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05th Feb 2019

Celebrities should be banned from endorsing supplements, NHS says

NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis says the celebrity promotion of diet supplements has a detrimental effect on young people.

Alex Roberts

Celebrity supplement ads should be banned from appearing on social media, says the UK’s top doctor

According to NHS Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis, celebrity promotion of diet supplements has a detrimental effect on young people.

Speaking to the BBC, Prof Powis said:

“The risks of quick-fix weight loss outweigh the benefits, and advertising these products without a health warning is damaging.

“Highly influential celebrities are letting down the very people who look up to them, by peddling products which are at best ineffective and at worst harmful.”

Social media platforms make it easy to add filters and edit images, often blurring before and after photographs where a transformation is promoted. This has proven to be another reason why many are calling on social media giants to curtail celebrity endorsement.

Thankfully, there is now an increasing number of fitness influencers who have taken to social media to promote evidence-based health and wellness.

In particular, James Smith has gained a huge following for his no-BS approach to diet advice.

Supplements can work, but where and when is indicated by the name itself – to ‘supplement’ and add to your existing diet and training regime. They should not take priority over the meals you eat and the exercise you perform.

Some supplements are also more effective than others.

For example, whey protein, creatine monohydrate and fish oil have all been proven to aid goals such as muscle gain, fat loss and recovery from intense training.

Detox teas, on the other hand, have no discernible benefits despite social media seeming awash with them.

Ditching detox teas

In one study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, 22 people took either a detox supplement or a placebo.

Although there were few health risks, the research discovered no real benefits either.

In people who took the detox supps, there was no loss of body fat, no reduced waist circumference or ease of upset stomach symptoms. It was proof you are wiser looking after your wallet.

How do you really lose weight?

Regardless of whether your goal is muscle gain or fat loss, there are a few essentials you should nail first:

  • Regular weight training using progressive overload
  • A diet which adopts a slight calorie deficit
  • Consistent sleep pattern of six to eight hours per night

Getting to grips with these three main variables will help the vast majority of people get leaner and fitter. Proven supplements come in handy when you need some additional help – not a complete overhaul.

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