We recently received an email pitch from FRS, a beverage company affiliated with Lance Armstrong, Tim Tebow and other super sport stars. We decided this would be a good opportunity to conduct an exercise in critical reading, to sharpen our nutrition comprehension skills. Join us, will you?
The email blast announced the launch of
two groundbreaking new beverages: Healthy Slim™, to support weight loss, and Healthy Defense™, for immune system support. Both products feature innovative ingredients, backed by strong clinical evidence…
Sounds exciting, let’s learn some more about Healthy Slim. After all, the opening seems promising, like it really can help people lose weight. And indeed, it can, the next portion says so black on white:
Take charge of your weight loss with Healthy Slim!
Formulated with ingredients proven to help curb appetite and increase energy levels, this new beverage will help consumers achieve their healthy weight goals.
How did FRS achieve this feat?
Healthy Slim is the first beverage in North America to feature quercetin combined with Slendesta, a natural vegetable protein that signals fullness to the brain, reducing hunger to help you eat less and feel satisfied sooner.
Ah, that’s how. They found not one, but two (!!!) awesome ingredients and combined them.
Next comes a smart quote from an “expert”. This is someone with nutrition credentials who will lend credibility to the pitch and make the product seem even more awesome than we could have imagined:
“Almost daily, I hear from my athletes, clients or colleagues about another quick fix diet, weight loss product or unproven claim that has failed to be effective, or worse, has side effects. So, it’s very exciting FRS is offering safe, natural ingredients which have been shown to help manage weight”, said Rikki Keen, Sports Dietician. “Healthy Slim is most beneficial when consumed prior to a meal or between meals to assist with portion control, a challenge in today’s society where overly large portions of fatty foods and sugary drinks are common,” noted Keen.
This drink is of course, not a quick fix. No, this is the real deal.
Here are some more exciting benefits of said product:
· Available in two low calorie flavors: Strawberry Melon and Tropical
· 20 calories
· Gluten-free and non-GMO
· No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
· Slendesta® – a vegetable protein clinically proven to curb appetite
· Fiber –8% of consumers’ daily fiber to help you feel fuller longer
· Quercetin–a powerful natural antioxidant that helps you burn more calories by producing sustained natural energy and endurance
· 7 Essential Vitamins – including vitamin C, E, B6 and B12
Blah blah blah…
What you need to know:
Folks, this is marketing at its “Finest”. Let’s take a look at the ingredient list to figure out what’s going on here:
The reason this is a low calorie drink is because it is artificially sweetened with Splenda and Acesulfame-K. These controversial chemicals are the last thing an athlete would want to ingest. If the fact that this product is non GMO tickled your fancy, then you cannot agree to lab-made sweeteners in your drink.
Citrus fruits, apples, parsely and onions are good natural sources of Quercetin, a type of antioxidant that is boasted in this product. Note that the FDA has not approved any health claims relating to it. There are hundreds of different antioxidants in real food. So why not consume them instead of zooming in on just one?
As for Slendesta, it’s snake oil. Only instead of snakes, it comes from white potatoes. The extract is manufactured by Des Moines, Iowa based Kemin Industries. Kemin is touting a protein in Slendesta that is supposed to trick the brain into thinking you are not hungry. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no substantiated evidence for this.
Bottom line: the press pitch for FRS’s new product line is well written and the accompanying product images look gorgeous too. And the roster of star athletes, yowza!!! Too bad the empty promises cannot be backed up with any real facts. Too bad, too many gullible people will actually buy this product.
What to do at the supermarket:
If you are an elite athlete who needs to power herself before, during, and after a run, you can afford a caloric sweetener in your beverage. For the rest of us, including 30 minutes on a treadmill in the morning, a glass or two of water is good enough. We’ll get plenty of replenishment from that and a banana.