From dieting trends to everyday supplements, there are so many controversial health supplements out there. I’m sure you all love Dr. Oz like I do, but might wonder if all those supplements really do the job they claim to. Or, you might have even heard controversy on everyday supplements you’ve used for years. Whatever the case, I’ve rounded up the most controversial health supplements that I hear about the most on a day to day basis and wanted to share the most important things to know about each.
1. Garcinia Cambogia
This popular diet supplement is one of the most recent controversial health supplements to be wary of. It’s said to help you lose weight rapidly and promises everything in the book, as most do. What you need to know about this herbal supplement is it can increase your heart rate, which leads to thermogenic burn, but it might also cause a tad bit of anxiety, or even heart issues. It might make you jittery, or even tired from stressing out your adrenals. If you ask me, that's just not worth it! This supplement has not been proven to provide long lasting weight loss through a wide range of people, so if I were you, I wouldn't waste my money on it. A healthy diet and exercise, a cup of plain coffee, or a cup of green tea are all much better ways to nourish your health and give your metabolism a boost.
DHEA, or 7 KETO DHEA, is a hormone supplement often recommended for women of menopausal age, or who have low levels of hormones. DHEA stands for dehydroepiandrosterone, and is a hormone produced by your body's adrenal glands. It can help increase energy, build muscle, stimulate metabolism, fight aging, and aid in a sense of well being. Naturally, your body already produces DHEA, but as you age, it does decline. It can also be sold as 7 KETO DHEA (a formula targeted at weight loss), or wild yam or soy extract, which targets your estrogen levels and menstrual health. DHEA increases both levels of testosterone and estrogen, which start to peak at our mid 20s, but dip in our early 30s where it continues to decline through menopause. To decide whether this supplement is right for you, be sure to talk to your doctor and do your research before investing in DHEA. As someone who has gone through menopause way too early in life, I actually have found it to help me and my hormone levels on so many levels, and chose to use this instead of prescription birth control pills for hormone reasons not associated with pregnancy. I haven’t had any negative side effects, but everyone is different and you should make the decision that is best for you and your body. To learn more about DHEA, visit WebMD at webmd.com.
3. Raspberry Ketones
I hate to tell you, but this is one supplement not to waste your money on, hun! It’s one supplement I tell people to stay away from, no matter what the media says about it. If this were really the secret to weight loss, don’t you think it would have solved everyone’s weight problems by now? Besides, this supplement wasn't needed centuries ago to help people lose weight. People were simply active, ate real food, and didn’t overeat. That’s the trick to weight loss, not a supplement made from a chemically derived food extract. I bet you also didn’t know that raspberry ketones are actually found in many common foods such as cranberries, blackberries, and of course, red raspberries. I say, just eat your fruit and call it a day. Besides, the studies done with raspberry ketones have been done on mice, not humans. I’m not relying on anything that comes in a bottle that’s only been tested on mice, are you?
I never thought we’d hear the day when multivitamins were considered controversial, but alas, they are now. Multivitamins have recently been touted as unnecessary. I have to tell you, I find this a little disturbing. For one, most people don’t get a well-balanced diet enough to meet their nutritional needs. Not getting certain vitamins and minerals like magnesium, Vitamin D, calcium, Vitamin A, and B vitamins, just to name a few, can lead to many health problems. Taking a high quality multivitamin is one of the best ways to ensure your needs are met. The trick is to take a multivitamin that is whole food based, not one made from synthetic chemicals.
5. Protein Powders
Some people hate ‘em, and others love ‘em. Whether you’re on board the protein powder train or not, I’m sure you’ve heard of the controversy over them, right? Protein powders can be unhealthy or healthy, all depending how they are made and their ingredient list. The best thing to do in order to decide if they’re right for you is consider if you get enough protein in your diet, or like protein-rich foods enough to eat them. For instance, I’m not a meat eater, nor do I really crave eggs or fish every day. I also can’t afford them on a regular basis from high quality sources. I don’t like or tolerate beans and most grains outside of oats, therefore my chances for getting enough protein are left to nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and organic yogurt. Not much to choose from, right? Therefore, for me, a high quality, raw protein powder is actually quite helpful. It helps me get my needed protein from a good, clean source. Don’t buy highly refined protein powers though. They’ll do your body more harm than good. I like Sunwarrior Raw Warrior Blend protein, along with Philosophie Green Dream vegan protein. Both are raw, organic, grain-free, and incredibly good for your body. They’re also full of all essential amino acids, and per serving, it's less than $1 for what I could spend to eat an egg or a 4 ounce piece of meat or fish. To me, that makes it worth it, considering how easy they are to use in a smoothie, in yogurt, or just stirred into a pudding with a little almond milk. Most protein powders are made from whey, soy, egg, hemp, brown rice, sprouted grains and seeds, spirulina, or a combination of those. Be sure when you choose a protein powder it’s preferably raw or cold processed and has no added sugar. It also should not be made with a lot of fillers or synthetics. This will give you a good source of protein from a reputable, reliable source.
6. Green Powders
Raw green superfood powders have hit the market with a huge force. They’re also a favorite of mine, but they get a good bit of controversy despite their popularity. Many people think they’re unnecessary, while some think they’re just too pricey. I think both opinions can be right, but not for everyone. For instance, for someone who lives a busy lifestyle and doesn’t like fooling with a lot of food prep, a clean, raw, and organic green superfood powder can really help boost their nutrition in a fast, convenient way. Or, if children don’t like a lot of vegetables or perhaps you don’t, then these powders can easily be masked or flavored well in a superfood smoothie. Plus, per serving, they’re actually cheaper than the amount of vegetables it would take to give you that much nutrition. I eat my veggies and use green powders, but you certainly don’t need these powders to thrive. What you do need is to eat a diet high in green vegetables and leafy greens and always choose simple, whole foods over fast food or processed junk food. This is good advice anyone can use. My favorite green superfood powders usually include ingredients like spirulina, wheatgrass, spinach, kale, maca, cacao, and acai, just to name a few. My favorite blends containing these are Amazing Grass Green Superfood, along with Bright Earth Superfoods Rainbow Superfood Smoothie Mix, and Bright Earth Foods Raw Superfood Green Smoothie Mix.
7. Coconut Oil
The “weight loss miracle oil” we all hear so much about gets more controversy than ever before it seems. Coconut oil has become a go-to for anyone looking to drop weight fast and enhance their health. Here’s what you need to know though: while it can help you lose weight, dousing all your food in it will not magically make the pounds slip away. The thing about coconut oil is it is a good fat for your body. It will raise your energy levels, contribute to a higher metabolism, and boost your brain health, but it’s still an oil- not a whole food. It shouldn’t be used in substitution to whole foods, but instead, added to them. Perhaps top your oatmeal with a teaspoon of this delicious oil, or stir it into your coffee for a creamy option. Cook your vegetables in a teaspoon or two. It’s great to use this food with your meals, but don’t eat it straight out of the jar and expect to lose 10 pounds in a week. It’s most likely not going to happen, and some people find all that oil upsets their stomach. As with anything, use this with moderation.
If you’re looking to add some of these supplements to your diet, I hope you’ll do your research first. Then, make the best decision for you, your lifestyle, and your budget. Do you use any of these in your daily life? How do they work for you?