I’m Calling BS
Q: Ok, let me have it. My Mom asked me about these new Ensure over 40 shakes promising to help regain muscle. Total BS?
Protein looks low to me and I’m sure they add all kinds of unnecessary crap to them. Having said that, even my many attempts at “see how easy it is to make virtually the same thing you’re buying in that microwavable package, only so much better” have come up short.
So assume convincing her to use protein powder and fresh or frozen fruits and veggies tossed in a magic bullet is a long shot – she’s more likely to grab something like this and drink it if handy. Thoughts?
A: I’m totally calling BS, and this is exactly the type of foo-foo, magic pill nonsense that drives me up the wall.
For starters, click HERE for the press release/smoke and mirrors show. A few things to note:
Claim: Clinical research shows that starting at the age of 40, people can start to lose eight percent of muscle mass per decade, which can lead to loss of strength and mobility.
Why They’re Idiots: Clinical research also shows that those who are physically active – even after the age of 40 – DO NOT lose upwards of eight percent of muscle mass per decade; or, at the very least, the incidence of muscle loss is vastly reduced.
Claim: When diet and exercise aren’t enough, Ensure Muscle Health shakes support muscle health with (insert obligatory proprietary blend here), and 13 grams of protein to help rebuild muscle lost naturally over time.
Why They’re Idiots: Uh, you can’t just make muscle out of thin air. What’s more, just because you ingest 13 grams of protein doesn’t mean the body is just going to get diesel. Sure, taking in adequate protein IS important to help maintain muscle mass, but you’re not just going to ADD muscle by drinking a protein shake. With regards to bone and “muscle health” you need what’s called a Minimal Essential Strain (EMS) in order to elicit a response from the body.
You want to keep muscle mass (not to mention build stronger bones)? Lift some (appreciable) weights. What makes muscle, keeps muscle. I’m not saying that everyone has to go out and put 300 lbs on their back or toss around some Atlas stones (although that would be pretty cool), but it stands to reason that those 10 lb pink dumbbells and water aerobics classes aren’t going to cut it.
Claim: Revigor (that sounds tasty) is a source of HMB, a naturally-occurring amino acid metabolite found in foods such as catfish and avocados. I helps protect muscle cells, preserve muscle tissue, and promote muscle growth.
Why I Need to Fight the Urge to Wash My Face With Broken Glass:
If I wanted to get geeky about it, I could drop a Davis’s Law and Wolff’s Law reference into the mix, which state, among other things, that soft tissue (muscle) and bone will adapt to the loads it is placed under.
Similarly, my good friend Bret Contreras had a really great quote the other day in an article he wrote:
Strong evidence suggests that the results you see in the gym are highly dependent on the efficacy of satellite cell-mediated myonuclear addition. In laymen’s terms, your muscles won’t grow unless the satellite cells surrounding your muscle fibers donate their nuclei to your muscles so they can produce more genetic material to signal the cells to grow.
In short, you need to lift things off the ground in order to make (and maintain) muscle. A simple shake won’t do the job.
Claim: Both new Ensure shakes are an excellent source of 24 essential vitamins and minerals and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh: First of all, who says saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for you? Saturated fat is actually vital in terms of making just about every hormone in the body, not to mention allows us to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Second of all, it’s pretty well established in the literature that dietary cholesterol has little (if any) effect on serum cholesterol levels. But whatever.
More importantly, however, are the ingredients. Okay, cool, each shake provides 24 “essential vitamins and minerals.” Here’s what else it provides:
WATER, SUGAR (SUCROSE), CORN MALTODEXTRIN, SODIUM CASEINATE, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY OIL, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, CORN OIL, COCOA POWDER (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), POTASSIUM CITRATE, CALCIUM BETA-HYDROXY-BETA-METHYLBUTYRATE, CANOLA OIL; LESS THAN 0.5% OF: WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GEL, SOY LECHITHIN, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, ASCORBIC ACID, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CELLULOSE GUM, CARRAGEENAN, SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE), DL-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, FERRIC PHOSPHATE, GELLAN GUM, ZINC SULFATE, NIACINAMIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, CUPRIC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, THIAMINE CHLORIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENATE, POTASSIUM IODIDE, PHYLLOQUINONE, CYANOCOBALAMIN AND VITAMIN D3
Is that a shake or a chemistry experiment. Scrumptious!!!!
At the end of the day, is it really that big of a deal that she drinks the shake? No. I understand that they’re convenient and that they’re are worse things she could be drinking (I think). All I’m saying is that people need to be cognizant of the outrageous claims that some of these products spew out. Besides a simple glass of milk is waaaaaaay cheaper.
There are NO magic pills out there. To say that by drinking this shake alone you’ll add muscle is like me saying “I’m going to do these bicep curls and Jessica Alba will want to make out with me.”
See! I can make outrageous claims, too!