They promise a quick way to a perfect body. They promise
that perfect six-pack in just 10 days. They advertise 145-pound
weight-loss thanks to a new supplement. Then, in the fine
print, they reveal the real results.
“They” are magazines that feed their readers misleading
ads that make them think that to reconstruct their body, all
they have to do is “try this product.”
The reality of these revolutionary all-natural products is
in the fine print. At hydroxycut.com, beneath all the miraculously
reconstructed figures, the fine print says that “average weight
loss expected is 8.4 pounds in eight weeks and depends on
your diet and exercise program.” The fine print also admits
that the circumstances under which they advertise their products
are extraordinary, and the models shown in their ads are actual
Not only are these ads misleading, but many advertised supplements
contain ephedrine, which is like caffeine times 20, said a
General Nutrition Center employee. Hydroxycut recommends a
daily dosage of up to three servings per day, which is equivalent
to 60 milligrams of ephedrine. Hydroxycut also contains 200
milligrams of caffeine per serving, adding up to a dosage
of 600 milligrams of caffeine. Hydroxycut warns users that
their product is “Not intended for use by persons under the
age of 18. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing, or if
you have been treated for or have been diagnosed with high
blood pressure, heart, liver, thyroid or psychiatric disease,
diabetes, anemia, or nervousness.”
Ephedrine alkaloids can have potentially lethal stimulant
effects on the central nervous system and the heart, according
to information provided by the FDA at ephedrine-ephedra.com.
This Web site says that since 1994 the FDA has received “over
800 reports of adverse effects” ranging from insomnia to psychosis
to heart attacks associated with products containing ephedrine.
The FDA has proposed prohibiting use of supplements with 8
milligrams or more of ephedrine per serving.
“Consumers should be aware that just because a product is
labeled ‘natural’ (as is Hydroxycut) or from an herbal source,
it is not guaranteed to be safe,” said Dr. Michael Friedman,
deputy commissioner of Food and Drugs.
“Yes, the supplements may work,” said Kaipo, a fitness instructor
for the Windward YMCA, “but are they healthy? Probably not.”
Kaipo also said that the many advertisements for these products
are false and misleading. She said the pictures shown in magazines
such as Muscle and Fitness showing people with incredible
before and after pictures are instances when those people
are in training for competitions and do not necessarily look
like that year around. Kaipo said that these ads are grasping
at human weakness, that no matter what kind of body a person
has, they can always think of ways it should be better. “But
every body is different,” she said, “and to have a body like
someone else may be impossible for people who have a certain
Ads for supplements such as Hydroxycut and Xenadrine tell
people that “It’s time to reshape your body” or to finally
see that six-pack hidden behind the layer of fat. These ads,
Kaipo said, convince people that because they can’t see bulging
muscles they need to do something about it. In reality, rock-hard
abs are not easily attainable and are very hard to maintain.
Kaipo adds that not having perfect muscle definition does
not mean an individual is not healthy.
As an athlete in high school and college, Kaipo remembers
that NCAA rules prohibit athletes from using supplements with
ephedrine. Athletes work hard to maintain healthy bodies and
healthy lifestyles, so why would an athlete who works so hard
to be healthy, use a drug that is potentially harmful?
Getting healthy and staying healthy takes patience and discipline.
People need to be patient and know that results do not come
overnight. Regular exercise routines and proper eating habits
are what bring real results. The best plan is to stop spending
time looking for quick results that never come, and start
working on eventual results that will come gradually over
time and be more likely to last a lifetime.