Wacky Diets and The Supplement Industry

It shouldn’t be a secret that the supplement business is more about profit than real health.


I currently use one supplement – multivitamins.  Since I’m out of vitamins right now, I guess that means that I don’t use any supplements.  Sure, I use protein powder and protein/food bars which I do not consider to be supplements like fat burners, stimulants, hormones, energy supplements, brain food supplements, and most anything else that you can think of.

I consider protein powder and protein/food bars FOOD.

In the supplement business, profits are placed before health.  Everything after profits is potential BS – meaning any benefits that are touted should be questioned.  Some of these supplement business owners are so crooked that if they swallowed a nail they’d spit up a corkscrew.


– In the 30’s and 40’s the Cigarette brand Lucky Strike used the line “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet.” Smoking was thought to be an effective way to lose weight.  Now we know better.  The “science” was ahead of the general public’s wisdom.


– In the 50’s prayer was very popular for losing weight.  After losing 100 pounds, Reverend Charlie Shedd wrote the book “Pray Your Weight Away,” which was published in 1957. The best-seller set the trend for future titles such as “I Prayed Myself Slim” (1960), “Help Lord,The Devil Wants Me Fat!” (1978) and “The Weigh Down Diet” (1997), which advised readers not to confuse physical hunger for what was really spiritual hunger.

– In the 60’s support came to the forefront.  You had “Overeaters Anonymous” and in 1961, Jean Nidetch invited friends into her New York City home to talk about weight loss. Two years later, after losing 72 pounds, she launched “Weight Watchers”.

The Cabbage Soup Diet was published in a book during this time but we’ll save that conversation for another time.

– In the 70’s things began to get ugly with diet pills like Dexatrim.  The appetite suppressant contained the drug PPA (phenylpropanolamine), and in 2000, it too was pulled from the market.

1986 Dexatrim Ad

– The 80’s brought us the Medical Doctor approved Scarsdale Diet.  This was a two-week high-protein, low-carb and super-low-calorie diet (1,000 calories or fewer per day!). Author Herman Tarnower, M.D., claimed that by going on and off the diet every two weeks, followers could lose up to 20 pounds per week without any long-term deprivation of any vitamins or minerals.

News flash!  No one is going to stick to a starvation diet.

The 80’s also brought us the high carb low fat diet.

“There were two major reports that came out, identifying dietary fat as the single most important change that needed to be made in order to improve diet and health.”

“I even had colleagues who were telling the public that you can’t get fat eating carbohydrates.” Dr Walter Willett, M.D. Chair, Nutrition Dep’t., Harvard School of Public Health.

With more fat-free products than ever, Americans got fatter.  Remember the Snackwell phenomenon?  Less fat but more sugar.


– The 90’s did a 180 degree turn and gave us the Atkins Diet which is a low carb diet.  “People who had ballooned from all the carbs fell in love with Dr. Atkins.”
A low carb diet will result in temporary weight loss but the user will lack energy, walk around like a zombie (the brain is a carb hog) and in some cases the body
will break down muscle and turn the protein into energy since the user isn’t eating carbs.  The scientific term for this is Gluconeogenesis.

Gluconeogenesis is the synthesis of glucose from noncarbohydrate sources, such as amino acids which are the building blocks of protein and glycerol. It occurs primarily in the liver and kidneys whenever the supply of carbohydrates is insufficient to meet the body’s energy needs. Gluconeogenesis is stimulated by cortisol and other glucocorticoids and by the thyroid hormone thyroxine.

– In the 2000’s,  supplement companies would petition studies and then throw out the studies that showed negative remarks or lack of results and just focus on the one sentence that “may” help the supplement user.  This then became “clinically proven” when in actually it was not.  The fitness magazines were filled with these advertisements for supplements.

Fast forward to today and due to social media we are bombarded by “celebrity” endorsed diets and supplements.

Here’s how that works:

Diet creators and supplement companies go on instagram and find fitness types who have 10’s of thousands of followers.  The more followers the better.  Keep in mind that you can buy followers dirt cheap through tons of different shady online companies.


The diet and supplement companies then approach that “celebrity” person and put together a deal for a mutually beneficial relationship.  We’ll give you (fill in the blank) if you’ll talk up our supplements.  When you see your favorite celebrity or athlete using their favorite supplement remember, you don’t need a supplement.

The underlying message is that if they are using it, I should use it.

Far from true.

Part of the problem is that “science” is discovering new supplements faster than we, the general public can gather wisdom about these supplements.  The supplement industry is still operating like the wild west with no rules and no boundaries for the most part.  Just keep in mind that whenever you’re reading about the latest supplement that’s supposed to do (fill in the blank), you’re not getting the full story.

I’d like to think that when we look back to the next decade that we’ll realize that there’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle.  I predict you’ll see more and more government involvement in the supplement business such as this action in which the government filed criminal charges against a very popular supplement company (story here).

Focus on digestion and how you FEEL after a meal.  If you feel energetic, you’re on the right track. If you feel tired, are yawning and feel like you’ve been chewed up, spit out and stepped on review what you ate and understand that digestion requires lots of energy.  Energy that could be sapping your strength and motivation.

The best supplements are sleep, motivation/mindset, good nutrition and exercise.  The best thing for the health and fitness industry in the last 80 years is community programs like Overeater’s Anonymous and Weight Watchers which focus on community and support.  Am I against supplement stores?  No, I think that they offer a lot of value in their protein bars, food bars, protein powders, smoothies, and multivitamins. I wish they would band together and begin to work together, using their network of locations to educate and emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle instead of focusing on shelves of questionable supplements.



Austin’s Fittest Man Over 50 2015

Supplement Free

No bloating!  None! I love your (nutrition) program!
Holly L. / Austin
Client since July 2015






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