Over the past few weeks while working out I couldn’t help but notice all the brightly colored beverages in everyone’s water bottles. Even scrolling through social media I discovered friends promoting and even selling the latest fat loss, muscle gaining, appetite suppressing and anti-aging supplements on the market. Hell, if all I have to do is drink a “special” shake in the morning to lose weight I’m buying the company! I honestly don’t know why people haven’t caught on to all the weight loss scams. If there truly were a supplement to help people lose weight it would be headline news for weeks.
Do you ever wonder what is so special about a particular product? Have you flipped the package over and actually looked at the label? I digress to an earlier post regarding ingredients. My first (of many) issues with these products are the sweeteners used; saccharin, sucralose and aspartame. These sweeteners will disrupt your good gut bacteria. In a study last year conducted by Israeli scientists using mice, they concluded artificial sweeteners changed the population of “good” gut bacteria leading to metabolism changes. These metabolic changes enhanced the way our bodies pull calories from food leading to more fuel from food stored as fat. Yes, this study was performed using mice, however this is just one of hundreds of studies reporting similar findings.
My second (again of many) issues with these big named supplement products are the quality of ingredients. Are the vitamins and minerals contaminated with lead or arsenic? Do you even know what some of the ingredients do when mixed together? Mixing vitamin E and iron results in the destruction of the vitamin E, by the iron. L-carnitine should never be taken with yohimbe as they both cause elevated heart rate. Are you taking a calcium supplement? It shouldn’t be combined with zinc or magnesium as it will block the absorption of both! If you’re taking a prescription please consult a doctor or pharmacist before trying any supplement!
My third (I’ll stop at three), issue with most supplements and weight loss products is the targeting of specific populations. Everyone has specific individual needs, deficiencies, underlying health problems, lifestyles etc. How can one “fat loss” shake possibly help everyone? If you are unusually fatigued or are having brain-fog issues and are having problems losing weight this could an underlying medical issue. Again, there isn’t a magic shake or pill that will fix everyone’s health problems. On the opposite end, the “muscle building, make-your-workout-better” supplements are not formulated for the 210 lb guy AND the 130 lb girl trying to gain muscle and have killer workouts every day!
In conclusion, if you are taking or are considering supplements PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH. Google is fantastic at providing information. Check at least 3 up-to-date sources to get the most definitive information. But remember, don’t believe the manufacturer’s web-site for god’s sake. They aren’t going to tell you why you shouldn’t buy their product, only why you should….
Scientific America, Artificial Sweeteners May Change Our Gut Bacteria in Dangerous Ways, Ellen Ruppel Shell, Mar 2015.