Fitness Supplement or Adult Candy? What’s really in them?

supplement-pills-dangerIs our blind faith in the supplements industry dangerous?

Do we always read the label with supplements like these?

A friend of mine was lucky enough to spend the day with one of her idols, Michelle Lewin, at the SFN Expo (I’ll ask if she minds including her photos and story) and met a lot of other very fine looking human specimens. I love these type of people. They have taken their passion to a wonderful extreme. And here they are getting paid to do what they love and be idolised for it into the bargain.

They have mastered the maths of motivation. It’s motivation that really keeps us from training every day and reaching all our goals. Now motivation can be calculated for success thanks to the Motivation Equation:

Equation for Motivation

Expectancy x Value / Impulsiveness x Delay = Motivation

Inside that equation, there should also be the option to add nutrition, sleep, exercise and environment.

Your nutrition affects your whole life and your motivation levels.

Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.

You are what you eat.
~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Use thy food as thy medicine and thy medicine as thy food
~ Hypocrites – The Father of Modern Medicine

I will ask some fitness professionals what they think of these products. Some of them will most likely be very happy with them as Creatine is well proven, with good neutral (one hopes) research from impartial (one hopes) scientists that shows it helps with sporting recovery, energy and performance. I think from a placebo effect, that has to work for everyone and any additional chemical or biological positive effects are an additional and welcomed bonuses. It probably helps with other performance related issues as well, I would imagine.

Our blind faith in the supplements industry

We trust they are OK, don’t we? They must be monitored, by someone, right? A government department, neutral, honest, not known to be bribed, no trickery like steroids, full time business with dedicated marketing investment, models, body models and doubles, and Photoshop, I’m an expert on Photoshop myself.

According to a survey conducted by the trade association, Council for Responsible Nutrition, “85% of American adults … are confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements.”

“85% of American adults … are confident in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements.”

Of 350,000 ER admissions per year, 23,000 were supplement-related. The average age of patients treated for supplement-related adverse events was 32 years, and the majority of these cases were female.

Here is a chart showing the split between age and self caused illness/condition due to supplements.

Supplement injuries chart
Supplement injuries chart care of

Supplement injuries chart care of This is an excellent article on the lack of governing and standards in this marketplace by as well- Not-so-safe supplements

Why do they do it?

The supplement companies are experiencing an amazing growth and substantial financial rewards. The importance for strong governing bodies and rules is all the more important. However, that hasn’t helped before has it? And it hasn’t helped in the financial industries, the personal development arena, pharmaceutical or the wide range of natural medicine industries.

So, just like with being responsible for your own health, so too should you check and research beyond what you read in the magazines or hear on TV. The media are kept in business by the brands that pay for advertising and sponsorship. Here’s some stats to drive that fact home –

$43 billion of a $63 billion in News made from advertising…Wow!

More than two-thirds (69%) of all domestic news revenue is derived from advertising. And that’s the news. What about Saturday night TV and the superbowl – in 2015 Super Bowl XLIX was seen by at least 114.4 million viewers in the United States and a 30 second commercial on TV costing $4.5 Million dollars!

The UK sports supplement and nutrition market in 2015 was worth more than £300 million and we will likely see this increase to almost half a £billion by 2018, according to Euromonitor International.

If supplement companies invest just 8% of their revenues in marketing it means they are spending £40 Million per year to get you to buy and then keep buying their products.

UK companies spend £40 Million per year to entice you to buy supplements

What lengths do they go to?

Sugars in our diet
The dangers of Sugars in our diet

Well, let’s take a personal villain that I’ve battled with for decades. Cane Sugar and cane sugar derivatives. And the one that pops up again and again in the ingredients of fitness and health supplements is Sucralose. It’s sounds so innocent, sensitive, so sensual, like it’s caressing your tongue as you say it. Could the very name itself be hypnotic -sucrose, sucre, saccharon, sucralose. It’s the chief compound in cane or beet sugar –

A modern industrial sugar refinement process often involving bleaching and crystallization, it produces a white, odourless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste of pure sucrose (sucrose – a word coined in 1857 by the English chemist William Miller from the French sucre (“sugar”) , it is devoid of vitamins and minerals.

Sugar is devoid of vitamins and minerals

According to William Dufty, sugar, specifically Cane Sugar, has been at the centre of wars throughout civilisation, was the financial power that made Great Britain and its Commonwealth and classed in the same level as other plants like Belladona (Deadly Nightshade) and Digitalis (Foxglove) by men of medicine throughout history. Although the death isn’t as quick it’s stealth maybe makes it worse and it’s ability to deplete will-power and alter habits and beliefs in animals as well as people is very documented. Read Dufty’s book Sugar Blues – Dufty for the complete story. Great book. Another great peice of research on sugar and other sweetners like Aspartame is provided by Tim O’Shea, DC – Sugar: The Sweet Thief of Life

So after Sugar, the other ingredients include many of sugar’s variations, like Aspartame and aAcesulfame K, we come to caffeine. Or as I like to call it – Caffiend !

Caffeine in supplements? Why?

Even the way that word sits at an angle gives an added meaning to how caffeine affects your brain and balance internally. IMHO


Are they not questioned by some department in the government, do they not question the reasoning themselves as to why there is so much caffeine in a supplement?

Here’s the caffeine content of the average cup of coffee:

94 mg (milligrams) in 1 cup (8fl oz) (237 grams)

The average is anything from 75 mg to 200mg for a very strong coffee.

That means people are consuming the caffeine equivalent of over 5 cups of coffee per serving, with some suggesting two servings per day. That means people could be consuming the caffeine of over 10 cups of coffee per day before they include any coffee or other food or drink with caffeine in it.

10+ cups of coffee per day

I’ll let the experts explain the links between high caffeine intake and hallucinations in this paper – High caffeine intake linked to hallucination proneness

In these supplements it goes from:

Thermocuts – 400mg per – 2 tablets

supplement taster sachet from SFNexpo
cover photo of Thermo-cuts supplement taster sachet from SFNexpo –
supplement with 400grams of caffeine.
supplement with 400grams of caffeine.

Amino Energy – 200mgper sachet (there was a mention of green tea, but not the intake of caffeine from that)



Gold Standard PRE-WORKOUT – 300mgper sachet (2 servings)

300mg of caffeine
Gold Standard PRE-WORKOUT – 300mg – per sachet (2 servings)
Rated 8.3/10 on
Rated 8.3/10 on

I go to sources like to get my research on supplements and anything that I consume and put in my body. They and others are neutral and impartial (I hope). They and any other impartial research I’ve read on fitness supplements state that they do not work. Except for Creatine.

If we know this to be true, and we can see the evidence that they have a greater possibility of having a negative effect on our health, why do we continue to take them?

Adult Candy

Sugar the most addictive substance on the planet. It’s been added to cigarettes and cigars, it seems to be in everything we eat, it coats our pharmaceutical drugs and it seems to be prevalent in our fitness supplements.

Is it more addictive than heroin?

I watched a great TedTv talk where the expert was giving examples at just how true it is that Heroine isn’t actually addictive. Take my neighbour. He told me yesterday that he had hurt his shoulder and was taking Morphine. But even if he takes that Morphine for a few weeks he won’t get addicted to it and start running out in the middle of the night to buy some. Yet, Morphine is the purest of Heroines you can take. I bet on the other hand you know someone who will get out of bed on a cold winter’s night and drive or walk to a shop fighting against wind and hale to buy chocolate, soda drinks and candy.

But, either way, whether you like it or not, most of these health foods – flapjacks, energy pars, protein bars, energy drinks, muscle builders, weight-loss foods, appetite suppressing foods aren’t good for you. Just using common sense would say they can’t be good for you. So maybe we should also be taking more time to assess the ingredients of our favourite supplements and look at the impartial, scientific evidence of their efficacy.

Click here to discover the shocking affect that consuming just 30 calories per day more than you are supposed to can have on your health?

If you still think your weight loss, energy and protein powders, shakes and bars work, let’s put them to the test. My speciality is measuring every aspect of my life and my clients lives, when they want me to. Let’s put the supplements you take to the test. It could save you a lot of money, wasted effort, your health and even a visit to ER.

Make an appointment to talk it through on 0131 5108765 or book via this page – book a free coaching appointment.