There aren’t too many days that go by I am not asked about supplements such as Herbal Life, IsaGenix, Advocare, Thrive (the new guy to the scene), or some other nutrition program that can only be purchase through a “distributor”. A distributor is usually someone who doesn’t know much about the science behind the supplementation and is often financially motivated by you purchasing this product or they have used the product and obtained tremendous results.

Full disclosure, I have even been a distributor of all of these companies with the exception of Thrive. The Personal Training business can be a brutal battleground where you either feast or famine. So trying to create “residual income” was very appealing. Besides people ask what supplements should they take all the time, at least now I can have something in my back pocket to give them, right? Unfortunately, none of them worked as planned; much like my feeble attempt at Primerica, 5 Linx, and Amway when I was 18 and 19 years old.

Now before you get your pantaloons twisted in a bunch this blog post is not about Multi Level Marketing business structure (I have personally seen people grow a 6 figure business in a Multi-Level Marketing) instead I want to focus on a simple yet most important question as it pertains to the products sold in Nutritional MLM companies; Do They Work?

Let’s start with this!

Correlation does not equal Causation!

Simply; when two variables are found to be correlated, it is tempting to assume that this shows that one variable causes the other. This should never be the standard to prove if something works.

Just because every time you wear your Kobe Bryant Jersey the Lakers win does not mean you are there good luck charm and cause of their success; nor should you tell anyone that stupid story. (People say anything at the Sports Bar!)

How does this “correlate” (see what I did there?) to nutrition.

Let’s take the HCG diet protocol. If you are not familiar with this particular protocol that has helped thousands of people shed a ridiculous amount of poundage; it is as follows. Subjects squirt a few droplets of HCG; Human chorionic gonadotropin; a hormone created when women are pregnant and detected in their urine. In addition to the drops, also eat a 500 calorie diet. Yes; essentially you are dropping a pregnant woman’s urine on your tongue. And; Yes it works, but is it the HCG? or, is it the 500 calories? The answer is obviously the 500 calories right if you don’t think so then I have the skittle diet all packaged up and ready to go for the low price of $99.99. All you have to do is eat 2 skittles for breakfast lunch and dinner and the pounds will shed faster than my wife’s bra after a hard days work; with full under boob scratching and everything.

But I digress.

MLM Nutrition programs understand, as well as any nutrition program including your local trainer or “nutritionist”, that change will produce results. So to answer my question; Do they work? Yes! But it may have less to do with the actual product and more to do with all the other variables.

Here’s what I mean:

Often times; I am approached by the Pastors and Evangelists of the Veganism No Meat Missionary Church; usually in Hot Yoga class (sorry for stereotyping but I’m not to far off from reality, right?!) proclaiming the great health benefits of going vegan. These benefits include reduced body weight, normalized cholesterol and blood pressure, an increase in energy, and possibly a longer life. Who knows if the latter is true but it seems to be a common statement among this group?

I get if you are a vegan because you have social or religious responsibilities you hold dear; and I totally respect it, but to profess it’s the best way to be healthy is a mediocre at best. Could it be that the cause of your increased health benefits had more to do with the increased amount of vegetables and less to do with your decrease or void of meat?  Possibly!

This may be the same in regards to these nutrition programs. Is it the shake or the pills that are aiding you in losing weight? Or, is it simply the fact that you are going from consuming McDonald’s, Pepsi, and Snickerdoodles to eating something somewhat nutritious and remarkably less in calories? Possibly as well! 

So to bring me back to my original question I must in good faith and definitively answer; YES THESE PROGRAMS WORK!

Here’s why they work!

  • They do an excellent job of helping you change bad behaviors.
  • They create support systems with coaches and other like minded people trying to accomplish the very things you wish to accomplish.
  • They give you step by step instructions of what to do.
  • They show that you are not alone in this journey.
  • They teach you to help others achieve the same success you were able to.

So what if you get paid for it! I get paid for what I do! What’s the difference between paying $200 per month to get my health and wellness strategies and access to my exercise classes from paying $200 per month in nutritional supplements from a distributor? [Insert Health and Wellness Purest’s Rant About Balanced Meals and Exercise] You purest may be right and I tend to lean on the side of the purests but these programs are achieving similar results and we should embrace it; don’t ya think? (Just don’t ask me what you should do because; as I said, I am a purest I just understand where you are coming from!)

I have only one disclaimer. Change is continuous. Regardless, if you become a vegetarian, join Jenny Craig’s, or become a distributor for Herbal Life just remember consistency is the only way to succeed.