Are the diet pills and supplements you take to offset that midnight chalupa habit doing you any favors? You wouldn’t be alone in wondering. All over the world, people buy pills or supplements in hopes of preventing disease, improving their health, and losing weight. But do any of them really work?
Welcome to Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show where Jordan and fact-checker, comedian, and podcast host David C. Smalley break down a topic that you may have never thought about, open things up, and debunk common misconceptions.
On This Week’s Skeptical Sunday, We Discuss:
- With 40% of Americans being obese, 70% overweight, and 100% duped by corporate greed for an easy, instant solution, it’s no wonder diet pills and supplements are pitched as the greatest thing since sliced bread (and the bread is probably how you got like that).
- A self-administered injection of semaglutide (popularly branded as Wegovy or Ozempic) can provide up to 17% weight loss at a cost of over $1,300 per month. Side effects include possible thyroid tumors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, kidney damage, and stomach pain.
- Fat blockers can reduce fat intake by 30%, but the weight loss is typically only around six pounds over two years.
- The diet supplement industry is largely unregulated by the FDA, so there’s a risk of potentially harmful, unlabeled ingredients sneaking past protective scrutiny.
- Over-the-counter diet supplements are often BS, but green tea is a natural weight loss aid that can help block fat, suppress appetite, and help people lose weight.
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you have something you’d like us to tackle here on Skeptical Sunday, drop Jordan a line at email@example.com and let him know!
- Connect with David at his website, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and make sure to check out The David C. Smalley Podcast here or wherever you enjoy listening to fine podcasts! If you like to get out of your house and catch live comedy, keep an eye on David’s tour dates here and text David directly at (424) 306-0798 for tickets when he comes to your town!
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Peloton: Learn more at onepeloton.com/row
Miss the conversation we had with counterfeiting investigator Kris Buckner? Catch up with episode 308: Kris Buckner | Who Does Counterfeiting Really Hurt? here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Get to Know Wegovy | Novo Nordisk
- Yet Another Study Says Vitamin Supplements Don’t Work | Discover Magazine
- Vitamins and Supplements Are Unregulated and Potentially Dangerous | Business Insider
- Dietary Supplement Use Reaches All-Time High | Council for Responsible Nutrition
- Americans Spend $30 Billion a Year Out-of-Pocket on Complementary Health Approaches | NCCIH
- Most Vitamin Supplements Are Useless, According to New Study | Business Insider
- Another Study Shows That Supplements Don’t Work, May Cause Harm | Treehugger
- Breaking Down the Vitamin Absorption Chart: How Vitamins Are Absorbed | Patch MD
- What You Need to Know about Dietary Supplements | FDA
- 80 Percent of Vitamin C Is Imported from China. Is it Safe? | HuffPost Impact
- The Frequency and Characteristics of Dietary Supplement Recalls in the United States | JAMA Internal Medicine
- Presence of Banned Drugs in Dietary Supplements Following FDA Recalls | JAMA Network
- GNC Settles Dietary Supplements Case With US Government | Business Insider
- DMAA in Products Marketed as Dietary Supplements | FDA
- Supplements Containing Female Libido Booster Addyi Recalled | STAT News
- FDA Warns of Potential Contamination in Multiple Brands of Drugs, Dietary Supplements | FDA
805: Diet Pills and Supplements | Skeptical Sunday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Peloton for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:08] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger, and this is Skeptical Sunday, a special edition of The Jordan Harbinger Show, where fact checker and comedian David C. Smalley and I break down a topic that you may have never thought about, open things up and debunk common misconceptions — topics such as why the Olympics are kind of a sham, why expiration dates on food are nonsense, why tipping makes no sense and might even be a little bit racist, recycling, banned foods, toothpaste, chemtrails, and a whole lot more.
[00:00:33] Normally, on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills, the world's most fascinating people, and we turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of really incredible people, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
[00:00:51] If you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on this show — topics like persuasion and Influence, technology, futurism, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or look in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:13] On this episode of Skeptical Sunday, we're going to address weight loss pills and supplements. You know, the stuff you take after you eat a ton of Taco Bell junk food to pretend you didn't just do some real damage with those chalupas. All over the world, people by pills or supplements in hopes of preventing disease, improving their health, and of course losing weight. But what really works and is it worth it? Skeptic comedian, David C. Smalley is here to weigh in.
[00:01:36] David C. Smalley: Damn, already.
[00:01:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's going to be a good one.
[00:01:39] David C. Smalley: Okay, so let's just start at the beginning of all this. I mean, you know, you're fat. That's it. You know—
[00:01:46] Jordan Harbinger: Just me, okay, got it. Okay.
[00:01:48] David C. Smalley: Yeah, that's the whole thing.
[00:01:49] Jordan Harbinger: Just humans in general know they're fat.
[00:01:50] David C. Smalley: You just know. Yeah.
[00:01:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:01:52] David C. Smalley: You just get constant reminders throughout the day, like when you have to hold your breath to tie your shoes.
[00:01:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Okay.
[00:01:57] David C. Smalley: That's one of the hints. You make those grunt noises every time you stand up. We see a pattern here. You see someone skinnier than you saying they need to lose weight. That's a little frustrating.
[00:02:08] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:02:08] David C. Smalley: You ever drop something in public? Consider leaving it there. Okay.
[00:02:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:02:11] David C. Smalley: These are the signs you might need to lose a little weight.
[00:02:16] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I think the grunting when getting up is something that switches on at age 40. I do it even though getting up for me is relatively easy and painless, even from a fully seated position. It's a dad rite of passage.
[00:02:28] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:02:29] Jordan Harbinger: I will argue that. Anyway—
[00:02:30] David C. Smalley: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:02:31] Jordan Harbinger: —continue.
[00:02:31] David C. Smalley: It has a lot to do with being in shape and having the energy. And believe it or not, even if you're not hugely overweight, if you're not actively working out, you know, it gets a lot harder to not grunt. You know, it's not just a rite of passage. Sometimes it's a necessity to keep your bones together. And true story, and I tell this on stage at my shows. I was at lunch one time and this really happened to me. I was at lunch one time, just eating. And I must have been enjoying myself because my watch congratulated me on the workout.
[00:03:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:03:01] David C. Smalley: Like, do you know how fast you got to be shoveling food into your face for your heart to think you're suddenly on an elliptical?
[00:03:07] Jordan Harbinger: That's dangerous. When you are getting your heart rate up because you are like cartoon speed, inhaling something.
[00:03:14] David C. Smalley: Yeah, it was embarrassing.
[00:03:15] Jordan Harbinger: Looney Tunes speed eating to get that done. That's ridiculous.
[00:03:19] David C. Smalley: But again, another hint that I need to chill out and make a change. And look, 40 percent of Americans are technically obese and 70 percent, including that 40, 70 percent are overweight. 70 percent of Americans are overweight. We are literally the fattest country on the planet. And by the way, with 100 percent of America being duped by corporate greed, there's no wonder that, you know, these weight loss pills are being pitched as the greatest thing since sliced bread. And by the way, the bread is probably how you got like that.
[00:03:52] Jordan Harbinger: Well, yeah, being hungry and sweating is just too much work.
[00:03:55] David C. Smalley: It sucks to sweat.
[00:03:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:57] David C. Smalley: And it feels terrible to be hungry. And we're in this phase of humanity where instant gratification is king. You can have food delivered to your face in 12 minutes, and we don't have to chase any. It makes sense. So, of course, a weight loss pill sounds like the perfect remedy, so I get it.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: So is there any truth at all to a pill or a drug or a supplement that can make you lose weight?
[00:04:20] David C. Smalley: Okay, so not really, but kind of, but also, yes, but sometimes.
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: You know, yeah, I love it when you just clear things up like that, David. That's why you're here.
[00:04:32] David C. Smalley: Yeah, that's what I'm here for. Just to make things easy to understand. So it depends on what you mean by weight and how long you want to keep it off, how much weight you want to lose, how fast you want to lose that weight, how much faster the pill's going to make you lose weight than not taking the pill, and how much other work you're willing to put in. Because a lot of these pills will say, works with diet and exercise, and you're like, then what do I need the pill for?
[00:04:56] So I'm personally advocating for an induced-coma weight loss program. I mean, have you seen these people? They wake up in the ICU 30 days of a liquid diet. They had some traumatic, awful thing happen. Their family thought they were going to die, but they look amazing.
[00:05:12] Jordan Harbinger: So we should just have clinics where we go to, where we volunteer to be put into a medically induced coma. I can't possibly find anything wrong with this plan.
[00:05:20] David C. Smalley: I can clear my schedule to lose 60 pounds. So yeah, there are pills like that can make you lose weight, but how safe is it going to be? What other side effects are there? How long is it going to take? How much weight can you lose on the pills? That's kind of what I'm getting into today.
[00:05:34] So, basically, what's the risk-reward, cost-benefit? What I mean cost, I don't always mean financially, I mean to your body and the consequences. And is it easier to just eat less crap and walk a little?
[00:05:45] Jordan Harbinger: I know you can get medications prescribed from your doctor, but they're, of course, not perfect. And I'm not a woo-woo kind of guy, but whenever you got a lot of yin, you got a lot yang that comes with it and vice versa, right? You can't just do this to your body.
[00:05:59] David C. Smalley: Right. So yes, your doctor can give you fat blockers to help with the food that you do eat and the doctor can also give you appetite suppressors to help you eat less or to get full quicker so that when you do work out, it's actually more effective. So technically, yes.
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: That reminds me of Requiem For a Dream. You remember that movie?
[00:06:20] David C. Smalley: I did not see that movie. No.
[00:06:22] Jordan Harbinger: It's directed by Darren Aronofsky. It's one of those kooky, crazy drug-induced dystopia type things. Anyway, the one of the old ladies, she gets strung out on diet pills because basically, those were just amphetamines that were like, hey, you're not going to be hungry. You know, the house is going to be clean. It's kind of just like legal at the time, legal meth.
[00:06:39] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:06:40] Jordan Harbinger: And they probably still exist, but I cannot imagine that they are even remotely good for you.
[00:06:44] David C. Smalley: Yeah, exactly.
[00:06:45] Jordan Harbinger: So, all right, so either way, eat less, walk more. Sounds like a step in the right direction.
[00:06:50] David C. Smalley: Okay, so we're going to just move to exercise puns.
[00:06:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Well, I just want to see which puns work out. So how does an appetite suppressor work?
[00:06:58] David C. Smalley: All right, so this is really, I think, what people are wanting to know. Like, does it work? How does it work? Is it worth it? Each one can be a little different, of course, right? There's tons of different options out there. But the general idea is just like coffee doesn't really give you energy. It blocks your brain from knowing that you're tired. Appetite suppressors block your neurotransmitters from knowing that you're hungry. So you don't have to struggle as much through starving yourself. You just, you tend to think about food less, and therefore you just naturally take in fewer calories.
[00:07:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't recall having to be hungry in order to eat, though. This sounds dumb, but what does hunger even have to do with it? There's a cake on the table. It's going in my face. I'm not like, "Hmm, I'm kind of feeling a little peckish. Maybe I should have this entire German chocolate cake." Like that's not how the brain works. It's certainly not how my brain works. So really, the hunger thing is almost moot.
[00:07:48] David C. Smalley: And that's the downside to these meds. So if they do work, they only work for a short amount of time. And by the way, they don't factor in for that level of sexy chocolate temptation. So Hank Green did a SciShow episode. I don't know if you've ever seen SciShow, but there's tons of episodes on YouTube. It's great for a lot of references in fact-checking things like this. He did this thing where he basically showed studies and studies and studies that at first these prescription appetite suppressants can lead to losing weight, but it's only like three to five pounds of extra weight, which isn't all that much. And you could just do that yourself, by the way, if you could just deal with being hungry for part of your day, like skipping a meal, fasting, things like that. But after six to eight weeks, the appetite control center in your brain adjusts to the new levels of these neurotransmitters, and the weight loss benefits basically disappear.
[00:08:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:08:38] David C. Smalley: So you're on your own. And by the way, the same happens when you fast. I'm actually fasting right now, and I have been for about the last 12 days. It's intermittent fasting. I'm only eating like once a day, maybe twice. I'll have a small snack later.
[00:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:08:54] David C. Smalley: And it's working great. I'm working out twice a day. I'm losing weight. I've lost about 11 pounds over the two weeks. I've noticed that the first couple of days really, really suck, but after the fourth or fifth day, I'm noticing that I wake up in the morning and I'm just not even hungry until about four or five o'clock in the afternoon.
[00:09:12] Jordan Harbinger: But eventually, these benefits will also, your body's not just going to keep shedding weight, it's going to adapt to the fact that you're not eating as much and just like you're hungry angsted.
[00:09:20] David C. Smalley: Eventually, but I am like pretty overweight, so I have a ways to go before I get to like a healthy balance where my body's going to balance out. And that's really where once you get there, then the regular work can begin. But this is almost like emergency crisis mode, right? When you're 50 pounds overweight or 40 pounds overweight—
[00:09:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:38] David C. Smalley: —those extreme measures can help. But I'm just saying with comfort, I'm letting people know, if you're in that situation, you're going to wake up day one. You're going to be so hungry. If you skip breakfast and you fight through it a couple of hours into it, your body's going to be like, "Oh, okay. I don't need food. Or I'm going to bli off these fat reserves for a moment," and then you won't be hungry again until like two o'clock in the afternoon. And then you go, "Okay, well, have something light, have something green," and then around seven or eight o'clock you'll be hungry again. If you fight that urge by nine, 9:30, 10 o'clock and you're ready to go to bed, you won't be hungry again.
[00:10:06] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay.
[00:10:07] David C. Smalley: And by doing this pattern and going 18 hours or 12 hours without eating, it really sucks at first, but your body will eventually get used to it and go, oh, now, I don't eat until 5 p.m.. It's not as hard in week two as it is week one. That's the point.
[00:10:21] Jordan Harbinger: I don't want to turn it into a weight loss show, but as for mine, I'll give you an anecdote here. I've lost like 40 pounds of fat in the last, let's say year. And it's from weighing my food and sticking with this app that I love, but I don't have hunger issues because I'm losing the weight so slowly. I mean, we're talking like point something, whatever pounds per of fat while training and working out. So it's really, really not been that hard. It's just, hey, don't have two days a week where you just go to the Cheesecake Factory and lick the bowl clean. You just can't do that.
[00:10:50] David C. Smalley: In my situation, I can't do that because I'm getting ready for a movie role.
[00:10:54] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Okay.
[00:10:55] David C. Smalley: We signed the contract, the date came up faster than I was expecting.
[00:10:58] Jordan Harbinger: And they're like, you better—? Or is this just, you don't want to show up on camera and be like, should have tried harder?
[00:11:03] David C. Smalley: Well, it was a combination. They didn't tell me to lose weight, but they were like, the description of the character was a very tough, intimidating, kind of a mean—
[00:11:13] Jordan Harbinger: Less fluffy character.
[00:11:14] David C. Smalley: Less fluffy, less soft, mushy-looking guy. And I was like, you know what? The way I look right now does not really comport with this guy's character.
[00:11:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:11:23] David C. Smalley: And also, I don't want to be memorialized on camera in this major role.
[00:11:27] Jordan Harbinger: One of the reasons I lost weight initially a long time ago was because I was getting married and I was like, I do not want to be the guy who like couldn't get his sh*t together for his wedding photos, right?
[00:11:37] So anyway, that's the point of this is by taking meds to do the hunger suppression, the dieting, you're messing with your brain chemistry and your brain is working against you then to get around the trick that you are actually trying to play on it. So damn cake is powerful.
[00:11:53] David C. Smalley: Yes, it is.
[00:11:53] Jordan Harbinger: But your brain is also really damn smart. It will figure out what you're up to and adapt, and then you're screwed.
[00:12:00] David C. Smalley: Yep, exactly.
[00:12:00] Jordan Harbinger: So how does a fat blocker work actually? First of all, that doesn't even sound like a real thing, but maybe somehow it's a thing. I've never looked into this, but it sounds fake.
[00:12:09] David C. Smalley: So fat blockers are a different story. And if you haven't noticed already, I'm not a doctor, I tell fart jokes to drunk people for a living. So I just really care about facts. So for everyone listening, please look into this stuff on your own. Talk to your doctor before you ruin your body and your life. The general idea is the way fat is absorbed, it actually has to break down into smaller parts. Like you take in the fat, it breaks down into smaller parts, and then it gets absorbed into the body. If you take a fat blocker, the fat blocker prevents the fat from breaking down. So it's too big to be absorbed. It's really that simple. And if it's too big to be absorbed, you just pass the fat right through your intestines.
[00:12:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:12:52] David C. Smalley: And out the pooper, which helps you lose the weight.
[00:12:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay. Well, look, you can't say I'm not a doctor and then use clinical terms like pooper. You're sending mixed signals here, man.
[00:13:02] David C. Smalley: My apologies.
[00:13:03] Jordan Harbinger: This sounds like it works in a way that could embarrass you quite frequently in public.
[00:13:09] David C. Smalley: It does and the studies have shown that fat blockers can reduce your fat intake by about 30 percent. But before you go out and buy them and say, "That's my easy fix."
[00:13:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:19] David C. Smalley: That 30 percent is over a course of two years. And people who took them only lost about six pounds more than people who didn't.
[00:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: Oh gosh. So it technically works, but what did you lose in the last two weeks from your somewhat intense, but not the end-of-the-world fasting?
[00:13:34] David C. Smalley: Yeah, 11 pounds.
[00:13:35] Jordan Harbinger: So you lost twice as much as these people who are taking a drug that I can only imagine shortens your lifespan by half a decade due to some unforeseen side effects/destroys your digestion.
[00:13:46] David C. Smalley: Yeah. I mean, I'm not going to say exactly to the shortens your lifespan by half, but—
[00:13:50] Jordan Harbinger: I'm exaggerating but whenever you do anything drastic like this, your body is supposed to digest fat. If you're preventing that with a chemical drug, what's getting it out of your stomach's passing it through, what, Your gallbladder is working hard, your kidneys are working hard, your liver is working. I don't know. All that stuff seems to, you don't put water in an engine. This is like the sugar and the gas tank type thing.
[00:14:10] David C. Smalley: Yep. And I'll just say the side effects of fat blockers usually mean, look, if you're eating right now listening to this, you may want to tap pause on your podcast app here. This is about to get a little gross.
[00:14:21] Jordan Harbinger: I knew it.
[00:14:22] David C. Smalley: I'll wait. Okay. That was your chance. So, because you're to be fat blocking the fat—
[00:14:27] Jordan Harbinger: You got to be fast.
[00:14:27] David C. Smalley: You got to be fast. We don't mess around. Because you're blocking the fat from being absorbed. It's coming out in the worst way possible, which means—
[00:14:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:14:35] David C. Smalley: —you'll have gross, greasy, oily bowel movements.
[00:14:39] Jordan Harbinger: Ew.
[00:14:39] David C. Smalley: And if you skip the prescription and try to do an over-the-counter supplement fat blocker, there's no telling what's really in it because it's not regulated. To me, the six pounds just isn't worth it. I'd rather buckle down and just do it naturally.
[00:14:52] Jordan Harbinger: Not to mention that at this time, you're taking a fat blocker because of all the other factors that are involved in you not being able to lose weight. Six pounds is probably not even 10 percent of what you need of losing.
[00:15:04] David C. Smalley: Yep.
[00:15:04] Jordan Harbinger: I would imagine a fat blocker is for somebody who's morbidly obese, a hundred plus pounds, overweight, having a ton of trouble doing everything, sticking with anything, losing six pounds is nothing.
[00:15:14] David C. Smalley: You can shift body weight two or three pounds in a day just going to the bathroom and water weight.
[00:15:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah. I'll tell you if I eat a lot of food, I have gut content, I've got glycogen in my muscles, there's water. I mean, I can go on a plane ride that's an hour and a half long, come back and the next day I've gained two and a half pounds of water and glycogen from eating whatever it was at a wedding or something like that. If I can do that, and I'm 150 pounds, 155-plus pounds, somebody who's 355-plus pounds, they could probably fluctuate by a dozen pounds.
[00:15:44] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:15:44] Jordan Harbinger: Eight to 10 pounds. That's very possible.
[00:15:46] David C. Smalley: Pretty quickly.
[00:15:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:15:47] David C. Smalley: Pretty quickly. Sure.
[00:15:48] Jordan Harbinger: What about the over-the-counter supplements that don't quite call themselves drugs? That's kind of the thing I wanted to get into here. Not just like shady pharma. I mean that's, that's probably a different show entirely. In fact, good topic idea. Pharmaceuticals and advertising, because speaking of side effects and oily, greasy poops—
[00:16:03] David C. Smalley: Ooh.
[00:16:03] Jordan Harbinger: —half the commercial is you might want to kill yourself. This might actually kill you before that, and you're going to feel like crap. You might sh*t yourself in public. I mean, the guy who's doing that voiceover. I've done those pharma voiceovers and I'm thinking, I'm reading this. Anybody listening to this is never going to buy this thing. And yet, here we are.
[00:16:18] David C. Smalley: Yep. I've done that too. I've literally done 3000 commercial voiceovers from 800 numbers to random disclaimers, and I've had to do things like that. And as I'm reading, I'm going, why would anyone ever—?
[00:16:29] Jordan Harbinger: How is this legal and why would anybody put this in their body? Yeah, I know. I'm with you.
[00:16:32] David C. Smalley: And by the way, as you know, because you're so well traveled and cultured—
[00:16:36] Jordan Harbinger: Huh.
[00:16:37] David C. Smalley: —other countries do not deal, like they see us and go, "Wait, you're advertising to the people—
[00:16:42] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:16:43] David C. Smalley: —what to tell their doctor they need. That's not a thing anywhere else.
[00:16:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right. No, it's illegal in Europe to do advertise pharmaceuticals. And I may be slightly off on this. It's either highly, highly regulated to the point where it doesn't happen or it's actually not allowed at all. I did a show with Dr. John Abramson. It was actually one of our most popular episodes ever, episode 709. It was about big pharma, and I think we talked a little bit about this, but basically, and it was in his book, you just can't even see these ads in other countries. What about the supplement industry where basically anything goes and you can buy it at like a gas station?
[00:17:18] David C. Smalley: Well, yeah. I mean, you know, I'm a big fan of the whole vague healthcare supplement market.
[00:17:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:17:24] David C. Smalley: Almost all of them are complete BS, greasy, oily BS.
[00:17:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:17:29] David C. Smalley: According to Hank Green and the National Institute of Health, the only weight loss supplement that actually works that you can get without a prescription is green tea.
[00:17:39] Jordan Harbinger: And that's what? Because it has caffeine in it?
[00:17:41] David C. Smalley: Little, yeah. So it basically helps you block fat, it helps you lose weight and suppresses your appetite at the same. Unless, of course, you load it with a bunch of sugar or put a bunch of crap in it, then you're negating the results, but just completely by itself natural green tea is the only real natural weight loss supplement that's over-the-counter that's going to work for you. But even the green tea has a slow burn.
[00:18:05] So with the best studies, they found that you only lose a few extra pounds over a three-month period. And this isn't just drinking green tea in the morning and then eating pizza and ice cream all day. So these studies show people eating healthier and taking care of themselves and exercising, and they have another group doing the exact same thing and adding green tea to the mix. So it's not a miracle cure for your breakfast oreos, but it's technically some sort of weight loss supplement.
[00:18:32] Jordan Harbinger: You know what you can fill up on? The products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:18:39] This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. Trying a new workout is like learning a new skill. It can be overwhelming and the uncertainty can be a major barrier to actually getting started. Peloton's approach to convenience is very helpful for people who are looking to take on a new fitness skill or routine. Everything is designed to be as simple and streamlined as possible from the easy-to-use touchscreen interface to the wide range of class options and personalized recommendations, you can access a variety of live and on-demand classes, including cycling, running strength. Now, there's an incredible rower, which I really enjoy, all from the comfort of your own home. Rowing is great as a full-body workout, which means you'll be engaging multiple muscle groups at once, including your legs, core, arms, and back. This will help you burn more calories, of course. It'll help you build more strength especially, and improve your overall fitness. Correct rowing form isn't intuitive, at least it certainly wasn't for me, and doing it correctly is harder than it sounds, especially once you start getting tired because, of course, your form always breaks down when you get tired. Form Assist shows you a figure of yourself as you row, and when you screw up a portion of the body, your body turns red. That's a good way to avoid getting super, super injured or tweaking something and not being able to work out, which stops a lot of people who are diving in either for the first time or getting back into it after a long time. So try Peloton Row risk-free with a 30-day home trial. New members only not available in remote locations. See additional terms at onepeloton.com/home-trial. Thank you so much for listening to and supporting the show, all the deals, discount codes, and ways to support the show. They're going to be on our deals page, jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor using the search box on the website as well. Please consider supporting those who support the show.
[00:20:19] Now, back to Skeptical Sunday.
[00:20:23] I mean, no offense to anyone taking these pills or supplements, but if somebody isn't dealing with a real disability, and they're able to get up and move around and they're able to eat healthy, just physically able to eat healthy. It seems like these products are mostly just addressing laziness. Look, I've got sympathy for the lazy, I understand that it exists. You want to be able to eat whatever you want, lay around and not be unhealthy. But that is just not how your body and anatomy works. And It's not just willpower. Like there's systems here. These are just saying, "You don't need that. You can do those chalupas every day and just take this and it counteracts it. Just drink an energy thing or a fat blocker and that's—
[00:21:01] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:21:02] Jordan Harbinger: —not how this works.
[00:21:03] David C. Smalley: And a lot of these weight loss supplement things, they speed up metabolism—
[00:21:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:09] David C. Smalley: —which increase your heart rate.
[00:21:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:11] David C. Smalley: And the idea is, you know, if you're working out, you get your heart rate up that helps you burn fat and burn calories. But if you're just sitting on the couch, you know, watching football and you've eaten an entire pizza or a box of wings and then you take this weight loss supplement to speed your heart up. Your body is not prepared for that. Your body's not ready to face that. So it can be very dangerous. And you're right about the laziness aspect. It's easy to fall into that because the weight comes on so fast and the hard work that we put in, I mean, I finished some of my workouts, some of my seven-minute warmups, and I look down and it's 37 calories burned.
[00:21:48] Jordan Harbinger: I know. That's so depressing. I'm with you, man.
[00:21:50] David C. Smalley: You just go, what's the point?
[00:21:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:21:52] David C. Smalley: Where you spend 40 minutes on a treadmill and it's like, "Oh, congratulations. 201 calories," and you're like, "That was a muffin." Like it's so hard to just stick with it.
[00:22:01] Jordan Harbinger: A small muffin, yeah, with no blueberries in it.
[00:22:04] David C. Smalley: You're going to say diet muffin?
[00:22:05] Jordan Harbinger: I almost said diet muffin. And then I realized that's probably not real.
[00:22:08] David C. Smalley: I mean, I'm pretty sure it is. But that's amazing.
[00:22:11] Jordan Harbinger: That's one of those whole grain ones that's supposed to be good for you, but it's just a different kind of bread.
[00:22:15] David C. Smalley: Right. But you're right. So much of this is mental, right? And there are more and more health-centered apps out there that focus on mentality rather than the calorie counting. But when it comes to calories, we evolved chasing our food. So we needed that caloric energy from the last meal to build muscle and endurance, to fight stuff or walk for hours gathering berries and plants. But you know, with our moderate advancements, you can't keep shoving those calories in your face and then, thinking watching the baseball game is going to burn them off. It's a mindset.
[00:22:47] Jordan Harbinger: And the calories are so different, right? We were eating grains and unprocessed meats and fats that were fresh and unrefrigerated. I mean, not that refrigerating does anything, but we're talking about stuff straight off the animal or straight off the vine. No one ever had to chase down and hunt a large pepperoni pizza. I mean, okay, once during college, different, different story entirely. But generally, nobody has to chase down a large pepperoni pizza and most of us prefer not to.
[00:23:13] David C. Smalley: Exactly. And it's so exponentially worse. I mean, put this into perspective, it would be bad to eat healthy and lay around.
[00:23:22] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:23] David C. Smalley: Right. But we're putting junk in our bodies and laying around. It's literally life-threatening at this point, and some companies are putting research into making healthier foods more accessible and more affordable. The easy weight loss craze is definitely here to stay.
[00:23:37] In 2021, the FDA announced the first-ever approved weight loss drug in seven years.
[00:23:43] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:23:44] David C. Smalley: They typically do not do this type of thing, but they did. It's called Wegovy, and it's a self-administered injection, which can provide up to 17 percent weight loss but it costs $1,300 per month.
[00:23:57] Jordan Harbinger: 17 percent weight loss, like an increase in weight loss, or you're losing 17 percent of your body mass. That's a little unclear, but I guess it doesn't really matter for purposes of what we're talking about here.
[00:24:05] David C. Smalley: Yeah. I think 17 percent fat reduction or 17 percent of your weight.
[00:24:10] Jordan Harbinger: Geez. Okay. I mean, I guess that's something we would look, if you're looking into this, you'd want to check, but that's crazy expensive. It's weird that it's an injection that you give yourself and 17 percent weight. Okay. So obviously, this is for people who are going to die if they don't lose weight and they somehow also cannot do it.
[00:24:25] David C. Smalley: Right. Right. And I guess the number could technically mean 17 percent more than average weight loss or whatever.
[00:24:33] Jordan Harbinger: That's what I'm thinking it probably means because that's the most generous interpretation—
[00:24:37] David C. Smalley: Sure.
[00:24:37] Jordan Harbinger: —here in my opinion.
[00:24:39] David C. Smalley: So the FDA says you're exactly right that this is strictly for people who are obese, who also have diabetes, high blood pressure, and comorbidity. So you have to have all of that to qualify. But it is a brand new drug.
[00:24:52] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, this is somehow the most American thing ever. But I'm also glad to hear there's some hope for people who may need this. It's just a bit unsettling. It's better than dying. But do they say how it works?
[00:25:02] David C. Smalley: It works pretty much the same as we've already been talking about. It mimics a natural hormone. It suppresses your appetite, it slows the stomach emptying so you feel full longer when you do eat. And it's a way to speed up the natural process of you struggling through decisions in the kitchen and that's what most of these things are supposed to do, right? You just take the easier way out but it does come with some unwanted consequences.
[00:25:26] Jordan Harbinger: Now is this something you have to be on for the rest of your life or do you psychologically, physiologically adapt to this new way of eating and living once you stop taking this drug? You may not have gone that deep in there.
[00:25:36] David C. Smalley: So in the pre-release study, they gave everyone the drug for 20 weeks.
[00:25:41] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:25:41] David C. Smalley: And then they started giving some of the subjects placebos that they thought were the real injection.
[00:25:47] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:25:47] David C. Smalley: And all of the people who got the placebo gained back more than half their weight.
[00:25:51] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:25:52] David C. Smalley: Okay. So it is something that they recommend you continue or drastically change your habit so that you don't need it.
[00:26:00] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, therein lies the problem, right? Because you could just do that in the first place and never need the drug. And I'm guessing there are side effects. If you say, hey, you're taking a drug and you're not dead yet, and you can either make this massive lifestyle change that got you to where the point at which you needed this drug. Or you can just keep taking the drug and insurance is going to cover it because otherwise, you're going to die. I'm guessing the choice is not that hard for most people, unfortunately. I'm guessing there's also severe side effects to something like this.
[00:26:24] David C. Smalley: It is, but in their defense, the person who's taking it, they could just not be motivated and be so overweight and so miserable that they see no hope.
[00:26:35] Jordan Harbinger: I see where you're going.
[00:26:35] David C. Smalley: And depression, and so they take this for a while, say 20 weeks or six months or whatever, and then they go, "I've lost 35 pounds with this injection. I don't feel so terrible when I look in the mirror. I see hope, I see progress. Maybe I can start eating healthier. Maybe I can start walking more. Now, I can do my wall sit for 30 seconds, or now I can do this or that. So it could be that in their defense, maybe you do this at first if you're severely overweight.
[00:27:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:27:01] David C. Smalley: And have comorbidities and then, slowly wean yourself off of the drug and do the natural way.
[00:27:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Because you're like, look at my results. I can do this. By the way, I thought a lot of people who are listening to this episode probably thought, this sounds like it's sponsored by this drug company. And then I'm like, how can it kill me, David?
[00:27:18] David C. Smalley: You're not too far off. So in rodents, the drug was actually found to cause thyroid cancer. As of today, I couldn't find any reports of it happening in humans yet because it's still pretty new, but it does cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, and stomach pain. And I went to the website for the drug. And it says, "Wegovy may cause serious side effects including possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. Tell your healthcare provider if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer. Wegovy may cause inflammation of your pancreas, gallbladder problems, increased risk of low blood sugar, kidney problems, kidney failure, serious allergic reactions, change in vision in patients with type two diabetes, increased heart rate, and depression with thoughts of suicide."
[00:28:11] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so let me pause you right there. First of all, did I not say kidney problems, kidney failure, gallbladder stuff? The thyroid makes total sense cause it's a hormone mimicker. So your hormone, whatever your thyroids generating the T3 or whatever it's called, it stops doing that because you're injecting it or whatever. And also change in vision in patients with type two diabetes, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that probably means blindness.
[00:28:34] David C. Smalley: That's terrifying.
[00:28:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:35] David C. Smalley: That was one of the most terrifying things in there. Like you could just be, just suddenly your vision?
[00:28:39] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:28:40] David C. Smalley: Vision?
[00:28:41] Jordan Harbinger: You might need that. I bet this is just flying off — actually, I probably shouldn't say that it. I was going to say sarcastically, it's flying off the shelves. Now, I'm not sure if the sarcasm is even warranted because people might just say, you know what, who cares?
[00:28:52] David C. Smalley: Jordan, in true American form, it is on backorder.
[00:28:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh, no.
[00:28:58] David C. Smalley: There's a popup on their website that literally says, we're experiencing supply shortages. Please check back.
[00:29:04] Jordan Harbinger: It's both, and I'm putting this in air quotes, hilarious, but also sad at the same time. This might kill me or give me cancer and make me puke and possibly blind and sh*t myself, or not be able to puke and or sh*t myself. But the other choice is being fat and dying young from that instead of from thyroid cancer. Just, ugh, I hate this freaking timeline we're on sometimes. So in some, it sounds like what does work doesn't work very much. And what works really well is actually horrendous for your body and could kill you.
[00:29:33] David C. Smalley: Pretty much. The website, birdie.com did an interview with two registered dieticians. One is Kristin Gillespie and then, Brittany Lubeck, and they concluded this. They say, "As with many other medications and supplements, weight loss pills carry the potential for side effects like nausea, diarrhea, constipation, increased blood pressure, and heart rate and dizziness and more. And they can also contribute to micronutrient deficiencies."
[00:30:00] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh, a deficiency due to you eating less because you're taking the pills?
[00:30:05] David C. Smalley: Right. When you think appetite suppressant, you go, "Oh, cool, I won't want as many potato chips," but—
[00:30:10] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:30:11] David C. Smalley: —you're also not even hungry for the salad or the fruit. So you're missing natural iron or B12 or vitamin A, which can lead to other problems, including depression. B12 deficiency, for example, is a thing a lot of vegans struggle with because they're not getting the B12 in meat, so—
[00:30:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:30:25] David C. Smalley: —they have to take supplements to avoid—
[00:30:27] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:30:27] David C. Smalley: —depression.
[00:30:28] Jordan Harbinger: So I think we probably need an entire episode dedicated to vitamins because there's so much confusion around those multivitamins, micronutrients, do we need this? Are you on the vitamin thing? I feel like we need a vitamin episode.
[00:30:41] David C. Smalley: I am. I've already begun the research on that. It's really about the way the vitamins are made. It has a lot to do with it. So I'll lay all that out in a future episode.
[00:30:49] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. I'm looking forward to that.
[00:30:50] David C. Smalley: Yeah, same here. So another huge safety concern is the fact that many weight loss pills are not even FDA approved. Dietary supplements are completely unregulated. The FDA points out on its website that they may contain harmful ingredients that aren't listed on the product label. And that's pretty much it. And so for this reason, it's super crucial to check back in with a doctor, check with a registered dietician before taking any sort of weight loss medication or supplement.
[00:31:17] Another potential problem with diet pills is that many people will quickly regain all the weight back once they've lost it, at least most of it, or all of it once they stop taking the pill of the supplement because the behavior or mentality wasn't changed. So Lubeck says, "This is the same story we frequently hear from people who go on a diet and regain weight once off the diet. The bottom line is medications cannot and should not replace healthy food and activity habits." That is so important.
[00:31:49] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. So what about the people who say, "Okay, I'm not going to take a crazy weight loss pill that doesn't have proof, but I've heard a lot about supplements that can help with metabolism and energy and that's going to help me stay healthy." I mean, it is a massive industry. Obviously, people, they buy into this stuff like crazy to the tune of billions of dollars.
[00:32:08] David C. Smalley: Yeah, yeah. It's like 37 billion a year.
[00:32:10] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:32:11] David C. Smalley: Yeah. 77 percent of Americans take dietary supplements. And in 2016, it was reported that Americans spent about 12.8 billion out of pocket just on natural product supplements.
[00:32:24] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. That's a huge number. And it's something I don't want to get into universal healthcare, but something resembling healthcare for everybody in the country. You know, if we had actual healthy people who are getting taken care of. If you can't spend 700 bucks a month on insurance or whatever, you're trying to get it on the back end, which is what, taking your multivitamin and hoping for the best.
[00:32:43] David C. Smalley: 100 percent. And by the way, that number, those millions and millions of dollars, that never gets factored in when people think about healthcare costs or when the political arguments are happening.
[00:32:52] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:32:52] David C. Smalley: Like, we just don't factor that in.
[00:32:53] Jordan Harbinger: Of course. I understand why, but also it's a mistake. So are supplements really worth the hype and the money? This is the obvious, the obvious, give me a coach's pitch here for you, Dave.
[00:33:02] David C. Smalley: The answer is no. In most cases, no. So a lot of people don't know this. Of course, unless they listen to Skeptical Sunday, but the FDA doesn't approve health supplements. Unlike pharmaceuticals, dietary supplement companies don't even have to apply for FDA approval. So there's no way for the agency to conclude that the pill is safe or what it actually does, or that it does what it says it's going to on the package or whatever. So they just stick that label on the bottom that says, "These statements have not been verified by the FDA or have not been approved by the FDA," and companies know that customers just care more about the hype than facts. So it looks like medicine. "It must be good for me." It's really an education problem.
[00:33:43] Jordan Harbinger: This is scary because some of this stuff is straight from some dude's basement to the store shelves at your local. I don't want to say which stores sell these, but we all know who does.
[00:33:51] David C. Smalley: Uh, I'm about to tell you, unless it's going to get you in trouble.
[00:33:54] Jordan Harbinger: No, I mean, I don't want to say anything without any information, but if you actually got information on this, go ahead. I just don't want to throw a store under the bus because they happen to have a brand that sticks in my head.
[00:34:03] David C. Smalley: So a lot of the stores will just say, "Hey, we make the products available. It's up to you to read the labels." And the FDA goes, "Hey, you know, we were giving you freedom," right? That's the F-word in America. We're giving you freedom to eat as many cheeseburgers and take as many supplements as you want, but there is a warning label on it. And hey, you can smoke as many of these cigarettes as you want, but hey, there's a warning label.
[00:34:24] It's all about removing liability and blame as opposed to doing what's actually healthier for Americans and that's the problem. And you're right, the FDA did use to have a hand in supplement regulation. But in 1994, Congress passed a law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which forced the FDA A to be more hands off with dietary supplement production, as long as there was a warning there as if people would be responsible and actually read them and then heed the warning.
[00:34:52] Jordan Harbinger: Great euphemism though the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, but really, in other words, what this act is saying is it's now up to the consumer to get educated on everything they buy and all the ingredients and everything they buy. That happens to be ingestible because it's now the wild west with absolutely no oversight by experts at all. So, we want less education in our supplements. That's what that act did. That is ridiculous. And it sounds like all supplement manufacturers have to do now to essentially bypass the FDA is keep the description of their products really vague. Like saying, "May strengthen immunity, can strengthen this, may lower cholesterol," where it lowers it by like 0.001 percent and they just say, "Well, you know, it could be a coincidence, but here's the thing, you should now buy that does this."
[00:35:40] David C. Smalley: Or helps with weight loss. How do you gauge that, right? Because it's not something that can actually be measured.
[00:35:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right. When you fill your stomach with a bunch of crap, you don't want to eat any high-calorie foods. You want to eat less high-calorie foods because you drank a styrofoam milkshake.
[00:35:54] David C. Smalley: Right. So, I had Penn Jillette on my show a couple of times, and one of the times he said, I asked him why they called their show Bullsh*t. I was like, "Didn't it stop certain people from watching it, having certain news stations wouldn't say the title or whatever?" And he's like, it didn't matter. He said, the point is, if he covered a topic and called someone a liar, he could be legally held liable, because if they could prove that person has told the truth, then you slander them as a liar. Now, you're potentially facing a lawsuit. So the attorneys went back and forth on what they could call the show, and then, he goes on this, I won't say it on your show, but I have this recording of him just insulting me just with the worst slanderous words, but there's nothing legally wrong with it because they're just insults to my character. And he's like, "Now if I said David Smalley tells lies," he's like, "That could hurt your reputation. But if I just say, David Smalley is a sack of sh*t, for example," he's like, "No person would literally interpret you as a literal sack of sh*t. So I can get away with that being unreasonable."
[00:36:53] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:36:54] David C. Smalley: I see that vague or ambiguity makes you not be held liable. And that's exactly what's happening here. They just say, you know, improves overall health. Well, how do we test that in a lab and say, "I'm not overall healthier after I took this pill." I mean, what does overall health mean? Like, you know what I mean? It could be mental, it could be fatigue, it could be, I feel sleepy. So that's kind of the work around here. And so they get to stamp these things on these products and say, "We are FDA compliant," which does not mean the product is FDA approved. It means that they won't highlight that crucial difference and just let you assume that what they mean, that the FDA has approved something or elevated the product, when that's simply not the case. The FDA hasn't done it. They're just in compliance, basically.
[00:37:41] Jordan Harbinger: It just means they are compliant with FDA regulations and the regulation is put the notice on the label in a certain size font.
[00:37:48] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:37:50] Jordan Harbinger: That's really tricky. And I think I've seen Mark Cuban on Shark Tank just eviscerate someone, which by the way is kind of glorious and one of the only reasons to watch Shark Tank. They claim their product is FDA, he'll go, "Is it FDA approved?" And the persons go, "Well, it is FDA compliant." He's like, "Oh wait, that's not the same thing. FDA compliant just means you smack a label on it. FDA approved is totally different. This sounds like a scam to me." And you can just see the "deer in the headlights" look when people get called out on their nonsense and then it's like commercial break with a closeup of their face while they're sweating with their eyes super wide and their mouth is open and it's like, we'll be right back.
[00:38:24] David C. Smalley: Absolutely. And I love that he plays that role. I've always been a fan of Mark.
[00:38:28] Jordan Harbinger: Agree.
[00:38:28] David C. Smalley: He's such a forward thinker. I love what he's doing with the whole pharmaceutical industry situation right now. He's just shaking things up and I love that he challenges people on their bullsh*t whenever they come in there doing that.
[00:38:38] Look, the manufacturers don't have to abide by certain standards, which means we just have a bunch of untrustworthy goons making often ineffective and potentially dangerous products that are supposed to be good for your bodies, but we know they're not. And plus there's a ton of supplements that are imported from other countries like China and Chinese imported products are even harder to research. But in an industry where, you know, regulation is already hard to implement, there's no way to really know what you're getting or if you're getting a peer supplement, especially if they're not made in America.
[00:39:13] Jordan Harbinger: Well, well, well look who's back for a second, helping the fine products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:39:21] This episode is sponsored in part by Peloton. I get it. It's too icy to run outside. It's dangerous or it's just too cold and sucks shedding cold weather gear as you go trudging through the snow. Maybe you need to watch your kids while you work out. There's a lot of good excuses and bad excuses for why we don't want to work out at a gym or outside. Well, the Peloton Rower is stationary. It's in your warm house, and if you're like us, it's right in front of a TV playing baby shark 8,000 times in a row while your kid sits hypnotized in front of brain-melting animation while you get your sweat on. Basically, conditions in your home are always perfect for rowing. So you can beat the cold weather, you can work out inside. There's no need to go to the gym, no need to get somebody else's sweat on you. And if you leave your own sweat on the rower when you're done, nobody's going to say squat because you own the thing. And maybe you know a few exceptions here and there. Besides if you reduce friction and you have access to the thing right in your home, and you can be a lazy ass about cleaning it, you know who you are, you're going to work out more, which means better cardiovascular fitness, it means a better burn. It means at least a thousand more reps per week of the wheels on the bus go round and round with the kids. That's quality time. It's always sunny and it's 70 degrees next to the radiator. I noticed that my friends who work out at home are much more consistent than friends that work out outside the home, because working out outside the home sucks for so many reasons and can be really tough. I know a lot of you want community, that's why you go to the gym. My dad's one of those people. Peloton community, they've really nailed this. It's great how you can do online leaderboards. You can do sort of live classes that are a lot of fun. The instructors are a lot of fun. You can compete with friends and family, and fact your whole family, your whole household can share one login. They're not going to make you buy, you know, separate memberships and all that. I had made a goal in early 2022 to get fit and be healthier. It sounds like, felt like it was longer than that, but maybe not. I started the year at about 190 pounds. I'm now around my goal weight. I'm at 155 or so. I've got freaking six-pack dad abs. I've never been this fit or healthy in my entire life. And I want to share a couple more things that have worked for me with respect to making this happen. Number one, protect your time. Like it's a business meeting. Don't think of it as something that's flexible or movable. It is a business meeting. It's an important call. Whatever you want to do to make sure that you maintain that time. Doing it first thing in the morning works for me. You can bank it. There's fewer demands on your time typically at that hour of the day. The earlier in the day, the more willpower I have, even if getting started, can kind of suck in the morning. You know, the coffee hasn't kicked in yet. Number two, I mentioned before, lower the friction and set up habits. If you're having to get up, you got to pack a duffle bag, you got to change, you got to go to the gym sometimes in the winter, warm up the car. That's a lot of friction to get a workout in a, again, as I mentioned earlier in the episode, it's all about reducing. That's another reason I like the Peloton Row. That thing is just sitting there. I can get a workout in if somebody cancels a phone call or a Zoom call as the case may be. I can shuffle things around. I can work out during the Zoom call. I turn the camera off because otherwise, it's a little weird. I like to protect my time when there's a workout, but low friction plays a large role on whether or not you're going to get something done. Peloton is really famous for their bikes. They've also got the top-notch rowing machine that I'm talking about. I like it because it stores upright. That's one of the main things. It takes up a lot less space that way. Rowing is great for a full-body workout. That's really low impact. And often people do their workouts with bad form when there's no trainer present, maybe you're new to the thing. One of the things I love about Peloton Row is it has sensors that track your movements to determine whether you're performing each stroke correctly, and they'll warn you if you're doing something wrong, which especially happens once you start getting tired and you can get injured if you do a bunch of stuff wrong. There's a little guide right on the screen in the corner. He's going to show you exactly how your form is, how it should look, how it matches up to an ideal stroke. So you're going to see if your back was leaning too far, your knees were bent too early, and all that jazz. They've got an assist there that'll help correct form. And after each class you get a little grade. Who doesn't love that? So you're actually being competitive with yourself and your form is improving. It'll show you exactly what you need to do to improve your form. Great way to avoid injury and make sure you get everything locked in. And if you really want to correct your form, you can go to any Peloton showroom where a trainer working there will set you straight in a fun way, and you can always, of course, go try the Peloton Row in a showroom. Or try Peloton Row risk-free with a 30-day home trial. New members only. Not available in remote locations. See additional terms at one peloton.com/home-trial.
[00:43:35] Once again, thank you so much for listening to the show. All the deals, all the codes are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. That's where you can pick up a little something for yourself. Support the show. Please do consider supporting those who make this possible.
[00:43:46] Now, for the rest of Skeptical Sunday.
[00:43:50] Why the heck are we trusting these manufacturers so much? This is like giving an uninsured teenager the keys to your BMW and being like, "Yeah, go ahead. Take it for a spin. I mean, this is my only car, but I trust you."
[00:44:01] David C. Smalley: So the only way the FDA can get involved with a dietary supplement is after the product hits the shelves and only if there's an obvious health risk. So for a dangerous product to be removed from the market, there has to be documented cases, usually multiple cases of emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers. Like that's the only way the FDA can get involved. It seems so irresponsible.
[00:44:24] Jordan Harbinger: In other words, once it's too late.
[00:44:26] David C. Smalley: Right.
[00:44:27] Jordan Harbinger: The damage is done to your health, your body, whatever, by trying to take care of yourself and all this is super concerning because if something isn't regulated by the pros, and I'm not saying everything needs to be hyper regulated, but if no expert is looking at this, it's so much easier to find yourself in dangerous territory. We would never give kids, we're not supposed to give kids toys that have lead in them. It's illegal because they might put them in their mouth. And here's something that people are definitely ingesting for long periods of time and we're like, you know what? Buyer beware.
[00:44:55] David C. Smalley: You're lucky if the supplement just doesn't work and you only wasted your money.
[00:44:59] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:44:59] David C. Smalley: Because some can cause real damage. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and NSF International, which is an independent product testing company found four unapproved and unlisted stimulants in six supplements currently marketed for weight loss and fitness. The stimulants appeared a lot like ephedrine, which is a compound derived from an incredibly dangerous and sometimes lethal weight loss supplement that the FDA banned in 2004. Yet, there's this very similar chemical floating around in stuff that's on the market today.
[00:45:30] Jordan Harbinger: I remember something like this when I was in college. We had Hydroxycut. Was it called?
[00:45:36] David C. Smalley: Yes.
[00:45:36] Jordan Harbinger: Remember that stuff?
[00:45:36] David C. Smalley: I took that.
[00:45:37] Jordan Harbinger: Who didn't?
[00:45:38] David C. Smalley: My heart almost exploded—
[00:45:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:45:40] David C. Smalley: —out of my chest while I was at work and I literally went and saw a nurse that worked at the place. I mean, it messed me up so bad.
[00:45:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It turns out that is loaded with, or was loaded with ephedra and other stimulants and that's how it burned fat and reduced appetite. But it was, yeah, it was horrible for your heart. I think it ended up hurting people. I don't want to say that particular brand did, but those types of supplements ended up hurting/killing people before being banned. And I remember taking it. I take the two or whatever, and I go, wow, I feel kind of this. Or I take two and then forget I took them and then come out of the shower and take two more, and then the rest of the four hours later, I'm just sweating while laying in my bed.
[00:46:17] David C. Smalley: Or you'd have a coffee or a Coke or something with caffeine, and then take that. I took them one time and then I was at someone's desk a few hours later and they had these little chocolate beans and they were like, "Oh, you want some chocolate?" I was like, "Yeah, cool." And that popped three or four of them. Turns out they were espresso beans.
[00:46:33] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:46:33] David C. Smalley: And my whole body is just vibrating for the next two hours. I'm sweating. I'm like—
[00:46:37] Jordan Harbinger: Terrible.
[00:46:37] David C. Smalley: Yeah, I felt awful taking that stuff.
[00:46:39] Jordan Harbinger: So I would hope that a supplement like that is a one-off situation, but I'm guessing it's not.
[00:46:43] David C. Smalley: Yeah, you're right. It's not. So a study of product recalls published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 274 of the supplements that were recalled by the FDA between 2009 and 2012 all contained banned drugs. And apparently, the recalls didn't even scare anybody because in 2014, a new report found that more than two-thirds of the supplements purchased six months after being recalled, still contained the banned drugs.
[00:47:13] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:47:14] David C. Smalley: So they're recalled, they're banned, and they're still on the shelves in 2014. Dangerous ingredients and supplements, that's one of the biggest reasons to just that people end up in the hospital.
[00:47:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:25] David C. Smalley: They think they're doing something good for their bodies. And a study published in New England, Journal of Medicine claimed that roughly 23,000 emergency room visits per year were linked to supplement consumption.
[00:47:37] Jordan Harbinger: Geez. 23,000? Think about how many that is. So these companies just take advantage of the fact that their product doesn't have to be tested or regulated by anyone including the fda. So they've got to be adding ingredients in the bottle that aren't in the label, because who the hell else is going to test it? Especially if it's not some mainstream, heavily marketed to professional athletes type thing. It's just some gas station stuff. They can pretty much put in anything they want and there's a reasonable chance they're just not going to get caught doing it.
[00:48:03] David C. Smalley: Yep. But the label on there that nobody approved this and you're on your own. In 2016, the biggest supplement maker in the world, GNC Holdings Incorporated settled a federal case for 2.25 million after allegations that it sold a performance-enhancing supplement, which included an ingredient called DMAA. And DMAA, just so you know, it's a substance that narrows blood vessels and arteries, which raises your blood pressure or induces high blood pressure and can lead to cardiovascular problems like shortness of breath tightening in the chest and heart attacks. Two soldiers in 2011 actually died from taking products that contained DMAA. So the Defense Department removed all products containing the ingredient from stores on military bases.
[00:48:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes. Okay. Not cool GNC. If the big supplement manufacturers pull these shady moves and don't even put ingredients that they're putting in there on the bottle, how are we supposed to trust anything that these companies put on the market? Let alone the mom-and-pop supplement makers, and I know that's kind of a funny term, but there are dudes making stuff in basements or in factories in China or whatever. They often have their stuff trend up when an influencer marketing campaign pops off or somebody discovers it or they pay a celebrity for it.
[00:49:16] David C. Smalley: Or you have, you know, certain podcasters who get a sponsor of a certain supplement that's supposed to make your brain amazing or your blood amazing, or make you stronger or more of a big, strong, tough guy.
[00:49:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:27] David C. Smalley: And then they go, "Hey, this is selling like crazy. I want to buy into your company." And now, they're partners and now it's part-ownership and now it's branding. And now, you just have all these podcast bros buying tons of crap that have not been approved by the FDA and they think they're doing something good because their favorite podcaster told them to and that's the scary part.
[00:49:45] Jordan Harbinger: This kind of thing is going to change my policy here on this podcast. I don't want to name anything, and I don't know when this is necessarily going to air, but I will say that I am pretty horrified by this. And I'm going to have to clean house around here because I did not know this. I thought worst case scenario, you got some stuff that has some results, but maybe they exaggerated from marketing. I had no idea. They're just putting in whatever they want. Maybe nothing is happening. Maybe something bad has happened. I mean, it's an unacceptable risk to the audience.
[00:50:16] David C. Smalley: Yeah. Yep. I agree and I commend you for that. And these kinds of things, you know, we expect the listeners to hear this episode and make changes in their lives, or at least be more critically thinking about the things they're about to do.
[00:50:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:30] David C. Smalley: And we would be hypocritical if we didn't also apply these things. This isn't just entertainment, this is really trying to help other people's lives and help our own lives. I've made substantial changes to the way I do several things because of being a head writer on this show, doing this show with you. This has helped me make tons of changes in my life. So yeah, I can appreciate that.
[00:50:50] Jordan Harbinger: I thank you for saying that. I think, look, protein powder or that's egg way that's supposed to give you protein and calories. That's stuff I can get behind. Again, I don't want to name anybody, but there's stuff that we've advertised on the show where it's like, it does this, and now I'm like, does it though, is that real? And now, does it do that at the expense of some of your kidneys or your gallbladders just, ugh, yeah, I'm going to have to just turn down some money.
[00:51:11] David C. Smalley: You don't want to, I guess, block everyone out, but you also want people to make their own decision, but you also don't want to endorse things that you're not sure of. So that's the tricky part for us as podcasters is going, yeah, you know, you get an offer and this is how we make our living. So you get the offer and then you're like, "Well, how much time do I have to dive into this and research it?" It could be an entire day, just fact-checking, you know, hours and hours and hours go into this stuff. So, you know, fact-checking every single brand that wants to come advertised for you could be really hard. And by the way, there are digitally inserted ads that we don't even get to approve. So there may be a stop right in the middle of us talking.
[00:51:50] Jordan Harbinger: That's a good point.
[00:51:51] David C. Smalley: On my show, the other day, a bunch of people started emailing me saying, did you know there's a psychic advertising on your show?
[00:51:57] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:51:57] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:51:58] Jordan Harbinger: That's hilarious.
[00:51:58] David C. Smalley: It was pretty funny and I actually was just, you know, it's kind of funny, but it doesn't really bother me because—
[00:52:03] Jordan Harbinger: It's not going to convert for them at all.
[00:52:06] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:52:06] Jordan Harbinger: And also, they're just burning their money and giving it to you, I suppose, at that point.
[00:52:09] David C. Smalley: And the money's being well spent to debunk whatever craziness they're putting out.
[00:52:13] Jordan Harbinger: That's funny.
[00:52:14] David C. Smalley: Yeah, they're just kind of fueling the enemy at that point.
[00:52:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I guess they should be clear that I'm not going to voice anything or endorse anything like that but there is a point, and I can ban categories from being autos inserted, but you never know. I mean, there was a problem, a few — now we're getting into podcast ads stuff, which we don't need to, but there was a thing a couple of months ago where I want to say some pharmaceutical or political or whatever ad was on a show that was the opposite. It was like some kind of show about gun control and there was a rifle ad or that's the example here.
[00:52:43] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:52:44] Jordan Harbinger: But I don't remember what or something about like natural wellness and they were advertising crazy pharma weight loss, you know, stomach stapling stuff. And it was like, what is going on here?
[00:52:52] David C. Smalley: Well, because it's all keyword based, right?
[00:52:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
[00:52:54] David C. Smalley: They contact the network overall and say, show me everything with, you know, psychic and new age and they have like five keywords and they go, "Yeah, I want to buy all the shows that have that," and you go, "All of them? You sure? Because this guy, David Smalley is over here doing some, I mean, he says psychic, but not in the way you would like it." And it's like an ad agency and they just buy up all the ads.
[00:53:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:15] David C. Smalley: Next thing you know they're right in the middle of my show talking about that. So I was just talking about 2014, right? How these chemicals were banned and then a few years later, or even six months later, they're right back on the shelves or still in the shelves because they're selling their old inventory or whatever, maybe there's always this plausible deniability, right? Where, "Well—
[00:53:33] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:53:33] David C. Smalley: "—it was recalled, but we didn't know that that small store," you know?
[00:53:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. 70 pallets were already at the warehouse.
[00:53:40] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:53:40] Jordan Harbinger: And they'd already been shipped and then they got the notice of the recall, but they didn't send him back. So they prefer—
[00:53:45] David C. Smalley: Yeah. I mean, that guy can be very, very expensive for companies.
[00:53:48] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:53:49] David C. Smalley: There's a lot of immoral and unethical decisions that go on in corporate Americas as we all know. But once again, in 2017, the FDA recalled a bunch of supplements after they were found to contain an unapproved new drug. And just a few months later, the FDA recalled supplements from Pharmatech because of possible contamination with bacteria that can cause major respiratory infections. You're right. These can be quite dangerous. Best case scenario, they just don't work and you waste your money.
[00:54:18] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, what do they expect? They don't regulate it and they're shocked when it has bad stuff in it. So not only are these so-called health supplements not healthy at all, they can actually do enough damage to put you in the hospital, the place you were trying to stay out of by taking the supplements in the first place. It's like buying car insurance that makes it more likely that you'll get into a car accident.
[00:54:38] David C. Smalley: Yeah.
[00:54:38] Jordan Harbinger: Here, Jordan, here's a printout of your insurance policy. We are going to paste it directly over your entire windshield. Now, drive safe.
[00:54:46] David C. Smalley: That's such a great analogy. It's like a city going, "We don't want to regulate the roads," and then drive then going, "Where's the bridge? And why are all the cars in the river?
[00:54:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah.
[00:54:57] David C. Smalley: You're causing it.
[00:54:57] Jordan Harbinger: Precisely. So given all this information, it doesn't really seem like diet pills are supplements are worth it at all. Not that I was super tempted to take most of these things in the first place.
[00:55:05] David C. Smalley: Yeah. So diet pills, not so much. Some supplements may be, but first you should really talk to your doctor before taking your health into your own hands. Don't be a hero. Consulting a physician is definitely the best way to make sure you're making the right moves and not getting into any risky territory with the only body you have. Secondly, avoid products focused on physical enhancement, weight loss, or like sexual performance. These categories of supplements tend to just have the most recalls and the most dangerous ingredients in them and the most mystery.
[00:55:36] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:55:37] David C. Smalley: Luckily, you know, we live in the age of the Internet, so now we can find a ton of information about our product before we use it. And by the way, if you go there and there's lots of secrecy around it, that's on purpose.
[00:55:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:55:48] David C. Smalley: So be weary of things like that and make sure the brand that you're buying is a higher quality product and not one that you'd pass on your way out of a 7-Eleven.
[00:55:56] Jordan Harbinger: I think the closer the products are to the guys drinking at 40s and sleeping in front of the 7-Eleven, the less tempted you should be to purchase that product.
[00:56:05] David C. Smalley: But it extends things, Jordan.
[00:56:08] Jordan Harbinger: Nice reference. Yeah. Extends it with a Z.
[00:56:12] David C. Smalley: Yeah, with a Z. And so fifth and most importantly, I mean, eat well. Research shows that our systems are just much better equipped to process nutrients and minerals in healthy foods as opposed to anything in pill form. Who knows? You know, maybe you won't even need supplements if you have all the nutrients and the exercise to function.
[00:56:32] Jordan Harbinger: It's pretty mind blowing to learn that health products can actually do a lot of damage to your health. But now that we have all this information and are reminded of how important a good diet is, maybe we can give our bodies the nutrients they need without opting for shady, unregulated supplements that might just do more harm than good.
[00:56:49] David C. Smalley: Right. And before we wrap up here, I mean, on a personal note, just as someone who has had a ton of dietary issues myself, I've been in great shape as a competitive fighter and then I became quite obese and I'm currently on the way back down to a manageable weight. I can tell you what you probably already know, which is that you just need to eat less garbage, eat less often. Deal with being hungry, fight through it, drink a bunch of water and move around as much as you can. Like, it's not difficult to solve. It's just hard to execute because you've been sedentary for so long and you got lazy just like me. And when I'm fasting and I get so hungry, I can't stand it. I just remind myself that's not hunger I'm feeling, that's pre-sexy. I'm feeling pre-sexy. So come to terms with that and like Bill Burr says, "You ate your way in, walk your way out."
[00:57:42] Jordan Harbinger: Damn, well, now I'm hungry for lunch. Thanks, David.
[00:57:45] David C. Smalley: Thanks, Jordan.
[00:57:48] Jordan Harbinger: Here's a preview of my conversation with an expert who spent more than two decades rooting out the counterfeit goods and services that fuel a trillion-dollar industry that only benefits petty crooks and organized crime networks. It's not just handbags or designer clothes, alcohol, makeup, even cancer medication are just the tip of the iceberg of what gets counterfeited. Here's a quick listen.
[00:58:10] Kris Buckner: Anything and everything is counterfeit from automobile parts, cancer medication, alcohol, kids' cough syrup. I mean, anything that somebody can fake to make money, they're going to do it. I mean, we found human feces, rat feces, and carcinogens in some of the counterfeit makeup. It's really, really scary. I mean, people can actually die or really get harmed over this stuff. The general public thinks, "Oh, it's poor people just trying to get by, trying to make a living." But somewhere down the chain, a criminal organization is involved in that counterfeit item.
[00:58:40] The sales of counterfeit goods is actually listed in Al-Qaeda's training manual on a quick and easy way to raise revenue for operational purposes, because why? It's a crime that's completely worth doing for them, where they can make huge amounts of money. And then, let's look at the human impact. Where are these goods made?
[00:58:56] Jordan Harbinger: Chinese kids in these factories in the middle of nowhere. There was an investigator online who said he was about to do a raid with the police, and he heard children's music and he thought, "Oh, wow, they have childcare for their workers." And then when they came in, they found a bunch of kids at soy machines handcuffed to the machines, and he said the smell was unbearable because they weren't allowed to go to the bathroom.
[00:59:16] Kris Buckner: The common perception, "Oh, it's poor people just trying to get by or trying to make a living." It's really not the case. I mean, this stuff's tied to organized crime, criminal cartels. I mean, there's a whole big picture behind this stuff. You will see law enforcement do seizures where they're pulling three million cash out of someone's house, and that's all the proceeds from counterfeit goods. When you are buying that item, you are contributing to that child labor. You're contributing to that terrorist organization. That is where the money is going undoubtedly.
[00:59:44] Jordan Harbinger: Even if you don't care that the Gucci bag you got for just 20 bucks can't be spotted as a knockoff by the snootiest in your circle of friends, hear why the trillion-dollar counterfeiting industry should concern you, check out episode 308 of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Kris Buckner.
[01:00:01] Hope you all enjoyed that. If you have any suggestions for Skeptical Sunday topics or we got something way wrong, you can let us know that too. firstname.lastname@example.org. Your ideas are always, always valuable. A link to the show notes for the episode can be found at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are on the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, and you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find David Smalley at @davidcsmalley on all social media platforms at davidcsmalley.com, or better yet on his podcast, The David C. Smalley Show. Links to all that will be in the show notes as well.
[01:00:32] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And of course, before you put anything in your body. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who needs to hear it. Maybe somebody who's looking for shortcuts with losing weight, taking a bunch of weird stuff, definitely share this with them. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:01:10] Special thanks to Peloton for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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