3 Warning Signs A Supplement Isn't Effective

Don't waste your time—or worse, don't do harm to yourself—with these unnecessary supplement products.

Most athletes try at least one type of supplement to increase their on-field performance. They can choose from a wide variety of products, but there are some supplements they should stay away from. STACK talked to sports dietitian Leslie Bonci to learn about  warning signs that indicate a supplement may be ineffective.

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A supplement should complement what an athlete eats. Supplements are not meant to replace food, and they should never cause harm. To learn whether a particular product is a supplement, check the label on the package. If it says "supplement facts," the product is a supplement.

Here are three warning signs that indicate a supplement is not effective.

1. Calories

If you need energy, energy shots are not the way to go. The only thing that gives an athlete good energy is calories. The label on the popular energy drink 5 Hour Energy implies that you will get  five hours of energy, but that most likely is not true. That drink only delivers four calories—not enough to energize anyone for five hours.

2. Diet Supplements

Dietary supplements are popular among those trying to lose weight, but when a dietary product comes in supplement form, it's probably a stimulant. That means when you exercise, your body could fatigue before you do anything productive due to a rapid heartbeat and heavy breathing.

3. Body Cleansing Supplements

Body cleansing supplements like Green Tea fat burner or Hoodia are laxative diuretics. That means they flush everything out of your digestive system, even the good stuff that athletes need. Instead of getting rid of fat, those supplements purge the body of valuable fluids and electrolytes.

Remember to check out these three warning signs the next time you think about buying a supplement.

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