How to Avoid “Fake Science” When Choosing Supplements

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Growing muscle and losing fat at the same time is difficult. In fact, it’s a lot harder than most people realise, which is why I have so many people coming to my Marc Dressen online fitness sessions, asking for tips and advice on how to make weight loss easier.

While there may not be a magic bullet cure to excess fat that any individual can use when they want to cut down on the inches around their waist, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get better results from your diet and fitness routines by tapping into a few extra solutions.

For instance, healthy supplementation can do wonders for your fitness and weight loss goals. But the key is making sure that you’re choosing the right supplements for your needs.

The truth is – a lot of companies claim that their supplements are scientifically proven when the amount of research-sourced backing they have is next to nothing.

So, how can you make sure that you’re picking the most effective weight-loss supplements to enhance your weight loss results? Well, that’s what we’re going to cover in today’s article. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know the difference between a “fake science” supplement, and one that can give you extra energy and support during your fitness sessions.

Understanding Science in Advertising

Ultimately, we assume that anything which has been “scientifically proven” is sure to have incredible results. If science says you can jump higher, run faster, and burn more fat with a particular supplement, then you’ll believe it.

However, the unfortunate truth is that most companies simply aren’t as ethical as we’d like them to be. Creating “science-backed” supplements isn’t actually as hard as it might seem. There are plenty of products that have been proven to work – even to a very small degree, such as boron for instance. However, this small amount a proof doesn’t necessarily mean you should go out and buy those substances in bulk.

The key to fighting back against unethical companies who want to steal your money by selling you strategies that will barely do anything beneficial for your body is to stop considering the term “scientifically backed” to be gospel in the world of supplements. Instead, make sure you know what kind of science the substance is backed by, and what those studies say.

Citations and “Scientifically Proven” Products

While it’s not always easy to tell a “fake science” claim from one that demonstrates the benefits and potential of a supplement, there are some red flags that you can keep an eye out for when you’re browsing online, looking for the latest information on your workout supplements.

For instance, people who use “scientifically backed” statements to say obvious things like “water is wet,” are trying to earn your loyalty by giving you information that you already have. However, on the other hand, if someone uses a citation to show you that gargling water can reduce your chances of throwing up, then that’s real, useful information.

Citations can be a useful way to give credence to the facts that you’re sharing with your customers as a supplementation company. However, as a customer, you should be wary of any business that uses too many citations in close succession. Numerous citations and pointless references to barely-related studies can be a sign that the brand is simply trying to distract you from the fact that they don’t have any real, solid evidence that their product works.

In fact, some companies will even use citations with the distinct hope that no-one will bother to click on the links they provide and find out whether it’s relevant. Sometimes simply including a little blue link that connects to something like PubMed can be enough to make someone purchase an item, without discovering what the citation was for. For instance, I could say that this citation talks about how powerful sugar is when improving your running potential when it refers to nothing of the sort.

Using “Unverifiable” Information

Another way companies can trick their customers into thinking a product is “scientifically” proven, is to pack their claims full of information that can’t be proven or disproven. While there’s nothing wrong with missing a citation in your copy from time to time, if your supplement brand claims something important but doesn’t give any evidence to verify that claim, this should be a huge red flag.

Don’t fall for the phrase “in-house” testing to gloss this problem over either. This is a term that scientists use when they want to explain away the fact that they don’t have an external study to link you to because they conducted all of their tests in-house.

While it may be true that the brand did plenty of testing on their new supplement, the reason why most companies link back to PubMed, and similar websites, is that these locations ask publishers to follow very strict scientific guidelines.

If there’s no-one that your supplementation company can direct you to as a way of verifying their story, then you should probably take what they’re saying with a pinch of salt. Only buy something if the “proof” given is undeniable, and coming from a range of different sources.

Scientifically Proven Supplements and Misdirection

Finally, another major red flag to be aware of when you’re purchasing a new supplement is any brand that tries to use misdirection to avoid answering key questions about what the supplement can, or can’t do. Keep an eye out for examples like the following:

  • Advertisements that beat around the bush with the language they use. Luteinizing Hormone can say that it “stimulates the release of testosterone,” but it can’t say that it increases testosterone because that isn’t true.
  • Marketing that talks about the amazing effects of the supplements on rats and animal subjects, but has nothing to refer to when it comes to humans. Great results for rodents doesn’t necessarily translate to great results for people.
  • Phrases like “studies may suggest” that don’t actually give you any direct insight into what a product can do. Studies can suggest certain things, and prove another, so make sure you know the truth before you start buying.

While there’s nothing wrong with companies adding a little pizazz to their marketing efforts to help customers better understand what a product is capable of, the things that they say need to be backed by real science, rather than tricks and misdirection.

The Bottom-Line on Scientifically-Backed Supplements

Ultimately, we all want our supplements to help us achieve measurable results and accomplish incredible things. Since science is the best way for us to determine what works and what doesn’t, it’s a good idea to keep research in mind when you’re shopping for new supplements.

However, don’t simply take the words “scientifically backed” as gospel. Make sure that you do your research and find out exactly what a supplement can really do, before you let yourself get carried away by marketing jargon.

Marc Dressen
Personal Trainer London

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