What has happened to us as a human race? We want everything as a quick fix. We could blame technology. It is so easy to press a few buttons on your phone or tablet and have ordered yourself a new dress/new book/new wife(!) It takes a few days and it arrives. Job done. You haven’t even needed to leave the sofa.
It’s the same with weight loss. Everyone wants a healthy lifestyle but not always keen to put the work in. The clue is in the title; Life. Not for 2 weeks where you may lose the weight, go on holiday and then pile it all back on again. It’s lifelong healthy eating and drinking habits, with some exercise added in as well. For life. Ultimately, it then should become habit and normality and much easier to maintain. A healthy lifestyle also incorporates delicious food and drink; it doesn’t have to be restrictive and it certainly doesn’t cut out large food groups such as sugar, carbs, dairy or even whole meals.
So why do so many companies out there try to make us think otherwise with products that I have seen all over my social media; Herbalife and Juiceplus. Both products promote a healthy body, a balanced intake of nutrients and can help with weight loss. The products from both companies are vast; shakes, bars, teas, capsules and various supplement powders. JuicePlus manages to pack 30 fruits and vegetables into a capsule or powder!
I’m not going to argue with some of it. Some of the products probably do provide one’s quota of vitamins and minerals, and are calorie controlled. These people will have done their research. The JuicePlus website has a vast number of journals where published papers sit. It is proven to benefit the immune system, the heart, teeth, the list goes on.
Of course people who start to take these products will lose weight. Their calorie intake will be cut down dramatically promoting weight loss. However, this may not be just fat. Insufficient calories and protein will lead to the breakdown of lean muscle mass too and a lowering of the basal metabolic rate to compensate for this. These side effects are not good and it is likely a person will start to re-gain their weight when they start to eat properly again.
In some occasions rapid weight loss is needed. For example for patients going for gastric band surgery, weight loss reduces the liver size and can help improve the likelihood of successful surgery. However, for everyone else it is not recommended. Weight loss should be slow and steady with a weight loss of 1-2lbs a week.
Why on earth would someone want to be drinking a shake when they could be eating a balanced meal? A capsule with 30 fruit and vegetables in it? Why not make a delicious fruit salad to have with yoghurt? Or a warming vegetable soup with some crusty seedy bread? Of course we are busy nowadays. Life moves so quickly and it is hard to plan and prepare meals from scratch all the time but no one is going to survive on shakes and tablets for life, really? And so much for all the vitamins and minerals packed in. It has been shown that the complex interaction of vitamins and minerals found in food can not be compensated for in a supplement.
So, as a trained professional I would never recommend these products. They are a quick fix, they are expensive and they teach a person nothing about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. If something looks too good to be true, it usually is in life. If you really want something, you usually have to put the work in. It is never a quick fix.