Friday, April 25, 2008

Lies My Email Told Me

Shit like this really pisses me off.

First of all, the link to “The Great Burn” Web page showed up in an email from Shape Magazine. At first I thought it was some Shape-sponsored event, like when they do the workouts in Lincoln Park. No. Not exactly. This site is about Enviga, a new “sparkling green tea” beverage from our friends at Coke and Nestle. But, as best I can tell, this site is dedicated to further confusing the hell out of people who want to lose weight.

Basically, Shape, Men’s Fitness, Coke, and Nestle are all putting their stamps of approval onto a drink that they claim burns “negative calories.” Yes. Simply drink Enviga, and you’ll loss weight. From the email:
When it comes to burning calories, you’re not going to find a better partner than this one. See, Enviga is more than just a refreshing sparkling green tea. It has ingredients like caffeine and the mighty antioxidant EGCG, which are proven to burn extra calories by gently boosting your metabolism. Of course, weight loss requires a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise*. Enviga is just a little something extra to complement the things you do already.
Nice caveat Shape. Vomit.

Soft science at it’s best (worst?). First of all, if you want the benefits of green tea, then drink green tea! Don’t drink this crap. Second, when you separate nutrients from the original source the benefits are not as great. That is why taking vitamins are a distance second to eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as a source for nutrients.

As for the caffeine… Here’s what Jillian Michaels, the Biggest Loser trainer has to say about caffeine and weight loss.
Lately there's been a lot of talk about caffeine and exercise. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine before working out enhances performance and helps to burn fat. Hey, don't down that pot of coffee just yet! You need to hear the whole story behind caffeine and exercise

First of all, coffee and Diet Coke isn't going to do it. As a fitness aide, caffeine is only effective when taken in pill form in conjunction with aspirin. When you drink coffee, tea, and soda, caffeine gives you short-term energy. That's because caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands. These glands dump adrenaline into your bloodstream like it's going out of style. When the caffeine leaves your system, your adrenal glands will be depleted for a while. This will leave you feeling weak and tired from low adrenaline levels.
What about EGCG?
Bayer was fined $3.2 million to settle FTC charges that its advertisements for One-A-Day WeightSmart pills violated an earlier FTC order that required all health claims for One-A-Day brand vitamins to be supported by sound scientific evidence. Bayer said that its product was marketed as a multivitamin, not a weight-loss pill, and that it settled to avoid the expense of litigation, the Associated Press reported.
One-A-Day WeightSmart vitamins advertised EGCG as the active ingredient that promoted weight loss.

I swear, you read something different every single day about weight loss, but this kind of soft science, magic bullet crap does far more harm that good. I don’t give a shit that the entire Enviga clinical study has been posted. The University that researched this product was paid by Nestle. Of course the findings are positive. Big business and powerful lobbies (think dairy, meat, artificial sweeteners) are behind much of the weight loss and health information that is disseminated into our American culture, which means the information is biased at best, and outright lies at worst. Keep that in mind. We should be nothing short of outraged that companies are willing and able to make outlandish claims like this one.

Update: I was infuriated enough about this that I decided to email Shape customer service just to tell them I would be removing my email from its lists and would never again subscribe to or buy Shape magazine. I understand how advertising dollars work, which is why I get the diet pill ads in the back of the magazine (though it would be great to see a magazine ix-nay that kind of BS). But to actively partner with and endorse a beverage as a diet aid, I mean, come on… it’s just impossible for me to consider Shape a reliable source of health and fitness information anymore.

And Enviga is being sued...



Kendra said...

Completely agree. Just eat some veggies and fruit people!

Roisin said...

People will never, ever stop looking for that "magic bullet."

Justin said...

If Enviga makes you vomit enough, I suppose you really will lose weight!

I Heard Tell said...

The last time I bought a Shape Magazine was during a flight for work. I spent a week reading it in my hotel room and feeling hopelessly fat and out of shape compared to all of the airbrushed models it featured. Never again!

L Sass said...

Ugh, bull shit. It especially bugs me when a magazine that has a great platform to support HEALTHY choices sells out to crap products. Grr.

I am more of a Runner's World gal myself anyway.