Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nutrition Quackery

This is a portion of an article that appeared in the USAT "Multisport Zone" (a weekly newsletter) on October 7, 2009. It's by Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, a sport dietitian and elite triathlon coach. I like the below checklist to use to help decide if a supplement is really worth buying:

The following is a 12-step checklist to help you decide if a product is truly worth buying. If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you should be skeptical of such supplements and investigate their value before investing any money.

  1. Does the product promise quick improvement in health or physical performance?
  2. Does it contain some secret ingredient or formula?
  3. Is it advertised mainly by use of anecdotes, case histories or testimonials?
  4. Are currently popular personalities or star athletes featured in its advertisements?
  5. Does it take a simple truth about a nutrient and exaggerate that truth in terms of health or physical performance?
  6. Does it question the integrity of the scientific or medical establishment?
  7. Is it advertised in a health or sports magazine whose publishers also sell nutritional aids?
  8. Does the person who recommends it also sell the product?
  9. Does it use the results of a single study or dated and poorly controlled research to support its claims?
  10. Is it expensive, especially when compared to the cost of equivalent nutrients that may be obtained from ordinary foods?
  11. Is it a recent discovery not available from any other source?
  12. And finally, are the claims too good to be true or does it promise the impossible?

Take into consideration these questions the next time you are looking for that nutritional edge to enhance your performance or health. Not all ergogenic aids/nutritional supplements are useless, but a good majority of them are. There may be some products out there that may help you become a better athlete but do your research first to make sure the product is safe and that it actually holds true to the claims it is making.

You can read the entire article here.

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