I get asked fairly regularly by mums what I think of particular weight loss products. I understand why. As mums we are often time poor and stretched to our limits and want an easy, fast solution. The most common products mums ask me about are Isagenix, Herbalife and The Healthy Mummy, but what I am about to say goes for any type of supplement/meal replacement whether it be for weight loss, weight gain, increasing energy levels or overall health.
Here are the main things that concern me personally about these products:
- Many of them contain fillers, sugars and other ingredients that aren't in line with whole food eating, so you really need to know your ingredients
- These programs often don't lead to long term weight loss because when people stop using them they return to old habits and the cycle begins again
- They are more expensive than just eating real food
- I am particularly suspicious of pyramid selling schemes where people with no nutritional background are recommending products and their main interest is in making money (and not in the long term health of the buyer). Don't get me wrong, I think they believe in what they are selling and aren't intentionally trying to decieve people but money is a big motivator to make a sale.
There are some circumstances where a supplement/meal replacement might be beneficial but this would be under the guidance of a health practioner. Also, not all products contain nasties but it may be hard to work that out without professional help.
So here are my top tips for assessing if a product is right for you:
- Do you really need the product? Do you have a medically diagnosed deficiency or hormonal condition? If you are looking for a weight loss solution, will it really give you long term results? A naturopath or GP may also be able to help assess your hormones and thyroid function etc to rule out any other medical reasons that may affect your ability to lose weight.
- If the ingredients list contains things you know such as almonds, honey, chia etc then it is probaly fine to eat but if there is a long list of scientific names you have never heard off then you might want to do more research. Even nutritionists have to take their time deciphering ingredients lists so get their advice if you are unsure
- Seek the advice of a nutritionist when considering a product and ask specific questions about the things that are important to you.
I think it is safe to say, after writing this article I will probably be off these companies Christmas card lists, but I am cool with that.
Christine is a personal trainer and has no nutritional qualifications what so ever. She prefers to eat real food and when she needs additional advice on the topic, she seeks advice from a qualified nutritionist (like Gina from Nutrition by Gina Rose).