By Amanda Box
A new industry has risen out of the ashes of our obesity problems. It is an industry that makes giant promises with miraculous results. They shout, “Drink our shake! Take this pill! Watch your fat melt away!” But, this weight loss industry is nothing but a band-aid for a giant wound.
True sustainable weight loss takes a lifestyle change, not another diet. We must learn to adopt nutrition and portion control, not meal replacement shakes and pills.
It is quite easy to sniff out a weight loss fad. They can seem very attractive, but they cannot offer lifelong results. Here are some things you want to look out for:
- Over exaggerated promises of dramatic weight loss in a very short amount of time.
- Pills that contain stimulants that are called fat burners. Ephedra and caffeine are common stimulants. These pills can be dangerous.
- Plans that have you go a period of time without eating. Some request you replace a meal twice a day with their shake. Others require you consume only their drink for several days and consume no other foods.
I believe there is a skewed view of what it truly takes to overcome obesity. Prescription medication for lifestyle disease has failed to bend the obesity and disease curve. It takes hard work, determination, and a willingness to fight. Sadly, society doesn’t seem to value these things anymore.
Just as Americans like their “fast food,” they also like “fast results.” We have become a culture of instant gratification.
- If we want warm food, then we microwave it and it’s ready in just a minute.
- If we want to buy something and don’t have the money, then we charge it to a credit card.
I believe this has had a crippling effect on people. It has created a society looking for the easy way out. People give up when something takes time and hard work. It’s as if no one has heard the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait.”
Many companies have taken advantage of the fact that we are an instant results culture. Websites, multi-level marketing companies, magazines, and even health food stores promote the newest weight loss products. This has always been an area of the natural health industry that has made me very uncomfortable. I cannot promote something that isn’t going to work. And even if it did help someone lose a couple pounds, they are not making a true lifestyle change towards whole body nutrition. My personal hope is that together we can create a conversation about a real, practical solution for the prevention, treatment and reversal of our obesity epidemic.
The Weight Loss Pill Scam
In a world where quick-fix diet schemes abound, you’d be wise to look at any magic pill with a healthy dose of skepticism. No pill on the market is going to give you dramatic weight loss results. Yes, there are carb blockers, fat burners, and diuretics you can safely take. But the results are minimal, if you have any results – at all! And most of those bottles say on the label that best results are seen only in cooperation with a healthy and reduced calorie diet.
Fat burning pills have become all the rage in the last 15 years. However, these stimulants can be very dangerous! Many states have even outlawed stimulants like ephedra from even being sold! Other diet pills contain strong laxatives. These laxatives can create dependency and cause nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
No pill alone is going to safely change your waistline. Eating whatever you want while losing weight is just not reality.
Mounting evidence proves that the solution to lifestyle and diet-driven obesity-related illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer, won’t be found at the bottom of a prescription bottle. You must change your eating habits to lose weight and keep it off!
Meal Replacement Rip-offs
I cannot even count the number of times I have been approached about the newest “nutrition shake.” Marketing giants have recently begun to switch the words “weight loss” with “nutrition” in order to boost sales of their meal replacement drinks.
Though this is brilliant marketing ploy, the basis of the shakes has stayed the same. They are still extremely calorie restrictive, filled with chemical sweeteners and artificial ingredients. Using the word “nutrition,” leads customers to believe that those shakes are good for them. This could not be any further from the truth!
Those who promote these shakes promise false realities, such as:
- “You can get everything you need, plus your daily vitamins and minerals in just one delicious glass!”
- “It is so easy to lose weight and you’ll have so much energy from all the nutrition you’re getting!”
- “Just two shakes a day instead of two of your largest meals and you’ll be healthier than ever!”
These types of endorsements make me shudder. It’s as if they are saying that their shake not only tastes better, but also is better for you than a plate full of fresh vegetables. Using a nutrition shake to replace real, vitamin rich foods is not an even trade!
My biggest problem with meal replacement shakes isn’t even the advertising! It is the ingredient list! Many of these companies use the cheapest raw materials possible to make the base of their shakes. Then they add synthetically made vitamins and minerals to add “nutrition.” Each time I am approached with the latest and greatest nutrition shake, I read the ingredients and I am always terribly disappointed.
When I look through ingredients on a label, I have several “red flag” ingredients I look for. The majority of meal replacement products contain a slew of ingredients that are unpronounceable and definitely don’t sound like food. If your food ingredients are created in a lab somewhere, you can bet there’s a study out there discussing the potential health risks.
The most common ingredients in meal replacement shakes that raise my “red flag” are:
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