Ok, I admit, I’ve never been on a weight loss program. But a recent trip to Lindora with my dad and wife, Jaime, opened my eyes to these types of programs (e.g. Jenny Craig, Slim Fast…are they still around?). My dad signed up for Lindora’s 10-week program earlier this year, with an emphasis on a structured meal plan, shed 15-20 lbs and lower his cholesterol. Side note: my dad was told he was obese at 6’6″, 235 lbs when he first walked into their clinic. This perked the ears of Jaime and I. And kept me awake last night for easily over an hour…I took this personally.
I hopped online to use Lindora’s BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator, which they use to gauge if you are of a “healthy weight”. I was on the edge of being labeled overweight at 6’7″, 200 lbs. Hmm, that’s odd.
Here’s a picture of me, you can be the judge of whether I am nearing overweight or not. This got me thinking, how do these weight loss programs work? What is their business plan and strategy? And most importantly, what type of accurate education do they provide?
Lindora’s program is great for placing people on regimented plans. There is a big market to pull from and bring in as clients, as two-thirds (67%) of the US population are overweight or obese. Sounds like a good business strategy.
What’s it actually made of?
I was extra curious about Lindora’s products they sold to their clients (which are quite expensive I might add), particularly the ingredients within each packaged product. Oh boy, quite the shocker! I was horrified that a National weight loss brand would be supplying their clients with such processed, genetically modified, chemically-enhanced crap to get them “healthier”. A box of 7 protein bars for $15 with little nutritional value?? Hmmm, I was beginning to see where some of the convenient profits were being made. Here’s my two cents on the nutritional contents found in most Lindora products (based on what I saw in their shop and on their website):
- Artificial flavoring in ALL products I saw.
- Soy Protein Isolate – dry powder food ingredient that has been separated or isolated from the other components of the soybean, making it 90 to 95 percent protein and nearly carbohydrate and fat-free. (fyi, up to 95% of soy produced in the US is genetically modified).
- Whey Protein Isolate – dietary supplement and food ingredient created by separating components from milk. Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Isolates go through more processing than concentrates, thus stripping most, if not all, original nutrients.
- Casein – the main protein present in milk and (in coagulated form) in cheese. It is used in processed foods and in adhesives, paints, and other industrial products.
- (High Fructose) Corn Syrup – syrup made from cornstarch, consisting of dextrose, maltose, and dextrins. A sweet, thick liquid made from corn.
- Vegetable Oil – processed seed oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil. High in Trans Fat, it increases inflammation and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Polydextrose (fiber additive) – a polymer of dextrose containing small amounts of bound sorbitol and citric acid that is used to mimic the texture and bulk of fat or sugar in low-calorie foods.
- Maltodextrin – any of various carbohydrates derived from the partial hydrolysis of starch (e.g. corn or potatoes) and used in prepared foods especially as a filler and to enhance texture and flavor. A white powder often used in processed foods since it’s fairly inexpensive, as well as in pharmaceuticals as a binding agent. You’ll find it in canned fruits, snacks, cereal, desserts, instant pudding, sauces, and salad dressings.
- The list goes on: Each box of pancake mix, orange icicle bars, or nacho cheese pasta had a list of ingredients as long as the chemical combinations within. When looking at nutritional labels – the less the better – especially if you don’t understand what the heck they are. Look at the example below.
Nearly all products contain dairy, gluten, soy, additives, preservatives, artificial flavoring, etc. Many of which are common allergens. WTF! Food sensitivities are a big influencer to our health, weight gain, energy level, skin quality, digestion, etc. Shouldn’t a weight loss program educate on this?
Why should you care?
Processed foods (foods that have been chemically processed and made from refined ingredients and artificial substances) generally have very little nutritional value, are high in sugars, high fructose corn syrup and refined carbs, contain a lot of artificial ingredients, high in trans fat / processed vegetable oils and do become addictive. Why is this important for you? Well…eating processed foods does decrease energy levels, increases constipation, stores unnecessary weight in your body (adding fat), will make you more susceptible to sickness, and more bluntly – destroy your insides. Sound appetizing?! Didn’t think so…
Back to my dad – he has lost more weight than anticipated. This is another positive “success story” for Lindora. I asked my dad what education they provided him about the foods he had been consuming on his plans. He said none. A main point that he did mention they promote was…eat more protein and less carbs. How can a client take away knowledge learned from this program and apply it in their daily lives, sans Lindora products? Answer: Simply look at the nutritional value of things high in protein, low in carbs? Probably not a good idea (if you truly want to make a difference from the inside out).
My takeaway from this brief investigation
Lindora is great for programming (and a good starting point), allowing people to follow specific guidelines and hopefully resist cravings. If a person signs up for a program, they’re in it to lose weight. They have the mindset to follow a plan, weigh in every week and see their progress. We don’t know what other changes each person makes during their program, like being more physically active or less stressed. However, it seems most clients are not provided the education on the nutritional facts and ingredients. High Fructose Corn Syrup, anyone?
Fortunately in my dad’s case, Jaime and I have been sharing the differences between GMO vs non-GMO, Organic vs non-Organic, processed vs natural, enhanced, etc. Some of which he knew already, but like many, its a gradual process to invest your time and effort to learn about what is good vs bad, healthy vs unhealthy. It is your body and a pretty important piece to your livelihood. Many adults have grown up strictly on processed diets, some have suffered tremendously from poor diets and many don’t have the proper education behind foods they consume on the daily.
Please let me know if I’m being ignorant or naive to things I’ve mentioned above. I know I didn’t dive into other topics within this whole weight loss / diet program industry, I’m still learning! Some other questions to think about if you’re thinking about or on a meal plan or diet could be:
- Am I losing weight in a healthy, effective manner?
- How much movement, how active am I throughout the day?
- How is my body reacting to the foods I’m consuming?
- Why do I care about the ingredients + how do I find out more about them?
*Bonus – I have been using Thrive Market the past month, a newer online marketplace for healthy living. Great products, solid pricing. Check them out!
Local produce Farmer’s Markets & are a great way to find fresh and natural fruits and veggies to spice up your meals.