At Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), we consigned weight loss to the third rail” of supplements: dangerous space that regulators, reporters and legislators eye with vigilance and vehemence. In retrospect, we were wrong.
The third rail implies instant death, and yet the weight loss category lives on.
Call it the category that cant be killed, though its heart is bristling with stakes. Inefficacy and everything from jitters to outright danger have not killed weight loss, but it has been wounded. NBJ estimates weight loss supplement pills growing by 1.6 percent in 2016, after going negative the year before. To put that in perspective, weight loss supplement pills sales soared at 20-percent growth in 2001. Now the ephedra days are long gone, and Dr. Oz drowned the pill concept in a murky sea of raspberry ketones and Garcinia cambogia. There is a sucker born every minute, but those suckers have Google now. Make no mistake, its still a US$2.1 billion business, but the trendline is obvious and could get steeper. Short of serious science-backed innovation, the pill category, and really the whole notion of weight loss” in supplements, could be on life support at some point.
Maybe its time to let it die.
At NBJ, we are adding standing in line with our stake. We no longer track a weight loss” category. We now track weight management.” Thats semantics to a point, but that point is worth making. Others are making it and people are finally listening, as the sale figures suggest.
The industry needs to listen too, of course. It might hear some encouraging news.
Looking at the weight loss category as weight management allows brands to wire in a lifestyle theme that promises a longer life cycle for their products. Weight loss is something you give up when it doesnt work. Weight management is, very realistically, a lifelong pursuit. Thats part of why weve renamed, and re-envisioned, the category. Envisioning weight management as part of a lifestyle that includes active nutrition puts it in a very different light on a totally different shelf. We havent started calling sports nutrition active nutrition,” but check back with us in a few years.
Perhaps the biggest ingredient of change in weight management is protein. Protein has become the last macronutrient standing.” Carbohydrates never recovered from the Atkins era. You can still buy low-carb versions of almost everything. Some even blame fat free” for rising obesity rates, when theyre not blaming something else. Fat itself may be making a comeback of sorts. Dave Asprey made fat cool again with Bulletproof Coffee. Its grass-fed butter, but its still butter, in coffee, a product trend nobody could have predicted. Despite the hype, its probably a product nobody should be taking a bet on going past a fad, either. The ketogenic diet, with its deadeye focus on fat, is tiptoeing in from the fringes, but NBJ is doubtful of the longevity there. Hardcore diets are hard to follow.
But protein still has a glow. Were not getting enough of it, experts say. We cant get enough of it, the CrossFit crowd claims. As sports nutrition crawled out of the gym and into the shopping bag in the backseat of the soccer moms minivan, protein has effectively become a weight loss supplement. It builds muscle, and everybody knows muscle burns fat, right? The thermogenic effect of some weight loss pills promises to boost metabolism, but protein really does. And it keeps doing it when its incorporated into the active” part of active nutrition.
All of this makes sports nutrition and weight management difficult to separate into two categories. While protein sales grew at 6.3 percent in 2016, weight management meal replacement drinks grew at 7.2 percent, not far behind the 7.5 percent for all sports nutrition products. Wed be surprised if everybody incorporating protein into their lose-it-or-keep-it-off strategy was looking for the words weight loss” on their tubs of protein powder or smoothie mix. They may not want to see the words at all.
Protein has moved into everything from pancakes to ice cream. Its not even a trend anymore. Its a way of life.
How people live that life in the day-to-day/minute-to-minute scope is a trickier part of weight management. NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis” is emerging as the unseen and somewhat effortless piece in weight management. NEAT is the mundane physicality of living in the world;, everything from walking to the car and mopping the floor to fidgeting at your desk creates a slow burn for calories that adds up. Its what weight loss researchers are talking about now. That low-level energy expenditure has turned out to be a key difference in people who lose weight or never gain it in the first place, and the suffering legions waiting for a flicker of hope on the bathroom scale. Consider those naturally thin” people you envy. They dont sit still, even when they are at their standing desks (which you should have by now).
But supports fidgeting” would be a difficult claim to justify, and thats what coffee is for anyway. The better play might likely come from effectively linking nutrition plans to the millions of Fitbits sitting in nightstand drawers nationwide. STYR Labs is doing that with an activity monitor that prescribes vitamins and a specific amount of protein, but there is plenty of white space here. Counting steps is boring until it becomes more actionable information. X steps + Y protein equals you can have dessert tonight” is a formula people could get behind, but sports nutrition and the weight management category have only flirted with wearables so far. With everybody in third grade and older carrying a smartphone that tracks movement, its not hard to see a smart company plugging its products into that 24/7 feedback.
Thats innovation at the digital level. Innovation at the ingredient level isnt stopping, but the sights have been lowered to target a more shallow trajectory. Theres not a ton of innovation left for green tea and caffeine in the post-ephedra age. The sales show that. But dont rule out the appeal of formulations that could boost metabolism more subtly, something closer to NEAT than intervals on the bleacher steps. InterHealth and ChromaDex are targeting metabolism with ingredients that kick-start mitochondria and subcellular mechanisms that drive metabolic function. Sub-jitter thermogenic branded ingredient versions of cinnamon and capsaicin also have promise at the slow-burn end of manipulating the metabolism. Again, pair it with the right app and by-the-numbers progress reports, match it to a deeper product line, and move it into the lifestyle column.
All of this is a reminder that weight management is the new reality. Promising pounds off in any time frame quicker than gradual is going to draw eye rolling, especially in the age of the cord-cutter when cable subscriptions are predicted to plummet and there wont be many eyeballs left for those insufferable infomercials. We have entered the age of influencer marketing, and the number of influencers eager to put their Twitter following on questionable ingredients is likely low. Integrity and transparency are integral to the influencer community. Instead, tech-connected protein and supplements to tick up but not boost” metabolism dont just make sense because thats a palatable promise. They make sense because thats basically all that really works.
Its not about weight loss any more, at least not past the two-week part of the Lose 10 pounds in two weeks!” pitch. Its about weight management. Its about lifestyle. And lifestyle is about people sticking with something over the long haul.
And potentially sticking with a product or brand on that journey.
Looking for more on weight loss ingredients and how to target consumers with appropriate messaging? Join us with Rick Politofor the TacklingWeight Management with Nutrition workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at SupplySide West 2017. The Workshop is underwritten by NNB.
As Nutrition Business Journal’s editor in chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and figures never tell the whole story and that the story of this industry has always been about people.
- New Jersey Weight Loss Surgery | RWJBarnabas Health - June 2nd, 2019
- Weight Loss Programs | Nebraska Weight Management Institute - May 21st, 2019
- Weight Management - Terrebonne General Medical Center - May 20th, 2019
- Weight Management - UChicago Medicine - May 19th, 2019
- Jersey Medical Weight Loss Center: Weight Loss Physicians ... - May 17th, 2019
- Carolina Weight Loss Institute - April 30th, 2019
- Advanced Medical Weight Loss & Wellness Center in Las ... - April 10th, 2019
- Weight Management - Fort HealthCare - April 10th, 2019
- Achieve Your Goals with This Weight Management Checklist ... - April 6th, 2019
- Nurse-Led Weight Management Programs - ausmed.com - March 21st, 2019
- Essay on The Importance of Weight Management - 594 Words - March 21st, 2019
- Weight Management - Regional Health Orthopedic & Specialty ... - March 8th, 2019
- Weight Management - MedicineNet - February 9th, 2019
- CORE Weight Management - Wellness Pet Food - January 29th, 2019
- Parkinson's Foundation: Better Lives. Together. - January 23rd, 2019
- Weight Management | Summit Medical Group - January 23rd, 2019
- Weight Management Services - umms.org - January 23rd, 2019
- Weight Management Program - The LIFT - January 23rd, 2019
- Weight Management - Health & Nutrition - Youngevity - January 23rd, 2019
- North Carolina Weight & Wellness: Obesity Medicine ... - January 14th, 2019
- Weight Management Center | Wake Forest Baptist Health - January 2nd, 2019
- Weight Management | University of Maryland Medical Center - January 2nd, 2019
- Weight Management Program | NYU Langone Health - January 2nd, 2019
- Weight Management | Office of Work-Life at Columbia University - January 2nd, 2019
- Weight Loss Centers in Washington - Yelp - December 23rd, 2018
- Delta Medical Weight Management Center - dmwmc.com - October 30th, 2018
- Weight Management for Your Life: Ten Steps to Prepare You ... - September 29th, 2018
- Weight Loss Management Center at UWMC - Roosevelt | UW ... - September 28th, 2018
- Weight Loss | Washington University Physicians - September 28th, 2018
- Weight Management Resources - Verywell Fit - September 28th, 2018
- Plainfield NJ Family Physician Doctors - Weight Management ... - August 30th, 2018
- Weight Loss Specialist | Weight Loss Coach | ACE - August 20th, 2018
- SmartFitWeightLoss.com - August 5th, 2018
- Weight Management Olympia Compounding Pharmacy - April 6th, 2018
- Medical Weight Loss Clinic | Medical Weight Management ... - March 13th, 2018
- Weight Management | Reading Hospital - March 13th, 2018
- Weight Management Louisville, Kentucky (KY), Norton Healthcare - March 13th, 2018
- Center for Weight & Wellness - Lifespan - March 13th, 2018
- MUSC Health Weight Management Center | Charleston SC - February 27th, 2018
- Weight Management - County of Sonoma, California - February 5th, 2018
- Weight Management - dTERRA Product Line | dTERRA ... - February 5th, 2018
- Weight Management Program - NYP.org - January 3rd, 2018
- Weight Management Resources - Verywell - December 28th, 2017
- Weight Management-Topic Overview - WebMD - December 1st, 2017
- The Institute for Weight Management - Hackensack, NJ - November 10th, 2017
- How Avocado Can Help with Weight Management - October 13th, 2017
- Weight Management | Compounding Pharmacy - Absolute Pharmacy - September 20th, 2017
- Can ventolin inhaler cause weight loss - Ventolin expectorant capsule price philippines - Laughlin Entertainer - August 27th, 2017
- Veterans' lives, health honored at wellness event in Butler - New Castle News - August 27th, 2017
- Healthy eating the best way to lose weight - Tahlequah Daily Press - August 27th, 2017
- Weight-loss firm makes apparent Stamford exit - The Advocate - August 27th, 2017
- The Role of Body Composition in Weight Management - Natural Products INSIDER - August 24th, 2017
- Get fit: The 5 best exercises for fat loss - Daily Commercial - August 24th, 2017
- These Are The Best Foods For Weight Loss - Huffington Post Australia - August 24th, 2017
- 5 local resources to help control diabetes - Twin Falls Times-News - August 20th, 2017
- Weight not a factor as energy dense foods appear to up cancer risk - FoodNavigator.com - August 18th, 2017
- Infrared Sauna Benefits Include Pain Management, Weight Loss - Metro US - August 18th, 2017
- The best exercise for weight loss, according to science - NEWS.com.au - August 13th, 2017
- Family Health News Has Positive Experience at Weight ... - Benzinga - Benzinga - August 11th, 2017
- Lifestyle-modification programs for weight management in Arab states lack in effectiveness - Medical Xpress - August 10th, 2017
- Exercise as a Weight-Loss Strategy - New York Times - August 9th, 2017
- Research Behind Top Weight Management Ingredients - Natural Products INSIDER - August 9th, 2017
- Lifestyle-modification programs for weight management in Arab states lack in effectiveness - Gears Of Biz - August 9th, 2017
- Diet Soda Linked to Weight Gain, Not Weight Loss - Olive Oil Times - Olive Oil Times - August 9th, 2017
- The 15-Minute Cardio Workout Perfect for Beginners Trying to Lose Weight - Shape Magazine - August 9th, 2017
- Weight Management Supplements | eBay - August 7th, 2017
- An easy, healthy way to control your weight - Thegardenisland.com - August 7th, 2017
- Newly Published Study Shows Supplementation Of Capsicum Extract Helps Increase Metabolic Rate - Markets Insider - August 7th, 2017
- Elicina Participates in Successful Weight Management, Sports ... - Benzinga - August 3rd, 2017
- Ask a Specialist: How Weight Loss Surgery Can Treat Type 2 Diabetes - KHON2 - August 3rd, 2017
- Diet Doc Offers Customized Weight Loss Solutions Amid Mediterranean Diet Doubts - GlobeNewswire (press release) - August 3rd, 2017
- UFC willing to add new ABC weight classes 'when the time is right' - MMAmania.com - August 3rd, 2017
- Asthma inhaler weight loss - Ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate side effects - Van Wert independent - July 11th, 2017
- Weight Management Clinic Scarborough - Weight Management ... - July 7th, 2017
- Conversation Cards a Useful Tool in Pediatric Weight Management - Newswise (press release) - July 7th, 2017
- 7 ways to follow a low-carb diet the right way - Today.com - July 7th, 2017
- Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss - ACV Weight Loss - Woman's Day - WomansDay.com (blog) - July 6th, 2017
- Nolvadex for steroid users - Diabex side effects weight loss - Longboat Key News - July 6th, 2017
- VIVUS Settles with Teva on Weight Management Drug Generic - Zacks.com - July 6th, 2017
- Weight Management Ingredients - Natural Products INSIDER - July 5th, 2017