“Healthy isn’t the same for everyone,” so said a manager of a Local Vitamin Store
By Dr. Michelle Kmiec, Founder OHH
There is something I’ve wanted to write about for some time now, and after hearing a manager of a local Vitamin Store say that “healthy isn’t the same for everyone,” I couldn’t put this off any longer.
It all started a few weeks ago when the local Vitamin Store graciously gave me a goody bag of samples so that I could provide my feedback on the products. My little bag was loaded with samples of protein, power drinks, power bars, selective vitamins, and a few other interesting items.
When I got home, I emptied my bag on the kitchen table and began to sift through all the products. Some of the samples I recognized immediately and knew they were quality products, while others I found questionable and required some investigation…
Specifically the “power” products.
Many so-called “natural” and “healthy” products come in vibrant packaging with clever marketing phrases that, sadly, have the unsuspecting consumer believing the hype. And because these products are found in Health Food and Vitamin Stores, many people automatically assume that the product must be as healthy as stated on the packaging.
Personally, I believe that’s exactly how it should be. After all, if you are in a specialty store that offers Health food and Vitamins, then technically there should be nothing sold in the store other than… well… healthy food, vitamins, and products! Right?
And certainly, there shouldn’t be any ingredients in these products that are known to promote illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer!
I spend most of my time as a holistic health activist, endlessly bringing attention to questionable ingredients that are not fit for consumption. And I’m not alone! Other major websites blog sites also donate their valuable time and energy to this same cause. Each and every one of them is doing an amazing job at sharing holistic health knowledge and life-changing information!
So to discover that many Health food and Vitamin stores are not exactly holistic health ally’s, but rather quite the opposite in some cases, is extremely frustrating!
Let me give an example of exactly what I am talking about.
As I already mentioned, I was disturbed by some of the samples I found in my bag, especially the “power” products. I hate to say it, but it does appear to be that the fancier the packaging, the more crap found inside the package!
Now, when I come across a product that I am not familiar with, the first thing I do is read the label. And one such product in my bag of samples was something called, CARNIVOR Liquid Protein Shots Power Punch by MuscleMeds, which states on their brightly designed package, “MuscleMeds Performance Technologies, As serious as it gets! Packed with anabolic muscle building amino acids!!!” (Notice the THREE exclamation marks!)
And if you go online and look up the product, which I did on the Vitamin Store’s website, you’ll find a whole bunch of information that indeed makes you think that this is the best power product ever made!
But then… when you read the ingredient list it all falls apart!
In addition to protein and minerals, this product contains:
CARNIVOR-BPI(TM) Liquid Protein Blend [Purified water, Hydrolized Beef Protein Isolate, BCAAs (L-Leucine, L-Valine, L-Isoleucine), Anabolic Nitrogen Retention Technology(TM) Intermediates: GKG (glutamine-alpha-ketoglutarate), OKG (ornithine-alpha-ketoglutarate), AKG (alpha-ketoglutarate) and KIC (alpha-ketoisocaproate)], Hydrolyzed Beef Protein Collagen Isolate, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, sucralose, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, acesulfame potassium and FD&C red #40. (If orange flavor, FD&C yellow #6)
And please notice that there are two “flavors”: Fruit Punch and Orange. Although there is absolutely nothing in the ingredients that would suggest that this product contains any orange, let alone anything remotely similar to fruit. So what makes it “fruity”, or at least look the part? None other than Red #40 and Yellow #6. We’ll get to this in just a bit.
Let’s break down each of the questionable ingredients that are highlighted:
Now I get it that because this is a “CARNIVOR Liquid Protein” you would, of course, expect to find beef as an ingredient. For me, this is not an issue. The issue is that this meat is not organic. I understand that whether the meat product is organic or not may not be an issue for some (though it should be), but if you are truly trying to obtain optimal health, consuming something that is full of chemicals, hormones and antibiotics are probably not the best idea.
Artificial flavor has always been an issue for me and is something you find in nearly all protein powders. It actually must be a “secret” ingredient because we never get to know exactly what it is, and it can be something that is different in different products. Ask the resident health experts in these stores what exactly artificial flavor is, and you’ll get a priceless blank face that almost makes it worth asking the question! In fact instead of using the words “artificial flavor,” these products could just as easily state, “secret ingredient that we have absolutely no intention of telling the public what it really is because the FDA deemed it sufficient to simply say ‘artificial flavor’”. Well, I don’t like surprises in my food, let alone in “health” food. If it says artificial flavor, I immediately pass on the product.
Speaking of artificial flavor, how about sucralose…a/k/a an artificial sugar.
Sucralose, better known as Splenda, was once believed to be the artificial sugar savior for all those looking for a sugar alternative. And just like everything that is artificially made to mimic nature’s perfect design, Sucralose has fallen way short of being the magical “sugar” bullet. Once thought to be a good option for diabetics, new research is now proving this to be dangerously incorrect. Furthermore, so many people have experienced Sucralose side-effects, that a new sickness has been coined, “Splenda Sickness”. Don’t take my word for it; listen to the people who have experienced everything from abdominal pain, emotional disturbances (including anger, depression, and anxiety), bloating, dizziness, fatigue, muscle weakness, and more! See consumer reviews.
Potassium Sorbate is a common preservative that is added to many products to help prevent mold and fungus from spoiling the product. This is a synthetically made compound that is ideal for food companies mainly because it is very inexpensive. Initially, this food additive was thought to be safe, but it is now considered to be potentially more harmful than once thought. If consumed excessively, there can be adverse side-effects. Of course, since this ingredient is found in hundreds of commonly eaten foods, the likelihood of consuming it excessively becomes more likely, doesn’t it? Common possible reactions are:
- And in severe cases, Kidney malfunction and/or damage
Interestingly, on MDhealth.com, this synthetic additive is called a “drug”:
“…Those who frequently use cosmetic products that have potassium sorbate as a preservative can experience rashes or irritation if their body becomes overexposed to the drug…”
And the same website states how to avoid overexposure to this additive (or is a drug?)
“…Individuals who are concerned about overexposure to potassium sorbate have a number of options they can use to avoid this product. Most foods have their preservative elements listed so people can opt to purchase a more natural version…” (Good idea!)
Sodium benzoate is another food additive that is synthetically made like so many other artificial ingredients. But did you know that research done at the Mayo Clinic has suggested that Sodium benzoate may “trigger or exacerbate symptoms or episodes of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD”? Apparently, this is the case for both children and adults.
“The condition is most common in children but it can be present in adults as well, and affected individuals may be forgetful, have difficulty concentrating and following directions or display impulsiveness. It is difficult to determine the precise relationship between sodium benzoate and ADHD because additional food additives in the same foods as sodium benzoate may have similar effects.”
It is further explained that if a person is sensitive to ADHD, then they should consume, “fresh, unprocessed foods.” (Another good idea! Do you see a trend starting to form here?)
Now, this artificial sugar is a bit more controversial. Though the FDA has approved it as a “safe” food additive, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has a very different opinion, finding it to be a probable carcinogenic ingredient :
“Acesulfame-potassium (ace-k). Roughly 200 times sweeter than sugar, acesulfame-potassium, or ace-K, is used with aspartame in Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Pepsi. In the mid-calorie Pepsi Next, it is used with sucralose (and high-fructose corn syrup and sugar). Besides being used in foods, it is sold in packets under the Sweet One brand name. The manufacturer’s safety studies of acesulfame-potassium conducted in rats in the 1970s were of mediocre quality but suggested the ingredient might cause cancer. CSPI recommends avoiding ace-K.”
(Of course, aspartame is another holistic health nightmare ingredient!)
FD&C red #40
Allura red (also known as Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40, E129) is another unnecessary ingredient that has only one purpose- to color the product red so it may be more pleasing to the eye. But does this marketing ploy come with a cost to your health? It sure does!
It can be found in soft drinks, candy, children’s medications, cereal, beverages, snacks, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream, AND so-called “healthy” supplement products.
Because of known health effects, including hyperactivity, allergic reactions and even cancer, many countries have banned the use of this food dye in lieu of more natural alternatives – beet juice.
FD&C yellow #6
Sunset Yellow (also known as Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6 or C.I. 15985) is often found in orange sodas, orange jelly, jams, citrus marmalade, lemon curd, sweets, hot chocolate mix and packet soups, trifle mix, breadcrumbs, snack chips, shelf fresh noodles, cheese sauce mixes as well as chocolates such as Cadbury Creme Egg.
“Yellow #6, found in many boxed mac and cheese’s, has also been shown to cause hypersensitivity in children. These artificial food dyes are banned in Norway and Austria, and the European Union requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes”
And it seems the effort paid off! Kraft announced that they will offer a product line without the controversial food dyes.
“The company will remove Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from boxes containing pasta shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants and those with Halloween and winter shapes.”
However, it seems we are back to the phrase offered by the Vitamin Shoppe manager, “Healthy isn’t the same for everyone,” since Kraft has decided to carry two lines of products, one without the food dyes and one with. But why? To better explain their decision, here is a quote from CNN Health,
“The Center for Science in the Public Interest hailed Kraft’s decision on Friday. Michael Jacobson, the center’s executive director, said he is pleased with the announcement but is “puzzled” as to why Kraft would not change its iconic elbow-shaped macaroni product as well.
“As Kraft has today shown, it is clearly possible to make macaroni and cheese without these harmful chemicals,” Jacobson said in a statement.
The company tries to offer a wide variety of choices to consumers, “Making ingredient changes isn’t as simple as it would seem, all of the ingredients must work together to deliver the distinctive taste, appearance and texture consumers expect and love from Original KRAFT Mac & Cheese. Our fans have made it clear they won’t settle for anything less.”
So clearly…what this really means is:
“Our fans have made it clear they won’t settle for anything less” = “Healthy isn’t the same for everyone”
I guess some people enjoy a small amount of poison in their food! But more shocking was a recent report by Express Scripts citing that they found that ADHD drugs have soared in the last five years:
“The report, from prescription provider Express Scripts, finds a large overall increase in the number of Americans treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a 36 percent rise in just five years. More than 4.8 million people covered by private health insurance have filled at least one prescription for ADHD, the report finds.”
Perhaps these food companies should take a harder look at the substances known to cause hyperactivity, and where is The FDA? With ADHD diagnoses steadily increasing, wouldn’t it be more logical to stop feeding the American people substances known to cause hyperactivity? Or is it the premise of The FDA to keep the American people drugged?
So in the end, what of the so-called “health” supplements such as CARNIVOR Liquid Protein Shots?
Finally, this brings me to that interesting response from the manager of the Vitamin Store. After I gave my opinion on the free samples I was given, I naturally commented about these unhealthy ingredients found in power products, like CARNIVOR Liquid Protein Shots Power Punch. The response (and reason for the response was not at all what I expected),
The manager nonchalantly said, “Healthy isn’t the same for everyone.” To which I responded, “True, but when you are buying a product in a health/vitamin store, you shouldn’t have to encounter such potentially dangerous ingredients.” I continued, “Too many people are not aware of these ingredients and are solely relying on the source – such as this store – to sell them quality products”.
To which she replied, “Well people don’t seem to be concerned about the ingredients, so….” As she turned to walk away while her voice tapered off… I guess the conversation was over.
So what’s the bottom line and moral of this story?
- Read all product labels!
- When reading labels remember that “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t consume it!” Just because a product is sold in a Health food or Vitamin store, don’t assume that it’s a healthy product.
- Lastly, and most importantly, be leery of some of the “advice” you get in these stores.
You can take control of your own health! There are many quality “power” protein powders, shakes, and bars that do not contain the dangerous ingredients outlined in this article. Check out:
- Paradise Herbs Organic Maca Root Powder
- True Athlete
- EPIC Bars (100% Grass-fed – Bison, Turkey, Beef, Lamb)
- Cliff Bars
or maybe…make your own! Here is a cool article with a healthy organic “no-bake” energy bar recipe! But remember, use only fresh, organic ingredients! You are worth it!
Sources & Related Articles:
- ADHD & Cancer Linked to Food Dyes
- It’s Sweet …But is it Safe?
- Red dye # 40 not approved and now banned in Europe after more study links to depression, ADD, migraines, and behavior
- Artificial Sweeteners: Why You Should Completely Avoid Them to Stay Healthy
- G2 (Gatorade) Health WARNING!
- Sodium BENZOATE (jufran) Structure: Properties
- The Dangers of Sodium Benzoate
- Potassium Sorbate via MDhealth.com
- Splenda Sickness
- Splenda Not So Splendid!
- Mom to Kraft: Take Yellow Dye (#5 & #6) Out of Mac and Cheese
- Kraft removing artificial dyes from some mac and cheese
- Number of Young Adults on ADHD Drugs Soars
- 9 Healthy Homemade Energy Bar Recipes