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The Official Newsletter of
updated: March 13, 2006

Supplement Hype

by Ron Brown, author of The Body Fat Guide 

"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too." 
Washington DC


A BODYBUILDING magazine recently carried a multi-paged testimonial-style advertisement for a fat-burning supplement. The ad featured the usual before-and-after photos of a famous professional bodybuilder who went from being overweight to competition condition. What was interesting about this particular ad was that the weight and waist size of the bodybuilder was included along with the photos. 

According to the ad, the bodybuilder lost 55 pounds in 10 weeks (5.5 pounds a week), and went from 270 pounds, with a 44-inch waist, to 215 pounds with a 30-inch waist. Using the body composition tables in my book, The Body Fat Guide, the starting body fat percentage of this bodybuilder measured 22.98%, and his final condition was 3.93% body fat. 

He was able to lose 56 pounds of body fat and gain only 1 pound of muscle in 10 weeks. This is a good example of how difficult it is to gain muscle and lose body fat at the same time, despite the hype by supplement and fitness salespeople. 

But, more revealing is the fact that an athlete or anyone else who performs enough low-intensity aerobic activity while carefully restricting calorie intake could achieve the same body-fat loss results as this bodybuilder on a diet of normal

food without supplements! (See: Lose 1 LB. of Body Fat A Day). For example, athletes who burn 5,000 calories a day and eat around 1500-1800 calories could easily lose 5.5 pounds of body fat or more in one week.

Fat-burning supplements may slightly increase the amount of calories your body burns, but this is usually the result of irritating your system with toxic substances. This is similar to the effect of ingesting caffeine, nicotine, and narcotics. There is a risk of damaging your health when using these substances.

All nutritional experts agree that nutritional supplements cannot replace the natural nutrients in food; by definition, supplements can only supplement a normal diet. If you are eating proper amounts of healthy food in relation to the amount of calories your body burns, supplements aren't necessary to be adequately nourished, or to lose body fat. More importantly, if you aren't eating properly, supplements won't help! So why bother with them? 

Learn to measure and modify your calorie intake and expenditures in order to get the proper calorie balance to lose body fat, and avoid the expense, disappointment and dangers of so-called fat-burning supplements.

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