Of all of the supplement companies I get asked about, Advocare is the most common. I have stopped at Advocare booths numerous times at various trade shows and asked representatives easy nutrition questions; not one of them has ever been able to answer them.
A big reason for this is that to be an “expert” in Advocare, all you have to do is pay $79 to become a distributor. After becoming a distributor, a now “expert” can use the sales tactic of supposedly having the best scientists and doctors in the world formulating the best products in the world. I am unaware of any top scientist, doctor, or supplement competition. I am only aware of one study done with advocare products. A truer statement would be that Advocare pays their “experts” to say Advocare is the best.
The next biggest selling point Advocare distributors use is that Drew Brees is a spokesman for Advocare, and he does not get paid. Yes, Mr. Brees does not get paid, but the Drew Brees Foundation and his wife sure do. Lebron James endorses Coke, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts. Celebrities are not endorsing products because they believe in or even take them; they are doing it for the money! Then you will get the “my brother’s friend lost 24 pounds and 17 inches in 24 days” sales pitch. I will admit there is one good aspect of Advocare: along with taking the supplements, healthy eating and exercise is recommended. But you are going to get great results from healthy eating and exercise whether you are taking Advocare or not. If you lose weight while on Advocare, DO NOT give the credit to those pills or powders. YOU deserve the credit for moving more and eating better. You would be much better served to take the money you are wasting on Advocare, or products like it, and buy more healthy foods. It is not the supplements causing the improvements; it is the change in lifestyle.
Advocare sells a large number of products. I am going to break down a few of their top selling products, so you can understand exactly what you are getting from Advocare. Their top selling product, Spark, is an energy drink. The first red-flag ingredient in Spark is sucralose. While the Advocare salesman I spoke to says sucralose is a slow burning sugar that is good for the body, sucralose is actually an artificial sweetener made by combining chlorine and table sugar to make a chemical your body does not know how to digest. You do not get calories from it, but you still absorb it into your tissues and it can cause health problems. A human’s digestive system has about 75 trillion healthy bacteria living in it; these healthy bacteria digest nutrients, strengthen the immune system, and are, therefore, required for life. Recent studies indicate sucralose kills these bacteria. Sucralose was banned in the US until FDA approval in 1998. It has only been on the market for a very short time, making it impossible to know all the long term effects of sucralose. Reported adverse health effects related to sucralose ingestion range from gastrointestinal problems, seizures, dizziness, migraines, blurred vision, weight gain, and blood sugar elevation to allergic reactions. Just like Trans fats are currently being banned, I guarantee sucralose will be banned from the market in my lifetime.
Spark’s ingredients list claims a variety of vitamins. Another common sales pitch is “our soils are depleted and you just do not get enough nutrients from food”. Even if this is true, you cannot replace whole food vitamins with synthetic vitamins, because they are not the same. While vitamins that come from food are very healthy, synthetic vitamins are made from chemicals in a lab, are very unhealthy, and should be avoided. One example is cyanocobalamin, which is a chemically made vitamin B12 that does not exist in any animal or plant on the planet. If you ever see this ingredient on a label, you should avoid it. You can get much more of the exact same vitamins found in Spark by buying the cheapest multivitamin Walmart or K-Mart sells. When it comes to food, nature is never wrong; your vitamins need to come from nature. A good vitamin will be made from whole foods and be in the exact same structure as it is found in food.
I will admit Spark gives you energy and makes you feel good for a period of time. This is because each serving of Spark has 120mg of caffeine. To have a point of comparison, a shot of espresso is 40-75mg of caffeine. 120mg is a lot of caffeine! Having this much caffeine multiple times a day can lead to hormone problems from adrenal fatigue. If you want a caffeine rush, you can save a lot of money by buying a bottle of 100 caffeine pills for under $5 at a gas station. If anyone ever recommends you give Spark to a child, be assured you are talking to a buffoon. Would you ever give a child a double espresso?
Another selling tactic used to sell Spark is that it contains amino acids and choline. Amino acids chained together form proteins. Every food you eat has amino acids and protein in it. Eating an egg, nuts, or meat provides more amino acids than exist in Spark.
So in a nut shell, Spark provides: artificial sweetener, caffeine, synthetic vitamins, and a couple amino acids. You can get the exact same feeling by washing down a caffeine and Centrum pill with a glass of sugar-free Kool-aid…for a fraction of the cost.
The next product we will look at is Advocare’s Omegaplex fish oil. I recently heard an Advocare salesman pitch claiming a lot of inferior fish oils turned to water after you freeze them…. to even mention something so absurd is beyond me. It is not possible to convert any fat to water through freezing. All of the carbons would have to magically disappear in the freezer somehow.
The only reason to take any supplement is because you are not getting enough in your diet. Americans are woefully deficient in consuming enough omega-3 fats and, therefore, need to take fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids come from eating wild game, grass fed cows, and fish. All of these animals have the omega-3’s EPA, DHA, and DPA.
Plant sources of omega-3s are in an ALA form which your body must convert to EPA, DHA, and DPA. Your body is very poor at this conversion which is why the animal source is so much better. When it comes to food, nature is never wrong. It is always best to get all your nutrients from food or from supplements that contain the nutrients exactly as they would exist in nature. If you were to eat a piece of salmon, the omega-3s would contain EPA, DHA, DPA, and they would all be in a triglyceride form.
Advocare Omegaplex has EPA and DHA only, and they are in an ethyl ester form. Ethyl ester omega-3s do not exist in any food source on the planet. It is biosynthetic oil that is much cheaper to produce than the natural form. When you read studies about fish oil supplements not having any health benefits it is because they are using the ethyl ester fish oil in their study. Advocare Omegaplex is the same quality as the cheap fish oil you can get at Sam’s Club or Walgreens. Advocare experts will say differently, but all you have to do is read a label to know the truth. If you’d like to read about how to choose the best fish oil product I wrote an article about it here.
Lastly, Advocare is ridiculously overpriced. With multi-level marketing (MLM) there is a pyramid system where one person sells under another who is under another and so on (they will claim it is not a pyramid…but it is, simple as that). The only way for each person to get a cut is if the prices are ridiculously high to begin with. On a side note, over 95% of people who become Advocare distributors lose money.
Now I realize I only reviewed two Advocare products. I review more in part 2 of this article. I think it is safe to say that if their two top sellers are this bad, the rest cannot be anything too special.
The ultimate goal must be better health. The whole purpose of losing weight is to improve your health, be it physical or mental. Healthy weight loss does not come from taking any MLM product. Weight loss or improved health is not about adding a powder or pill. It comes from finding a powerful reason for changing your life and then committing to a change in lifestyle. This change must be maintained forever.
I do not benefit in any way whether you do or do not spend your money on Advocare, Herbalife, Isagenix, Plexus, Amway or any MLM product. (P.S. They all use the exact same sales pitches. Isn’t it fascinating how Herbalife, Advocare, Plexus, and Isagenix all have the best doctors, scientists, and nutritionists developing their products?) Every single MLM distributor I have ever spoken to from any company has said they have the best, safest, most researched, healthiest products available. They are all wrong! I am not trying to sell you anything; I just want you to stop wasting your money on bad products when you could be spending it on food. If you have a friend or co-worker that is incessantly pressuring you to buy their ridiculously over-priced products, feel free to send this to them.
I speak to thousands of people yearly about nutrition. Just imagine how much money I could make if during each presentation I got a handful of people to sell MLM products under me. I would be making money hand over fist. I would also be unethical and scamming the people I care about. I feel it is much healthier to live life with a smaller checking account and a clean conscience.