A world brimming with high speed internet, skippable commercials, instantaneous communication, and heavy time crunches of school and work means with no wonder that when it comes to losing weight or getting healthy people are looking for fast and instant results. Hence the birth of Herbalife, Shakeology, Isagenix, and many, many others. The goal of these programs is to help people experience results instantly and feel good in the process. Whether they are shedding pounds or simply adding health to their routine, people are becoming more and more reliant on these products. But is it possible that the results these products create are just too good to be true? These products contain vitamins, minerals, and many other essential nutrients the human body needs to function.
It is proven that they increase metabolism and help a body lose weight faster when combined with a committable work out program. They also do not have GMO’s and come in a variety of vegan and non-vegan options.What they don’t tell people is that the FDA does not have a finger hold in the products they produce. This means that the ingredients, the labels, and the very nature of the product can be altered or slightly different than what it claims. Francesca Mura, a nutritional counselor with her Bachelors in nutrition, said “You have to be very careful about supplements or products because the market can tell you anything to sell it and [these products] can lead to very bad side effects.”
Mara urged vigilance.
“Be very conscious about where the products are coming from and what is going into them,”
Mislabeling the ingredients and the amounts is passable in the supplement industry. Luckily places like Sprouts and Whole Foods Market are working to pick up the slack by setting high standards for what they allow to be sold in their stores regarding supplements and vitamins. Mara talks about some of the side effects she has seen from people who have relied too heavily on meal replacements. “People rely on the shakes and think they are getting all the nutrients and vitamins they need. They don’t actually eat real food.,” Despite the ease of shakes, they are not enough to sustain a healthy diet. “Because of the lack of actual food nutrition] the body doesn’t receive all the nutrients it needs and it will start deciding what isn’t essential.”said Mara.
“ It can begin getting rid of your hair and nails and you start to see the deficiency.” she said. The body begins to invest its energy into the organs and other functions that need its focus in order to survive. Sam Henning, a student at MCC, said that she would definitely consider a meal replacement if it tasted great and was within her budget. Before getting started on any meal replacement products, a person should have a full blood panel done to see what foods they are potentially allergic or intolerant to, like dairy or wheat. Healthy and organic foods are recommended, but given the fact that majority of college students are on a budget and on a time crunch, eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and various proteins when available are recommended to prevent deficiencies while on these products.