As someone who has helped hundreds of people lose weight, I like to think I know a little something about what it takes to get the job done. Frankly, I’ve got hundreds of success stories to back that up. Yet, as I’ve written about before, there’s always someone out there who wants to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Often times, self-described nutrition experts confront me, immediately before they pitch the next, best product in dietary supplements. Recently, I was at an expo where such an expert attempted to educate me on her product, and insisted it was THE product to help my clients lose weight. Out of curiosity, I decided to keep quiet and see what she had to say.
After serving a sample of her “amazing weight loss product” she shared how the ingredients in its proprietary formula were proven to aid in weight loss. She went on to list a few celebrities, including a famous NFL quarterback. And, she guaranteed it would get rid of the “stuff” that remains in the colon that makes people fat and bloated. She proceeded to back these claims with evidence of extensive research on the depletion of nutrients in our soil and how “you cannot possibly get enough nutrients from food.”
Up to this point, I had mostly nodded my head and listened, but I really couldn’t hold back any longer. So, I asked her a few questions.
“Are you saying that my clients would be better off nutritionally from using your products then actually eating real food?” I asked.
ABSOLUTLEY! Studies show that we need to take nutritional supplements like these. Not to mention they get a boost of energy from it. (Red Flag #1)
I explained how many of my clients struggle with blood sugar and are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. She replied that there was nothing to worry about because her products were sugar free and safe for diabetics. (Red Flag #2)
Finally, I started asking her a few basic nutrition questions that anyone claiming to be an “expert” would be able to answer, such as, What is the macro breakdown of your product?
“I don’t know what a macro is, but I know our product is proven to help improve your nutrition and to help you lose weight.” (BIG BIG Red Flag #3)
Now, at this point, I’m loaded for bear. Sadly, for this very nice, young lady, that wasn’t a good thing.
I asked her if she had a box of her product so I could look at the nutrition label. She dutifully brought me one. I then pointed out the first ingredient on the label, maltodextrin. I asked if she knew what that was. She didn’t. I did.
Maltodextrin is a food additive mostly used as a thickener, or filler, in processed foods. Essentially food manufacturers use it to increase the volume of the product. It is cheap and easy to produce, so from a cost perspective, you can see why these food processors use it as the main ingredient.
Maltodextrin is FDA approved, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. If you need to pay attention to your sugar content, you should be especially concerned. You see, to the body, maltodextrin acts very much like sugar. The glycemic index of maltodextrin is actually higher than table sugar. When consumed, it will raise blood sugar levels within your body, very quickly. Not something good for someone who has diabetes or is prone to insulin resistance.
Furthermore, there are some studies that show that maltodextrin can have an adverse affect on your digestive system. Specifically, it can change the bacteria in your gut, making you more susceptible to disease. One study found that it can increase the growth of bacteria associated with autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease.
I went back to answer my initial question on macros. The nutrition chart of the product she provided me showed 45 calories per serving, and 11 grams of carbohydrates. Each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories, which means for this product, 44 of the 45 calories (or 97.77 percent) came exclusively from the maltodextrin. As a supplement pitched to be consumed two to three times a day, I would not recommend it to anyone, especially someone concerned with his or her sugar intake.
At this point, the salesperson had a puzzled look on her face. I continued on to debate the claim that her product was better than consuming actual food.
When asked about GMOs, she admitted to avoiding them in her everyday diet because, “they aren’t good.” However, as I continued, she was unaware that her product contained synthetic vitamins. The supplement she was pushing was made predominately in a lab. As are GMOs.
“Then why would you say something that is made in a lab is better than something found in nature?”
Dan Romand is co-owner and operator of Full Circle Fitness-NY in Colonie (and soon to be Saratoga Springs) where he is also a certified personal trainer. You can read his health and fitness column each week in TheSpot518 or online at www.thespot518.com.