Buyer Beware

Celebrity trainer and fitness coach Fatima Zahra Mallick talks to Social Diary about the marketing gimmicks in the industry and how we can be safe! Give it a read!

By: Fatima Zahra Mallick

1. Detox products and “Cleansing” Juices/ Drinks
Don’t buy products that promise to “clean” your body from the inside! Your liver and your kidneys are your natural detox organs. The idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things. There is not a single scientific study to date that supports the idea of ‘detoxing’ and ‘body cleansing’ with juices/liquid diets. Besides, 90% of the weight loss on a juice cleanse or a detox diet is water. It comes back within 5 days of resuming a regular diet!
Eat sensibly instead! Don’t yo-yo between extreme diets/detoxes and french fries! Get in quality protein at each meal, eliminate junk food and all processed products (anything that is pre-packaged with a shelf life of over one month).
2. Diet Pills to increase metabolism + suppress hunger
This one is dangerous. The high levels of caffeine in certain diet pills can lead to heart attacks, organ failure and panic attacks/ mood swings.
Much like detoxes, diet pills are yet another marketing gimmick that makes customers dependent on a particular product. They lose a little weight, they stop, they gain! Genius from a business point of view but terrible for the health and self-esteem of clients!
Even worse, the high levels of stimulants in some diet pills can lead to addiction. Steer clear of these!!!
3. Super expensive “super foods” that are marketed as essential for wellness and weight loss.
Quinoa, chia seeds and Maca powder are great….but tomatoes, oranges, cucumbers, eggs and onions are not to be underestimated! We are surrounded by great local products. Eating well has to be sustainable. Just eat low on the food chain (fruits, vegetables, chicken/meat, eggs etc), don’t indulge in any junk food and swap fizzy drinks for water or home made lemonade.
My main problem with super foods is that they promote the notion that eating right is expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cabbage, spinach, turmeric, fresh red chilli and lentils are just some examples of locally available fresh products that are cheap, wonderfully nutrient rich and amazing for weight loss.
4. Fitness supplements
Protein shakes, nutrition bars and pre/post workout drinks are not needed by the average gym goer, working out for an hour, 4 to 5 times a week. Many trainers put them in meal plans as the supplement company gives them a commission on sales. Please remember, a trainer is NOT a nutritionist or health coach, unless they have a degree or a one year (minimum) diploma in nutrition. Consult a dietician or even your doctor before you start taking all the pills and shakes your training is forcing down your throat. Even for multivitamins, iron tablets etc. get your blood work done and show your GP before you start taking anything.