Monday, September 29, 2008

The straight dope on miracle supplements

The straight dope on miracle supplements

Fitness Answer Man


There probably isn't a week that goes by that you don't hear about a new "miracle" weight-loss pill. You know: The one that promises to produce the new slim you in 30 days.
Or you take a look at the latest issue of your favorite muscle magazine, and you see one of the ads for the supplement that guarantees to work better than steroids.

The supplement companies make a lot of promises, but, in my opinion, they can't deliver.

One of the most outrageous claims I've seen from the supplement industry is from one popular diet pill. The ad I saw stated that this product would deliver fat loss "6x faster than diet and exercise alone."

Wow. The American College of Sports Medicine has determined that safe weight loss happens at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week. So a 250-pound man after a year of using "miracle supplement X" can expect to weigh approximately, let's see, negative 374 pounds by this company's numbers. Shenanigans!

Another silly company claims their new bodybuilding product will "literally turn on your genes to maximize your maximum muscle potential." Will it also give me superpowers? Because, if so, I'm in.

Last I heard, science is still a loooooong ways away from genetic manipulation for bodybuilding. In fact, a statement on the National Institute of Health Web site says: "Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. In the future, this technique may allow doctors to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient's cells instead of using drugs or surgery."

Kudos to the supplement companies for making scientific history.

Listen. Most the supplements on the shelves should just stay there. The reason most people aren't in their best shape isn't because they aren't using the right supplements. They aren't in their best shape because they aren't doing the right things day in and day out.

Ninety-seven percent of your fitness success hinges on your adherence to a solid training program and a sound eating plan. Depending on supplements is only going to give you expensive urine. And that's the straight dope.

Chad Smith is a local fitness expert and certified personal trainer. E-mail letters to Chad at and put "Dear Fitness Answer Man" in the subject line.

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