From the Aug. 22, 2007 edition of The Lancaster News
Do your homework before
investing in “miracle pills”
Before any great boxer attains victory in the ring, he has a strategy to help him set up and execute a knockout punch to perfection.
He does his homework.
That same rule should apply to the use of diet supplements.
I can be passive and recommend that people shouldn’t take diet pills or even say that my clients just work out hard and eat well.
All of that would be politically correct, but the reality is that diet pills and supplements have become a billion dollar industry.
You do not get those kind of sales figures by being politically correct.
Americans are desperate to lose weight whether it is 5 pounds of fat or 25 pounds of lean muscle.
As long as those numbers drop when you step on the scales, it is defined as weight loss.
However, that’s not necessarily true.
Muscle versus body fat
Yes, some people will lose weight on some of these miracle pills only to find themselves at ground zero a year later. In some cases, they have actually gained back more weight than they lost, which is negative ground zero.
Why? Because these so-called supplements rob their bodies of proper nutrition.
That’s right – most of these miracle pills target receptors in your brain that suppress your appetite.
The person who uses weight loss pills becomes content by the results. After all, to the human eye, they appear to be losing weight. The number on the scale drops and their clothes get looser.
They will look and feel great, thinking they’ve lost 5 pounds of fat.
However, the reality is that, more than likely, they’ve lost 5 pounds of lean muscle.
And if the 5 pounds was lost in a rapid fashion, they aren’t eating the proper serving amounts of some necessary foods for proper nutrition.
Remember, muscle cells and brain cells need adequate nutrition to function at peak performance.
Muscle is a vital part of maintaining optimal health and helps prevent diseases like osteoporosis in women.
Muscle also helps support the function of a high metabolism.
When you develop a higher metabolism, your body burns calories more efficiently.
Good body fat aids in the absorption of vitamins; many vitamins can only be absorbed in the presence of certain fats.
Excessive body fat, on the other hand, is not good.
The key word here is excessive. This excessive, or storage form of fat does absolutely nothing for your body. It can also cause unnecessary stress to your joints, creating discomfort and certain types of arthritis. In fact, studies have proven that excessive body fat can cause disease and hamper other preventable illnesses.
I still remember my first research paper for Dr. Bill Riner’s exercise science and physiology class at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
It was really different from any other paper I had written before. Riner only gives credit for research referenced by creditable journals like the American College of Cardiology, American College of Exercise Physiology, and American College of Sports and Medicine, among others.
You can log onto the World Wide Web and find just about anything you want on a diet supplement.
But is it credible source? Probably not. I can guarantee you that these questions can be answered if they are published in a creditable journal.
Do your homework
To find out the validity of a miracle pill, ask the manufacturer these questions:
- Ask the manufacturer’s representative for a copy of, or reference to, the research which can substantiate the claims it makes.
- Ask what professional journal has the research been published in.
- Ask them what professional organization the research was presented to.
You may be shocked by their answers, but if this miracle pill is what it claims to be, the manufacturer should have little problem in answering these questions.
I can assure you if all dieting Americans followed these three simple steps, they will have the strategy and know how to execute a knock-out punch.
But, the truth is that probably 99.9 percent of the companies in the miracle pill business can’t answer a single one. Unfortunately, we are preyed upon by false advertisers. Manufacturers simply target the American market since we have the most overweight population in the world.
Do not be a victim
You don’t have to be a doctor or scientist to ask the right questions. You only need to ask the right questions to assure you are given the right answer so you won’t be taken advantage of.
If this miracle pill is the real deal, some of the methods use to test it are third party, double blind and randomized blood testing.
It’s also important for you to understand how they evaluate their research. Was it tested on laboratory animals or humans?
What works on a rat or mice may not have the same effect on us.
Before choosing or if you have already chosen a diet supplement, do your homework.
Find out if the claims it makes are based on personal testimonials or true clinical studies which are published in peer-reviewed journals.
You may save yourself lots of money, discouragement and disappointment in this so-called miracle pill.
– Fitness expert and bodybuilder Kennett Washington is president of Healing Strength Personal Training.