Supplement Red Flags


Supplements 101

Have you ever wondered about which supplements you should take, or how to know which supplement companies are trustworthy? Well, like the relationship status people sometimes admit on Facebook… it’s complicated!

First of all, supplements should never be taken in place of a healthy diet, or “just in case.”

Some dietary supplements can be harmful and hinder performance when too much is taken, or if it’s taken at the wrong time.

Supplement Safety

Supplements are no longer regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), meaning the FDA is not funded or backed to provide assurance for purity, safety, or effectiveness.

3 of Dr. Oz’s Biggest Weight Loss Lies Debunked YouTube Video

The next time you hear someone tell you a product will: “Blast your belly fat” has “Targeted fat loss” or will “Kill your cravings”…throw your red flag in the air and hold on to your wallet, cowboy!

Here are some more red flags to be aware of when shopping for your supplements (or when those infomercials come on and you’re feeling desperate):


Listen to the Supplement Red Flags podcast episode here 

As many as 1 in 10 supplements can be contaminated with ingredients prohibited in sports and, according the findings by the USFDA, approximately 75% of supplement contamination issues come from drugs not banned in sports, leaving the general consumer at risk.

These labs do the following & more to keep you safe:
•Verify that products do not contain unsafe levels of contaminants, prohibited substances, or masking agents
•Assure the ingredients on the label match the ingredients in the product
•Confirm the products are manufactured at a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) registered facility


FDA Pic showing an example of a supplement scam

Learn more about supplement safety & legitimacy here:
NSF Certified Sport:
Informed Sport:
Banned Substances Control Group:
Consumer Lab:


Be aware that just because one product is certified safe within a company, it doesn’t mean all of their products are certified safe (wicked

frustrating, we know!).

While dietary supplements can be useful for some people, we should always aim to take the food first approach because in most cases the best way for our bodies to metabolize nutrients efficiently is in their original package (not an extract or a synthetic version).

Save this instagram post as a reference for general suggestions on proper fueling before exercise to get the most bang for your buck & perform better!

#protip #supplement #supplementfacts #nutrition #sportsnutrition #fitness #athlete #nutritionfacts #redflags #healthydiet #healthyliving #registereddietitian #RD #RDtips

Post & graphic design created by Madison MacFarland for Major League Nutrition as a part of her Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Dietetic Internship sports nutrition rotation. Originally created for instagram, edited for article format by Nicole Chenard, MS, RD, LDN.

Published by Admin

Nicole earned her bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Simmons College while working as a Personal Trainer at Boston Sports Clubs and Gold's Gym. While at Simmons College, she competed in crew, ice hockey and cheerleading. She went on to earn her master's degree in Applied Nutrition with a concentration in Fitness from Northeastern University. Between undergraduate school and graduate school, Nicole completed one year of service under the auspices of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a Wellness Coordinator at a K-12 public charter school. Nicole completed her Dietetic Internship through Wellness Workdays to gain experience in Clinical Dietetics, Community Nutrition, Long Term Care Nutrition, Food Service Management, Corporate Wellness, Private Nutrition Counseling, and Sports Dietetics. Nicole worked as a Research Assistant at Tufts University for a Preliminary Investigation of Civic Engagement as a Novel Approach to Behavior Change and Body Weight Improvement in African American Females: The Change Club Study. Nicole recently launched the clinical and fitness nutrition programs for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital's Home Base Program. For the past few years, Nicole has increased wellness programs at the John Nagle Co. in Boston's Seaport District, bringing in fitness instructors, yoga instructors, the American Heart Association, healthy restaurant options, and health screenings to a diverse population of fisheries workers. More recently, Nicole worked on the Framingham State Food Study with Boston Children's Hospital and is currently working on the Breast Cancer Weight Loss Study with Dana Farber. Nicole continues to help deployed service members and their spouses and partners find and create new avenues for healthy lifestyles before, during, and after deployment. Nicole has experience counseling veterans, professional, adult and college athletes, and individuals and families looking to make changes in their routines to better their health. Nicole lives an active lifestyle and this year completed the Boston Marathon injury and cramp-free. Nicole enjoys educating individuals and groups. Some of the topics she teaches include: Choosing Foods to Improve Your Mood, Eating for Exercise, How to Navigate the Grocery Store, Eat This not That, Building a Balanced Meal, How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, and Finding Health Sources You Can Trust.

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