In this article we will take a look at some of the common deceptions in the sports supplement industry, the ways companies often cut corners just to make a quick buck, how labels are misleading, and how to decipher a quality product from a bunk one.
The Sad Truth About the Supplement Industry
Most companies that produce supplements are simply in it for the money. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of the consumer’s health and hard-earned money. Not only do many supplement companies blatantly lie on their labels about what is in their product, they often include ingredients that have little-to-no scientific validity about their efficacy.
Think about it this way, would you trust your doctor if he prescribed you a drug that hasn’t even been put through FDA trials or been confirmed to treat the condition it claims to?
You should never be ingesting a product that contains bunk ingredients; it’s analogous to flushing money down the toilet (except this is worse for your health). Don’t fall prey to quackery, like products that claim to add 20lbs to your bench press after just one dose. That is completely bogus.
Most all supplements that are efficacious and scientifically-proven will need to be used consistently to notice much of the desired benefits. Hype is not real; science is.
How Many Companies Cut Corners
Proprietary Blends at their finest
Much to the chagrin of many supplement consumers, companies often sacrifice quality just to make products sound elaborate and flashy. For example, a common scheme you may notice is when a company “label dresses” a product by using inferior forms of common ingredients (like creatine ethyl ester) and/or load it up with negligible amounts of other compounds. To the untrained eye, this makes the product seem worthwhile and high-quality because they can list numerous ingredients on their label. The reality is that they are simply cutting their costs and giving the consumer a useless supplement.
Moreover, few companies seem to actually test their products for impurities and contamination, nor do they source their raw materials from legitimate manufacturers. It’s quite vexing to think that so many products are out there that look so nice and flashy on the outside, but what’s inside is likely loaded with fillers, dyes, and possible contaminants like mercury.
Supplement Labels Analyzed
Unfortunately for those in the United States, dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, supplement companies can put just about anything they want on the label so long as they include a disclaimer. Moreover, some companies really push the envelope by completely omitting certain ingredients on their labels and/or misleading consumers by including ingredients in the product and not putting it on the label.
If you come across a product that has the term “proprietary blend” on the label, this is essentially a company’s way of saying “We use our own ‘secret’ formula so we can save money and put whatever we want in the product.” Whenever you come across a proprietary blend, the best thing you can do is run…and run far, far away.
How to Pick out Quality Products
- Quality matters
- Check company labels to ensure they’re using only the highest-quality ingredients in their products. This is your health, your body, and your life; don’t settle for inferior quality ingredients. You should be getting a product that is pure, safe and efficacious. If there isn’t information directly on the label about where the ingredients come from, it may be worthwhile to contact the supplement company directly.
- Full label disclosure
- The last thing any person should have to worry about when they spend their money on a product is whether or not they are actually getting what they paid for. Look for companies that don’t cut corners and hide things on the label. What’s on the label should be in the product, and what’s not on the label shouldn’t be in the product. Steer clear if there is a “proprietary blend” or undisclosed amounts of ingredients.
- Research-proven ingredients
- Many companies just spit out a random concoction of unproven, bunk ingredients, slap a fancy label on a bottle and put it on the store shelf. But fear not, certain companies do the opposite; countless hours of research and development should go into every formulation to make sure that you get only the most effective, research-proven ingredients in each product you buy. You train hard, and you deserve to use products that work as hard as you do.
- Better products, better results
- The most important thing to keep in mind when you are deciding on purchasing a supplement is whether or not you care about getting the results you’re after. Make no mistake that effective supplements are formulated based on science and testing, rather than marketing and hype. If a brand truly stands behind their products, they will likely offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Customer satisfaction is all that really matters in the end to the right types of companies.
When in doubt, keep the above 4 points in mind to choose brands/products that are actually going to help you and be safe. If the information you want isn’t readily available on the label, don’t hesitate to go directly to the supplement company’s website and learn more about where their products are made and how they go about formulating them.
Moreover, be sure to check out our top product lists here on Supplement Review Lab to ensure you’re getting the best of the best with your supplement choices: