Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Ask Will: Is there anything to Plexus and Advocare?

Dear Will,

My Facebook and email are covered in ads for plexus and advocare. 

What is it? What is it supposed to do? Anything to the hype?


Hi Tricia, thank you so much for this question! 

The business model for these products amounts to pyramid schemes run by two companies that both specialize in “multilevel marketing”. But instead of selling Amway swag, they’re enrolling what they call “Ambassadors” to go out and sell unregulated, untested supplements to people desperate for solutions.

Can you trust the comments of people whose income depends on your “buying” their claims? Of course not. Would people over-hype their product just to get you to buy it? Of course they would. 

You would do better to trust clinical trials, and randomized placebo controlled research. 

But how much research would you guess there is on either of these products (HINT: it’s a nice round number). 

That would be zero. 
  •          There are no published data on the safety of either of them.
  •          There are no published data on the effectiveness of either of them.
  •          There are no FDA regulations to keep them from putting added drugs or adulterated elements in them.

That said, the FDA has sent a warning letter to Tarl Robinson (the CEO of Plexus Worldwide in Scottsdale AZ) due to their unfounded claims about the health benefits of the supplements he has to sell. That's who we're dealing with.

Clearly, these companies have a pyramid scheme business model first. Next they just need to get a product to plug into that. Since supplements are unregulated, you can seriously put almost anything in there and put anything on the label and sell it to anyone for any price. 

This is ideal for a company that is high on hype without the pesky and unfortunate burden of accountability.

By contrast, neither of these companies started out as health-oriented companies dedicated to making people well. They didn’t set out to perfect a dietary approach though years of research, and then settle on a way to get it out to people.  

Bottom line? You have every reason in the world to expect this to be a scam. It looks like a scam. It acts like a scam. It smells like a scam.  

In fact, hypothetically of course, if you were a bad person who would set out to design a scam on purpose to lure unsuspecting people in to purchase your product, this is exactly what you would do. 

But what about the actual stuff in these supplements? 

AdvoCare for example, has a “cleanse phase” with ingredients that are basically glorified laxatives. So you can lose water weight. Although at high levels this can also contribute to electrolyte imbalances. The AdvoCare plan also encourages the consumption of energy drinks, which is absurd.

Plexus Slim is a supplement that says it contains 200 mcg chromium, and some combination of chlorogenic acid (from green coffee Caffee bean) extract, garcinia cambogia extract, alpha lipoic acid, polydextrose, citric acid, natural flavors, beet extract (for color), Stevia extract, Luo han guo extract.

Again, there are no studies on this mixture. Nevertheless, this multilevel marketing company seems to have thrown a number of ingredients into one package because they have been used as weight loss supplements in the past (alpha lipoic acid, chlorogenic acid, garcinia cambogia).  

Tricia, a better solution for weight control -- not to mention health! -- is to eat real food, and eat that in control. Move every chance you get, and make that activity something you love  
doing. Let me know your thoughts!!

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

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