Deceptive Supplement Marketing Practices

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By JeffreyThurber

Supplement Scam Alert! Read here about supplement scams the food supplement industry does not want you to know about (because if you did, they’d go broke and you’d make some gains!).

Think about it for a minute: If all those nutritional supplements worked, then why don’t we all look like [insert hottest body on the planet right now – examples might be Dexter Jackson, Brad Pitt, or Megan Fox]?

Why don’t food supplements work? Here’s a key question in seeking out that answer: How could the supplement industry stay in business if they did?

Here’s the lowdown on the supplement scams the food companies run on you every time you open up a fitness-, health-, or muscle-building magazine.

Did you know that all the fitness-related magazines were either controlled, owned, or heavily influenced by the supplement industry? Look it up. Advertising is big business and there’s no bigger business in the health-related magazine industry than food supplements.

Muscle & Fitness sells nothing but supplement ads, many of which are promoting Joe Weider’s own supplement line. Here’s an excerpt from an ad in the July 2009 edition of Flex Magazine (another Weider publication):

New Super-Molecule is 2,000 Times More Potent Than Anything You’ve Ever Taken!

Is that hyperbole? Yes, absolutely. Does it sell? YES! ABSOLUTELY!!

You’re not in this game to get 5 -10 percent gains. You want 2,000 percent gains!

SUPPLEMENT SCAM #1: If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Choking down a pill or mixing up a powder is far easier than hitting the gym, running up stairs, and eating healthy food. That’s why people take supplements, for the most part. It’s for the magic elixir, the instant gratification.

Don’t get me wrong: Some supplements DO work. But they aren’t miracle workers. None of them will do what anabolic steroids do, either. Some claim to have “anabolic effect.” But so does steak and eggs, heavy weight training, and steroids.

The supplement companies have a vested interest in keeping you from reaching your peak. Think about it: If you “became” Ronnie Coleman by taking Supplement X, then, when you got there, wouldn’t you stop?

If a drug cured you of cancer, you surely would stop taking it once your cancer was in remission.

If you got to your goal weight of 330 pounds of rock-solid monster muscle, would you keep taking your weight-gain powder?

If you lost 100 pounds and looked the best you ever looked, would losing 120 pounds make you happier? You’d have to keep taking the supplement forever and, soon, you’d be dead, weighing a whopping 37 pounds!

So, supplements have to give the appearance of working, yet they simply cannot deliver on their promise, or else they’d go out of business. Hence, the supplement scams!

In the latest edition of Flex, page 38 had the first “editorial content.” Guess what was on the first 37 pages? Supplement advertisements. I’m not kidding.

SUPPLEMENT SCAM #2: If you have to “sell it” that strong, it’s probably too good to be true!

Here’s another trick the supplement industry uses to sell their “goods” (we should call them “bads” in this case): They take a bodybuilder, have him “bulk up” (i.e., get fat), then have him take their supplement while he works his arse off in the gym and eats like a concentration camp victim.

“Miraculously,” the dude trims down, loses 10 percent body fat and gains 10 pounds of muscle, all in “less than 28 days!”

What a crock! First, they took somebody who had already “been there,” and took him “back there.” That’s too easy. Give me ANY pro-caliber athlete and in 3 months’ time, I can have him looking like he used to look. It’s simple.

Arthur Jones did this 40 years ago with his Nautilus training machines. He took a young Casey Viator who had been in a car accident, after having been crowned the youngest Mr America ever, and “transformed” him using the Nautilus method (high intensity, single sets per body part, isolation exercises, training to failure, etc.).

Casey could start training today and get back to 80 percent of his best shape in 3 months!

SUPPLEMENT SCAM #3: Beware the “Before-After” photo scam.

The supplement guys also strategically place “testimonials” next to the “Before-After” photos (or outright lie about it) to imply that THOSE models gave the glowing review.

Also beware the “phony review,” where an internet marketer is selling supplements by giving an “objective review” of a product. Most likely, he’s getting paid for any sales of the product made through his page. It’s called “affiliate marketing” and the FCC is about to crack down on this practice.

Another thing you may not be aware of: Nutritional supplements are not regulated or tested by any government entity. Manufacturers can claim nearly anything. Further, they can put just about ANYTHING in their products!

Did you know that? Here’s a line for a product called “EPONOX.”

NEW EPO Blood Building Technology for Extreme Muscle Growth

Does that sound a little scary to you? It certainly does to me! Basically, if this stuff does what it says it does (which it probably doesn’t), you will be manipulating your body to build more red blood cells than it would naturally manufacture. Athletes call this “blood doping.” Lance Armstrong, 7-time Tour de France winner, was accused of blood doping through use of drugs that boosted EPO output.

(My take, by the way: He did use drugs, but only while in cancer treatment, but not while competing. I have no proof of this, other than the fact that he never failed a drug test while competing, and he was placed under far more scrutiny than any of his competitors.)

Not only are the proposed benefits of such blood-boosting dubious, they can be harmful! Imagine more blood coursing through your veins. Your blood pressure will rise, more stress will be placed on your heart pumping all that blood around. Remember, you cannot compress a fluid, so what happens is, if taken to extremes, your blood vessel walls get thinner. Not a good thing!

However, it’s highly doubtful that this supplement delivers on its “promise.” But if it did, I’d run away from this supplement. Nothing long-term-good can come of it.

Finally, a word on ephedrine. Lots of “fat burners” have used this chemical compound, or a derivative, for years. A handful of people have died while taking supplements containing ephedrine. The FDA finally pulled it off the shelves. It’s now a banned substance.

While I’m skeptical that the root cause of these deaths was due to ephedrine, I remain unconvinced that you cannot get similar results with — get this — HARD WORK.

I know, it’s tough to get all excited about working in the gym and eating well. But it remains the best long-term method for building the body you want. It works. And it won’t kill you.

Some of the stuff they put in food supplements is downright scary. Putting untested ingredients into a product is not only part of the supplement scam, but it ought to be a crime.

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