Common Pitfalls in Choosing Supplements

There are a lot of nutritional supplements on the market today that don’t work very well, and others that are downright deceptive in terms of what they promise you and what they actually deliver. I am going to help raise your “supplement I.Q.” so that you can avoid pitfalls that can cost you your hard-earned money.

Choosing a good supplement shouldn’t be a scary process. I believe that there are a lot of very good, legitimate products out there. You just have to be careful to avoid the land mines and choose carefully.

Share these tips with your friends by clicking on the share button. Print it out and pass it around the gym as well – your friends will thank you for watching out for them.

Now, in the interest of being open and honest, I will come right out and say that I own a nutrition company, as most of you know, and so it’s only natural for me to believe that my company’s products are the best, but I promise to deliver information to you in a manner that will enable you to draw your own logical conclusions. Fair enough?

Let’s examine some of the common pitfalls in selecting supplements.

Pitfall No. 1: It’s on the label, but it’s not in the can.
Does this come as a surprise? A lot of supplement companies have trouble meeting label claim. That means that what you pay for is not always what you get. Now, this is not as prevalent as it was just a few years ago. But, it still happens. At Labrada, our supplements are assayed by third-party independent labs. That’s why Labrada Nutrition backs its supplements with its guarantee, “If it’s on the label, it’s in the product.”

Pitfall No. 2: Basing your buying decisions on cost alone.
Some supplement companies offer ridiculously low prices on generic supplements containing expensive ingredients but they can because they conveniently leave them out or only include a token amount. The FDA and our government can only do so much to police products and, being understaffed, there’s no way that they can catch every unscrupulous supplement marketer. Thus, BUYER BEWARE.

Pitfall No. 3: Paper science:
The ad doesn’t give you all of the details of the study they are quoting, just the details that support the company’s specific claims for the product. For example, many years ago, some supplement companies were touting the metal, “boron” as a way to raise testosterone levels. They cited a scientific study to back up their claims. But, of course, they conveniently forgot to tell you, the consumer, that the study was done on post-menopausal women and that boron was practically worthless for raising testosterone in healthy males.

Pitfall No. 4: Leaps of Faith:
Sometimes supplement marketers will rely on what I call “leaps of faith.” For instance, one prominent supplement marketer once was promoting alpha lipoic acid (ALA) in their creatine product as an ingredient that was supposed to increase the uptake of creatine. To the best of my knowledge, at the time, no study in existence that showed ALA to increase the uptake of creatine. However, because ALA does have an effect in insulin sensitivity, this marketer took a “leap of faith” and theorized that it also helps to increase creatine uptake. Beware of the paper science and leaps of faith.

Pitfall No. 5: Making exaggerated unsubstantiated claims for a product.
Some companies take the attitude – “We’re going to exaggerate and even lie in our ads in order to sell you this product and we’re going to keep doing it until the FTC shuts us down!” This mentality is common in smaller, less well-known supplement companies, which are not as heavily policed by the Federal Trade Commission as their larger, more visible counterparts.
However, I have seen very well known companies make exaggerated claims as well. For instance, one purveyor of a proprietary creatine product claimed once that its creatine product is hundreds of percent more effective than plain creatine. If a company makes a claim like this one, call them up and ask them for a copy of their study. If they are willing to send you a copy of their study, (which I’m sure they won’t) check the particulars out and ask them how they arrived at their claim. I think what we have a case of artistic license.

Pitfall No.6: Deceptive labeling combined with deceptive advertising.
I have seen several companies currently running multi-page ads for products that are deceptively labeled. For instance, one company touted methoxyisoflavone (a supplement that was touted as a great muscle builder years ago) as an active ingredient in their product. Creatine was never mentioned in the ad for the product. But if you examined the label of this product closely, you would have seen it listed there as “N-Methyl-N-Guanylglycine. Wow! What a fancy chemical name!

Why didn’t they just list “creatine”? Could they have been hiding the fact that this product contained so much creatine that users experiencing rapid weight are really experiencing the benefits of creatine and not methoxyisoflavone? It makes you wonder. Read labels and ask questions.
Well, this week I have covered some of the things that you should keep in mind as you make your purchasing decisions on supplements. I believe that there are a lot of very good, legitimate products out there. You just have to be careful to avoid the land mines and choose carefully.

I was raised believing that when I buy something, I should pay an honest price for an honest product. You probably feel the same way. First, you have to find the honest product then you have to make sure you’re not paying too much.

This is one of the philosophies that I’ve built Labrada Nutrition on. Labrada products are independently tested and then backed with our seal guarantee.

I hope that these tips have helped to educate you on what to watch out for. And remember, no supplement will ever give you results if you don’t follow the proper training/dieting.

Until next time,

Your Lean Body Coach™
 Houston, Texas

About the Author: Lee Labrada

Lee Labrada is the founder and CEO of Labrada Nutrition, makers of Lean Body protein shakes. Lee’s mission is to empower you with the nutritional products and the know-how to get into great shape and be healthy for life.

One of the world's best-known bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 bodybuilding
titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. Lee is an inductee of the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert. Lee is the best-selling author of The Lean Body Promise and co-founder of Lean Body Coaching. He is also the Host of The Lee Labrada Show. Check out his podcast here.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.