This time of year, the two main types of supplements I see promoted are weight loss products and cleanse kits. Not surprisingly, these are also the two types of products I get the most queries about. Both of these product types tend to come with health claims, endorsements by doctors, models and “satisfied” customers, and totally “unretouched” but so obviously “touched” before and after pictures that will make your head spin. And of course, no product would be complete without a hefty price tag. The truth is, most of these products simply don't work, and here are a few tips on how not to get taken in.
1. Always read the label, front and back. Just like food, with supplements, the front is marketing and the back is (generally) the stuff you legally have to be told. It's where you'll find actual ingredients and dosages, so you know what you're buying.
2. Beware of products that contain “proprietary blends,” particularly of things you haven't heard of. This is a hard one, because most herbs are listed by their Latin names, so you have to do your research. Proprietary blend sounds exclusive and using this term is often necessary to protect patents or trademarks, however, it also prevents you from knowing exactly what is in your product. Of all the supplements on the market, I doubt I could think of five I would actually recommend that carry this notation.
3. An outrageous price tag. Cost does not always equal quality. If it seems over-priced or is being offered at a ridiculous, infomercial-style discount, stay way.
4. A cure-all. While cleanses often help you to lose weight and weight loss supplements may be cleansing, if a product is going to heal your gut, clear your mind, eliminate your arthritis, make your muscles bigger and whiten your teeth, stay away. With proper cleansing and or weight loss protocols, health is often improved. However choosing the appropriate plan often requires professional guidance and results are rarely (never) achieved from a "miracle product."
5. Claims of effortless fat lost, mass gain or cellulite reduction. While some fat burners and weight loss supplements do have modest efficacy, they require effort to be truly effective. You can't out supplement a bad diet or inactivity – believe me, I've tried.
You may also be interested in 3 reasons why your supplement regime is not working.