updated 10/10/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 10/10/2012 AT 12:10 PM ET
I love food! So it’s not much of a surprise that I prefer to get my nutrients from meals rather than pills, powders and potions.
But even without me as a customer, the supplement industry is BOOMING. Americans spend billions of dollars on products touted to help them lose weight, boost energy, restore hair loss or improve sleep. Just yesterday I saw not one, but two different cast members of MTV’s Jersey Shore hawking weight loss pills on Internet ads.
When I was in graduate school, I worked as a nutrition scientist for the Department of National Defence in Canada.
My first assignment was to review all the research that had ever been published on supplements that claimed to increase strength, endurance, energy and muscle gain.
I was shocked to learn that many of the “magic pills” marketed to the general public are nothing more than hype. From smilax to velvet deer antler, and boron to vanadyl, there was no evidence to show these things actually did much of anything helpful.
It made me wonder why no one was asking for proof. Where was the hard evidence these companies claimed to have that proved their products were as effective as the advertising promised?
These are supplements that provide us with a nutrient, or nutrients, in a convenient application for times when we are unable (or unwilling) to eat actual food.