General Diet Plans and Questions - Supplement City

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07-25-2001, 02:31 PM
Here's an invitation to talk and read opinions and information on all the gajillions of supposedly weight-loss promoting supplements out there. From CLA to GABA to HCA...vitamins...chromium picolinate...;)

07-25-2001, 02:56 PM

A GREAT site for info on supposed weight-loss and other 'medical cures'. I refer to it often.

As far as ephedra, I don't really believe it IS a fat burner. The best it's ever done for me is keep me awake - since it's really speed anyway, albeit unrefined speed (refine it and you get crystal meth).

Chromium Picolinate - there are a ton of studies showing no, nada, zilch effectiveness as far as burning fat/building muscle goes. But the patentholders did such a bang-up job promoting it as such in the mid-90's that the myth persists to this day.

Chitosan - doesn't work. You may burn the equivalant of 1/2 tsp of butter off during the course of a day. Doesn't sound worth the big buck$$ to me...

Now, since I'm on Body for Life, I DO take supplements - as follows:

Trader Joe's Multivitamin
Udo Choice Perfected Oil Blend for those crucial EFAs
Glutamine Powder - 5 mg three times/day (helps to decrease muscle soreness)
Creatine powder (finishing up a supply of BetaGen I bought midway through Challenge 1 - then I'm switching to generic (cheap) creatine powder - helps get that extra 'pump' during my weight lifting workouts!)

Anyway, do check out the Quackwatch site...

08-01-2001, 01:22 PM
Hi Mrs. Jim,
You are very knowledgeable about health and nutrition. Have you seen any of the info about multivitamins vs, whole food supplements? I have heard that there are thousands and thousands of phytonutrients in say an apple and you maybe get at max 50 in a vitamin supplement. There is so much info out there about fruits and veggies. wouldn't it be better to take a whole food supplement instead of a multivitamin? The other thing I heard about this is that the vit in the multivitamin are manmade (maybe not all of them but most) and how do we know if we need something else in that apple to help say the beta carotene work in our bodies at its best? One more thing I heard is that the hard pressed vitamins and other pills don't get digested and they just come out the other end or get stuck in the walls of the colon.
I would love to hear what you know about this,

08-01-2001, 02:38 PM
Something tells me that you heard that from a 'distributor' for a multi-level marketing company.

My Dad was a chemist for over 40 years and I know what he would say about "man-made" vitamins. Chemical elements are all derived from natural products if you think about it!

As far as whole-food supplements go - why don't we take it a step further? Wouldn't it be best to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods such as fruits, veggies, grains, etc rather than overpriced supplements? (especially if you want to stay as 'natural' as possible).

Don't take it from me though, here's the American Heart Association's position on the subject (from ):

The American Heart Association recommends that healthy individuals obtain adequate nutrient intakes from foods eaten in variety and moderation, rather than from supplements. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (R.D.A.s), published by the National Research Council, represent the best currently available estimates of safe and adequate dietary intakes. All nutrients are potentially toxic when ingested in sufficiently large amounts over prolonged periods of time. For otherwise healthy people, there are only limited data suggesting advantages for taking certain vitamin or mineral supplements in excess of the RDAs. These data are insufficient for any recommendation from the American Heart Association.

Some observational studies have shown lower rates of cardiovascular disease and/or lower risk factor levels in populations who use vitamin or mineral supplements compared to those who do not. It isn't clear if the lower mortality and/or risk factors are due to the use of supplements alone, because supplement users may be less overweight and more physically active.

Moreover, vitamin or mineral supplements should not substitute for a balanced and nutritious diet designed to limit excess calories, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. This dietary approach has been shown to decrease risk of coronary heart disease both in healthy people and in those with evidence of coronary disease.

What about antioxidant vitamins?

There is current interest in antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E) due to suggestions from large observational studies comparing healthy adults consuming large amounts of these vitamins with those who didn't. These observations are subject to bias and don't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Certainly, scientific evidence does not suggest that consuming antioxidant vitamins can replace or modify the goal of reducing blood pressure, lowering blood cholesterol and stopping cigarette smoking. Clinical trials are underway to provide the unbiased scientific information needed to assess whether there is overall benefit from increased vitamin antioxidant intake.

Hope this helps...

08-02-2001, 01:28 PM
Mrs. Jim,

Thanks for your reply but I have a few more thought and questions.
First I totally agree with you that it would be best that we get our nutrients from the actual food!! But one problem is that I know I don't like some of the fruits and veggies that are so good for me ( and I'm sure there are other people out there who are the same way.)!! And I have heard that most nutrients are absorbed into fruits and veggies happens in the last about 5 days of ripening and most fruits and veggies are picked well before that to get them to the stores to sell them before they start rotting. Even farmers markets pick it early.
Could you respond to the question I had about the apple thing- 10000 phytonutrients in an apple and there are only what say about 50 in a multivitamin. (Obviously it would be better to eat the actual apple but.. ) Do all those nutrients work together to work the best in the body? Or do you think taking isolated fragmented vitamins like in a multivitamin) will work just as good. I have heard the term synergy from people. The other thing that was mentioned was that they are identifying nutrients from fruits and veggies eveyday that they say are great for this or that and companies like centrum are now adding them to their vitamin. Do you think that the whole food supplements would be better because it would already be in there because it is the whole food.

Thanks for your time!

08-02-2001, 06:15 PM
Mrs. Jim,
Yes I was told this by a distributor of a company, how did you know? Does that make all of the info not true? It seemed to make sense and they had research done by third parties and published in peer reviewed journals. And they had lots of articles from major mainstream publications about whole food supplements? What is your opinion? Have you seen these articles?

08-02-2001, 07:40 PM
...probably because what you told me is the same thing that 98% of the MLM distributors out there tell people. Not that THEY are trying to purposely mislead you - they're just repeating what their upline tells them to say.

"...they had research done by third parties...and published in peer reviewed journals..." I bet they didn't tell you that the companies PAID to have the research done by those independent labs. The way this is done is that the MLM company will go to a third party lab and say "we have such and such a product and we want a study done to show that it will cause weight loss" or whatever. This is how the tobacco companies years ago were able to produce studies showing that cigarette smoking did not cause cancer or lung disease.

"Peer-reviewed journals" can mean the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) or just a trade magazine sent to physicians which is usually tossed in the trash. The manufacturers know that for many of their intended customers, if there's something published or in writing, people tend to believe what they read...without looking at all the facts.

It might also surprise you to find out that many of those articles in major magazines about this or that product are pretty much advertising - product placement articles. As you probably know, magazines depend on their advertisers to stay in business, so if an advertiser says 'we would like an article on our new weight-loss product written by one of your staff writers' and guess what, they will even supply research documentation - the magazines do it. A lot of women's and health-related mags do this regularly. (It's also common in other industry publications - I read horse breed magazines and they will do a feature story on a stallion or farm, with lots of photos - followed by about 20 pages of ads for that farm, stallion, or stallion's get).

Here's an article from Quackwatch regarding Centrum's advertising from a few years back - even though this happened in 1997, it should make you aware of how far ads can twist the truth!

Actually what you've been told sounds a lot like what the distributors of an MLM product called Juice Plus say. Check this article out:

And while you're at it there's a whole slew of articles linked here:

As far as fruits and veggies go - you can pay tons of $$ for a 'whole food supplement' (which is manmade by the way - it's processed isn't it?) or less than a dollar a pound for apples, bananas, fruit and veggies in season, etc. In addition, you will be getting the all important FIBER from the vegetables, if you're worried about the health of your colon.

And by the way, frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh ones. (I'd stay away from canned ones for the most part).

And really, you should not buy anything from an MLM. Unless, that is, you want to spend a lot more money on something you can find in the store! Trust me - I know this from experience. I used to be a 'distributor' for one about 7-8 years ago. They all want you to think their products are unique and the only way to lose weight or stay healthy or whatever. But think about it! If these companies REALLY had a miracle product, wouldn't it make more sense financially to market it to the general public? I mean, if this is such a great product they're peddling, why not just sell it at Wal Mart to millions of people? Hmm?

IMO, most MLMs - if not all - are operating barely legal pyramid schemes. Before wasting your money, do some research on your own - don't just rely on the company's/distributor's materials and/or website. Quackwatch and MLM Watch (there's a link though Quackwatch's site) are excellent places to begin research.

Take care - and don't get ripped off like I did!

08-02-2001, 08:21 PM
Thanks for all your comments. I went back to look at the research and where it came from it was Current Theraputic Research Journal, Nutrition Research, Integrative Medicine and Journal of American Nutraceutical Association. Have you heard of them?
The articles they were showing were not ads for a product but about fruits and veggies. Yes it was Juice Plus. They say that juice Plus is not to replace eating fruits and veggies, it is just that people don't eat them as they should. And it is a better way to supplement than isolated vitamins. They made the point that for the cost of juice plus (1.30 a day) you can't get the wide variety that comes in Juice plus (17 different ones). What is your thoughts on this.

08-02-2001, 08:38 PM
We had a MLM distributor (BTW they are specifically banned from pushing products on 3FC so she was expelled pretty quickly) a month or so ago with this same argument.

Most of those publications are the kind that exist for those 'third party independent labs' to have somewhere to publish their 'findings' so the manufacturers can say "published in peer reviewed journals". For the most part they are sent to a mailing list of physicians, etc. Kind of like the junk mail you toss out each day. The labs pay for their studies to appear out of the $$ that the manufacturers pay them...

If you haven't already done so, check the link on my previous post for a revealing article on Juice Plus...this was updated on January 2001 so it is pretty recent info... here's the link again:

The article begins:

National Safety Associates (NSA) president Jay Martin likes to turn simple ideas into megamillion-dollar sales. An NSA brochure states by 1997, his company had generated over $3 billion in sales by "developing and introducing innovative new products that are on the leading edge of whole new industries": home fire detectors in the 1970s, water filters in the early 1980s, and air filters in the late 1980s. But its "biggest hit yet," is a line of "natural food-based products designed to help prevent disease." Its flagship product -- Juice Plus+; -- was introduced in 1993 and hit $6 million per month by the end of its first year.

The Juice Plus+ recipe for success is very simple: Fruits and vegetables are good for us. Capture their goodness in convenient products. Add endorsements, testimonials, a pinch of fear, a scientific veneer, and several dollops of deception. And harness the power of multilevel marketing (MLM) to spread the word. All of these ingredients have been around for many years. But NSA has developed a winning mix...

I am sure that whoever the distributor is (probably someone you know from work or church) is not purposely trying to con you. She or he is just telling you what THEY were told. I assure you that MLM's for the most part (and I'm probably being charitable here) are in it for the BUCKS. MLM's have very little overhead since they use word of mouth for the most part - distributors pay for advertising materials from the company, their own websites, etc. Very few distributors are in that top echelon you always hear about - fancy cars and homes, etc. I think my biggest check was about $18.00 one month - and I was expected to spend $40 a month in products (which were overpriced and not any better than what I'd buy in the store) as well as sign up other 'distributors'. It's easy to get all excited about these when your good friend is all worked up over 'how great this supplement is' or some such.

Remember - the MLMs are only in it for the money!!!

08-02-2001, 08:59 PM
Hi MrsJim;

I see you are very knowledgable on vitamins etc. Your becoming fit and trim is an amazing accomplishment.

May i ask two questions:

How much weight did you lose based on OptiFast..

Have you ever heard of Sprectra12?


08-02-2001, 10:59 PM
I have removed the web address from your post as it is against 3FC forum rules to post MLM and related addys.

Optifast helped me get a lot of weight off, but WARNING!!! Very few of the women in the study (by the 18-month postfast mark) kept the weight off - only 3%. I imagine that figure went down even more as the years went by. Also, I believe that we were taken better care of than many people going through commercial Optifast programs run by 'diet doc franchises'. Not trying to dissuade you, just stressing that you need to really REALLY take a hard look at this before you commit to something so expensive!

I wrote a review on Eopinions - you can see it (as well as other opinions on Optifast) at

It's a lot of $$ to spend so please think long and hard. Take a look at Oprah - she lost a lot of weight on it but within a few years she was fatter than ever (and been up and down since).

Truthfully, since I've been working the Body for Life program I'm looking and feeling better than I have in my entire life!!! You may want to check it out - and save the thousands of dollars you'd spend on Optifast for a new wardrobe! Take care...

08-03-2001, 01:31 PM
Thanks again for all the info, There is one thing that still bothers me. Well its actually two I guess. The first is you say that I shouldn't trust anything in MLM, but why should I trust a product from the store shelf that has no research done on it and get just because it's cheaper? Because isn't any product or service done to make money? for someone?

the other thing is some of the articles I was shown were like the cover of time or newsweek talking about supplements better than vitamins- it didn't talk specifically about Juice Plus. Are you saying that all articles and things like this and news reports are jsut lies and bought articles and reports? If so how can we trust anything we read or her. How do you disseminate what is truth and what is lies?

I would appreciate your thoughts on these topics so I can make my decision.


08-03-2001, 03:00 PM
Actually, I would trust a OTC product on the store shelf far more than I would trust an MLM product and here's why.

What makes you think that OTC products aren't researched?? On the contrary - they are researched much more diligently than any of those MLM products. The big companies such as Thompson Medical, Monsanto, Bayer, etc. have much more at stake and a lot more funding for research than the MLMs out there. My father was a chemist for nearly 40 years (although in the food industry) and TRUST ME, even on the most mundane products there is a LOT of research done.

Just as an example, here's the Bayer Research website -

Did you just assume there was no research done on OTC products or is this what the distributor told you???

One of the reasons MLMs work the way they do is to avoid the "truth in advertising" laws that products on the store shelves must comply to. You see, MLMs work largely through 'word of mouth'. When was the last time you saw a print ad or TV commercial, for, say, Herbalife, or for that matter Juice Plus? If they made the claims that their 'distributors' make via WOM in print or on the air, the FCC would be on them like a shot.

Did you carefully read the Juice Plus article at the link?

And so they showed you a cover from Time or Newsweek saying that supplements were 'better than vitamins'. Did they actually show you the ENTIRE article??? And just how old was that article anyway? More likely they just showed you the cover and a few selected excerpts from the article. For the most part, Time and Newsweek are pretty objective publications that try to get both sides of the story (pros and cons).

What I'm saying is you need to DO YOUR RESEARCH. Be a skeptic and don't believe everything that is advertised. is an excellent place to start if you're wondering if this or that supplement is overpriced. Trust me, if it's from an Multi-Level Marketing company, then it most likely is. I mean, THINK HARD ABOUT IT...if their product(s) are so effective, why don't they sell them at regular stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens etc?

The above is a link to an article titled "The Mirage of Multilevel Marketing" by Dr. Stephen Barrett (founder of Quackwatch). I strongly suggest you read it...

Since I'm running the risk of repeating myself, I'm going to leave with one more link - this is Harvard Medical School's website, Intelihealth - you may want to save it as a favorite.

I can type until my fingers fall off, but ultimately YOU are going to have to make your own decision. Just look at ALL the facts - do your own research - rather than relying on what the distributor wants you to know so you'll spend more of your hard-earned money getting nutrients that are available (along with fiber and other good stuff) in their most natural form.

That's it from me on this subject...

08-03-2001, 05:20 PM
I have been checking out the info you suggested.

Just one more thought on the articles- yes they did show me the entire articles.

But as you said the otc products are researched rigorously as well- but by who and how can we trust that they aren't also paying to have that research come out as they want? see where I am trying to figure out where the truth is? And you talk about truth in advertising trying to be avoided by MLM but the tobacco industry did it for how long??

thanks for your time! I'll try not to bother you again!!

08-03-2001, 06:14 PM

The Food & Drug Administration website


Federal Trade Commission website

Both of these sites have excellent consumer sections. No need for me to walk you thru them - just click and take some time to browse through.

In fact, here's a terrific article on the FTC website:

08-09-2001, 05:21 PM
Did you say there was info there about Juice Plus? because I couldn't find it. If you found something would you let me know?

08-09-2001, 10:14 PM
Usually doesn't get into specifics because there are soooo many of these MLM companies out there...

THIS is the link you should check out. Of course, I'm sure your Juice Plus distributor is telling you this info is all outdated (even though the article is from January 2001!).

Here's a bit of info from Michael Fumento's excellent book "The Fat of The Land" (HIGHLY recommended reading by the way!) on the subject of fruits & veggies (pages 203-204):
This is as good a time as any to emphasis a point that, at some level, you must already know: fruits and vegetables are a terribly important part of the diet, even aside from the benefits of the fiber they contain. Most of the vitamins and many of the minerals we need are found in these plants. Further, in recent years an impressive body of evidence has been amassed indicating that large amounts of some of these vitamins and minerals, called antioxidants, appear to have powerful anticancer properties. Unfortunately, some people think they can get everything that fruits and vegetables provide by taking vitamin pills. Wrong. ...Not only do pills provide no fiber, they also don't provide myriad other chemicals (called phytochemicals) in foods that may also have benefits in protecting against cancer and other disease.

"That's why you need the food itself," says American Council on Science and Health Director or Nutrition Ruth Kava. "Trying to pack the benefits into a pill just isn't enough." New York nutritionist Josephine Connolly-Schoonen agrees: "We're just starting to understand the nutrients in food - how much we need and how they interact. The research isn't anywhere near the point where we can safely rely on (vitamin and mineral) pills."

It is a sad sign of the times that when medical researchers started to get through to the public that vitamin supplements weren't enough, pill companies started to actually grind up vegetables and pack them into capsules...Lots of capsules and at a wicked cost. According to Kava, to get the equivalent amount of a 1/2 cup of broccoli, you'd have to take 17 pills. That would be $2.04 in pills, while for the frozen vegetable it would be 32 cents. For spinach, it will cost you $2.28 to get a 1/2 cup's worth from 19 pills...In any case, if you want the benefits of vegetables and fruits, you have to eat vegetables and fruits...

Oh, I know that vegetables have gotten a bad rap in this country. Part of that is because we have this strange aspect of our culture that says we have to make fun of things we know are good for us. Part of it is because so many of us can't remember the last time we got within spitting distance of a cabbage or celery stalk. Part of it is because TV and billboard advertising is awash with commercials designed by people on Madison Avenue paid gazillions of bucks to make you crave burgers and chicken nuggets, not peas and carrots. But trust me on this, when you start giving your body good food and exercising it, your body will start dictating to you that it wants stuff that's good for it. And nothing's better for it than fruits and vegetables.

'Nuff said...