To have pumped up muscles, toned body, six pack abs and a physique to die for is every guy’s dream. And this craze is clearly seen as soon as they step into adolescence. They start hitting the gym, consume dietary supplements and what not!
According to a report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), about 78% of adolescents in urban India consume dietary supplements of some kind daily which has led to a huge rise in the demand for these supplements.
A report in the Economic Times also read that whey protein industry is estimated to grow by 22% between 2014 and 2020. The ASSOCHAM report estimates that the supplement industry will double in size in the same period. Unfortunately, with the growing demand, grew a major rise in adulteration and counterfeiting.
ASSOCHAM report also says that a whopping 60-70% of the dietary supplements sold in India are fake, counterfeit, unregistered and unapproved.
The supplements business is billion-dollar revenue industry. The counterfeit supplement business is even more lucrative. These counterfeit products resemble the originals so much that it is next to impossible to distinguish between the two. Forget, doing good, these fake supplements negatively affect the fitness levels. Given the fact, that young adults consume a major part of these supplements, therefore, the future of the country is in real danger!
Fake supplements might contain steroids, not every time as they are expensive. Steroids immediately show effects so the supplement results get hyped. Steroids have too many side effects like testicular atrophy, acne, and even extreme mood swings, to name a few. Simply put, having no supplements, is a better option than having fake supplements.
Here’s how you identify them:
1. The art of checking the label
The most important thing is to research and check the labels. Fake supplements usually come with different fonts, spelling mistakes, misalignment of logos and even wrong colours. The tagline may also be incorrect. So, if you can master the art of checking the labels, you will never go wrong in buying supplements.
2. Check the manufacture date
You can find the manufacturing date on the bottom of the jar, or on the side of the lid or rarely on the jar itself. Check all three, and if you can’t find it, the product is fake. Always check the LOT number. If the format is wrong, the supplement is fake.
3. Check the Seal(s)
Checking seals are important. You will have to observe two components. Firstly, the seal on the outside of the lid. If you spot some tears or if the seal arrangement is dubious, it’s best to not buy such a product. Secondly, once you open the supplement check if the under-seal is present or not. All supplement companies usually have an under-seal and if it’s not present, verify with the original packaging. If the original has one, the product you bought is a counterfeit!
4. Incorrect Hologram
It is one of the easiest ways to spot a fake supplement. All you have to do is see the hologram and its placement. Usually, branded companies have holograms that come loaded with security features and are very difficult to replicate because they are manufactured using sophisticated technologies. If the hologram looks too simple, colour looks dull and it lacks security features, it is better to double cross-check.
5. Different Taste
You’ll be able to do this only after you have opened the product and therefore the chances of returning the item reduce drastically. Mix the contents in a blender. There’s literally no protein powder that doesn’t mix. If your supplement doesn’t mix, it’s fake. Also, if your protein powder tastes weird, check it again. Fake supplements will not match up to the flavour.
6. Check the Bar Code/QR Code
This is the latest method to check the authenticity of the product. A bar code and QR code are unique and thus difficult to replicate. Scan the QR code or bar code with a scanner (easily available in your app store/play store). Once you scan the same, you will get the entire picture of its genuineness.
With teenagers blindly following the race to become fit, the problem of counterfeit supplements has increased manifold. The government and supplement manufacturers should work together and chalk out a regulatory framework to deal with this problem. If the problem prolongs, the young population may get sick in fact very sick!
You need to understand that having no supplements is better than having fake supplements.