the videos on the site, Rav Malik explains that taking the product for a month or two is kind of like brushing your teeth for a month or two and expecting your teeth to stay clean for the rest of the year.
I’ll agree that your overall wellness is the sum of what you do most of the time. But I’ll disagree that you need a special product or supplement to achieve your best wellness. This isn’t teaching you anything. I mean, what if you go on vacation and forget to pack your supplements? What if your shipment is delayed? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just know how to eat in a way that makes your body and brain feel good…without having to buy something? That is exactly what I teach members of The SociEATy, BTW.
Weight is not a direct measure of health
In one of the videos on the site, the founder mentions that he was a “chubby” kid. Even though diet culture lies and says that anyone overweight is unhealthy (and anyone in a thin body is healthy – both not true), you can’t actually tell how healthy a person is by their weight.
The potential to gain weight is a really common concern for folks considering Intuitive Eating. So much so, that I made a whole guide to walk you through the science of Intuitive Eating and what it actually means to be healthy – check it out here.
And you know what else? Weight cycling, your weight going up and down as you try a restrictive diet and then let it go – is harmful to your metabolic health.
We need consistent fuel
The Feel Good System recommends fasting. I don’t. Food is to humans as gasoline is to a car. Without breakfast, you’re gonna peter out.
You’re going to want to give your body consistent, adequate energy. The 80 grams of carbohydrates (our body’s preferred energy source) that we have stored in the liver in the form of glycogen to readily use for energy lasts a few hours.
Without consistent fuel, our body can turn to other fuel sources, including ketones, which is not optimal. Our bodies, especially our brains, prefer carbs. The key to this is to feed our body frequently enough to prevent us from getting too hungry, which leads us to over-eating and then the pendulum swinging back and forth between the two.
If this sounds like you, be sure to check out this post: The Truth About Extreme Hunger.
If you think you might struggle with remembering to eat consistently, such as if your body isn’t giving you hunger cues to follow right now, you’re overscheduled, or you’re just not used to it you can try setting a reminder on your phone to check in and see if you’d like to offer your body some food.
Willpower is not a thing
Willpower – your efforts to white knuckle your way through restriction – isn’t a good thing. And diet culture making you feel like a failure for not sticking it out is BS. Willpower is like those Chinese finger traps. The more you resist the more you feel it.
With Intuitive Eating – and full permission to eat whatever you want, whenever you want – you don’t even think about willpower anymore.
Nutrition is a real thing
There are a lot of myths about Intuitive Eating, starting with “it is just the ‘eat all the doughnuts’ diet.” Not so fast: I am a dietitian, after all. I love vitamins, minerals, and fiber, I just don’t love rules or restrictions.
With the Feel Great System, there is no nutrition education. Telling people they don’t need to change their diet or that what they eat doesn’t matter is the silliest thing. That isn’t teaching anyone anything.
While the videos include a walk-through of their manufacturing process, there is no mention of 3rd party verification of quality. This is a big ole red flag for me! Supplements are not well regulated in the US and 3rd party verification is how you have confidence in what you’re buying.
Pros of The Feel Good System
While there are more cons than pros, I am a mega fan of fiber. Most of us are not getting enough for a myriad of reasons, including not knowing how to prepare fruits and veggies in a way that is satisfying.
A few of my own favorite recipes that are full of fruits and veggies in a yummy, non-diet-y way are:
And as for “improving metabolic health” as the system claims, we can do better.
Better ways to improve metabolic health
This is probably not going to come as a surprise, but I recommend Intuitive Eating. While it may sound a bit fluffy, or not all that scientific if you’re new to this area of health, it is actually well-researched. The studies show excellent benefits for intuitive eaters. A few examples:
- Intuitive Eaters have better self-esteem, fewer concerns about their weight and body shape, and are eating more fruits and veggies.
- Intuitive Eaters are at lower risk of disordered eating, shame, guilt, and binge eating.
- Intuitive Eaters are more likely to enjoy exercise and do so regularly than to plow through exercise because they “should”.
While I am a big fan of fiber and phytochemicals, the Feel Great System is basically a food rule.
We don’t need that. We all deserve food freedom.
We need to learn how to nourish our mind, body, and spirit, without an expensive system. Our society is diet-culture heavy; lots of rules, restrictions, and shame.
I invite you to break free from diet culture and launch your freedom journey, without getting stuck in the most common places. My 5 Step Guide shows you exactly how to get started, build confidence, and say sayonara to diets forever AND live your happiest, healthiest life. Not only am I spillin’ the tea on the 5 unskippable steps you need to take to a non-diet, sustainable lifestyle but I’m also going to fill you in on the 5 most common missteps so you can be sure to avoid them (or get yourself as far away from them as you can if you’re already doin’ em!).
The SociEATy is your Anti-Diet safety net! Diet culture is appealing because of the community, structure, and goals. So it MAKES SENSE that it’s hard to leave behind. I created the SociEATy—the community that actually EATs!—with all the GOOD things dieting has to offer baked in. So you don’t have to free-fall into this new way of life!