Opinion | Herbalife vitamin bars provide teas loaded with empty guarantees

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Whether it’s Peachy Keen, Turtle Cheesecake, Watermelon Sugar, Bahama Mama, and Butterscotch Cookie, you’ve probably seen it advertised.

If you’ve lived in Tuscaloosa for the past two years, you may have noticed an upswing in nutrition clubs around town promoting these evocatively named drinks with the promise of energy boost and weight loss.

In rare cases, however, these products meet these nutritional promises.

Instead, lure these clubs, owned and operated by Herbalife dealers, in with new, colorful preparations of pseudo-nutritional beverages and ask them to check in on Facebook at 7:15 am each morning to boast about spending Get more than “Fix” $ 12 for a loaded tea and meal replacement shake.

According to the Herbalife Nutrition Club websiteThere are six of these clubs in Tuscaloosa alone, each with a catchy name that never includes the word “Herbalife,” a misleading marketing technique that washes away the stink of the company’s reputation from each club.

As a multi-level marketing company, Herbalife has a sordid history that includes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal fines, harmful marketing practices targeting low-income, minority communities, and unfair compensation for its distributors.

Herbalife was controversial from the start, and as the company grew, so did the financial uncertainty of those who chose the trick.

The Federal Trade Commission announced In 2016, Herbalife had to pay its consumers, who lost money investing in the company, $ 200 million while ordering them to restructure its business in a way that is more equitable for its buyers.

In addition, Herbalife agreed to pay $ 123 million last August settlement After the Justice Department found that they illegally bribed Chinese officials, the company was prosecuted by the federal government for the third time in four years.

In the 2016 Netflix documentary “Betting on Zero”, Herbalife traders lament their economic turmoil after they were guaranteed financial success. Many of them are only getting pennies on the dollar even after the FTC ruling.

Financial inadequacies aside, clinical researchers published one in 2012 items on Herbalife products and their reported effects on liver toxicity, indicating that the link was “very likely”.

Time and again, Herbalife has proven to be nothing more than a Ponzi program that markets its products under deceptive conditions, regardless of the financial and health burden on consumers.

Maria Azrad, assistant professor of nutrition at the university, described some of the nutritional information about Herbalife website as “probably gross exaggerations. “

The website recommends replacing two meals a day with one of the Formula 1 shakes of around 200 calories each, eating a healthy meal while using nutritious snacks for proper calorie intake.

Azrad pointed out that this is an unrealistic endeavor for the consumer and that it is not a long-term solution to weight loss.

“A normal, healthy adult has an energy requirement between 1800 and 2000 calories per day. If he’s trying to lose weight, he can realistically reduce his caloric intake to 1500 calories a day. While following such a plan can result in constant weight loss and even maintenance, it is likely not due directly to this product, it is simply an absolute reduction in total caloric intake. “

As for the laden teas, Azrad was surprised to see maltodextrin and fructose, albeit in small amounts, as the first two ingredients listed.

“Maltodextrin, a processed starch, and fructose, a naturally occurring starch, can lead to a higher glycemic response compared to a cup of tea with no sugar,” she said.

Some of the laden teas found in the nutrition clubs contain approximately 160 mg of caffeineThis is equivalent to what you would get in roughly two cups of coffee. According to Azrad, it’s not the tea itself that boosts the metabolism as the website claims, but the addition of the caffeine that only provides a short-term effect for an expensive product.

“If you’re looking for a good cup of tea with antioxidants and caffeine, just drink green tea from the grocery store with a tea bag, which is a cheaper alternative,” Azrad said.

Not only can you buy a cheaper drink and get the same effect, pharmacist Sara McCullough says you can count on over-the-counter supplements too.

“Most of the vitamins and minerals found in Herbalife products are available at a grocery store pharmacy for a fraction of the cost,” said McCullough Teas for someone looking to boost their immune system. ”

While the independent distributors and club owners may be ethical, hardworking individuals, the company itself is stuck with corruption and mendacity. Herbalife sacrifices the well-being of the consumer on the altar of toxic capitalism, and its business model is based on exploitation and submission.

A company that sells health and wellness products that offer minimal health benefits at a high cost is nothing more than an outright scam.

Herbalife has further demonstrated that it puts profit over truth, and it depends on consumers remaining unconscious and uninformed. It will continue to thrive as it reinvents itself to stay in the mainstream market, but it’s up to the public to be knowledgeable consumers. The exotic teas and shakes with dessert motifs form the glittering veneer of the company and protect against corruption and manipulation.

As the old saying goes: Everything that glitters is not gold. Or healthy.