This article is an example to help you sift through and decipher nutrition and weight loss supplement claims.
A client asked me today what I thought about raspberry ketones. This provided yet another opportunity to apply the thought process that supports my Powerful Athletes Training Model.
I used to pride myself on having researched every new training, exercise and nutrition flavor of the moment so I always had a thoughtful research based response to any question. As such, there was never a new exercise or supplement that I had not heard of and researched before anyone could ask me about it.
The development of my Powerful Athletes Training Model changed all this. You see, a powerful model is a framework which guides one in “How” to do or think about something, yet flexible enough to apply to nearly everyone’s specific criteria or circumstances. Think about a model as a set of rules or guidelines that you follow to best produce valid results and conclusions – Think Scientific Model.
So my “Model” (rules and guidelines) for nutrition and supplements goes like this.
- FACT: Supplements (raspberry ketone) are not regulated which means the manufacturer does not have to prove it does anything.
- FACT: Supplement manufacturers have a long history of finding obscure tests/research that cannot be duplicated, is not performed on humans or they edit the research text and then weave the edited bits into a marketing piece in support of their claims that is used to mislead the public who then buys the product.
- FACT: Within the next 6 months to 2 years, the majority of what the medical community, Dr. Oz included, claims as fact about nutrition or supplements will be “Proven” flat out wrong as it is replaced by the next flavor of the moment. When this happens, manufacturers will push their new product and key influential people like Dr. Oz will direct the herd to graze in another part of pasture where they can now buy those products that are not any more effective than the one they replaced. In the next 6 months to 2 years this process will repeat itself over and over as the herd, the public, will keep moving back and forth from one side of the pasture to the other – Moo!
These rules or guidelines are best understood as “Facts” that do not waver or change in the face of every new piece of information or product. Facts, much like a “Law” in science is something that continues to be valid regardless of circumstances or perspectives. Fact, a red light at an intersection always means stop – period. Fact, supplements are not regulated, the consequence of which is that manufacturers can claim whatever they like and do not have to prove anything. This fact is an important part of the model as it tells you the nature of what you are dealing with which should be met with caution and skepticism.
Let’s put this to the test!
With these 3 rules I can respond intelligently and accurately to my client about a supplement I have never heard of – so let’s test this.
Applying my model I told my client
- ‘There has never been even one weight loss supplement that has been “Proven” to work.’ “Proven” means it works independent from any dietary and exercise modifications and the ability to reproduce the same results in valid controlled tests.
- 2. ‘I’m quite confident that there are only some bits of obscure research and probably no valid research. I’m sure any studies or tests on raspberry ketone were not done on humans.’
Most often in these instances, mouse studies are cited as the only examples of any evidence or conclusions to support supplement claims. I think that the average person (majority) does not know that mouse studies (rodent testing) have a very low correlation to human efficacy. This means “Valid” mouse studies mostly turn out results that are “Not Valid” on humans. Mouse studies are where research starts, not end. If all you have are results from mouse studies then you cannot conclude anything regarding results on humans.
Now let’s see how I did on the test!
I did a little research on raspberry ketone and found this:
- There are no peer reviewed studies on raspberry ketone. 1 Point for me!
- There are only a few studies from Asia which all involved rodents (mouse study) or cells in test tubes – no humans! 1 Point for me!
- “Absolutely, my patients are asking about it,” says Dr. Peter Lipson, an internist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. “I tell them that I don’t know if it will help, and neither does anyone else.” 1 Point for me!
- Even Stephen Anton, an assistant professor of aging and geriatric research at the University of Florida in Gainesville AND a paid consultant for Re-Body, a supplement company developing a raspberry ketone product of its own states, “This is something that looks promising, but you need clinical trials to validate the promise.” 1 Point for me!
So let’s review.
I rendered a valid conclusion about raspberry ketone, a supplement I had never heard of before today by applying my Powerful Athletes model for “How” to think about supplements.
Technology has enabled us to have access to and be marketed and informed about far too many things for any person to follow and stay on top of. Interestingly, our technology love affair has also created a dynamic where we feel we have less time, more to do, more to look at, more to process and as a result – more stress. My point here is that one of the most powerful tools I have developed to help coaches, trainers, athletes and parents is to provide models that teach them “How to Think” about Training, Athletic Development, Rehabilitation and Nutrition.
The Powerful Athletes Model is the great equalizer that saves you time and stress as it enables you to decode the never ending flood of Health, Fitness and Athletic Development information and draw valid conclusions regardless of the source of information.