SkinnyBits, a NOT Recommended Product

SkinnyBits, a NOT Recommended Product

Eat real food and improve your health.

This is not a hard concept, and yet we all want shortcuts, no matter how badly they reek of snake oil (Shape-ups, anyone?). But nothing beats the smarmy, self-congratulatory press release we received this morning at Gear Diary.

In it, we were assured of “Better Skin! Weight loss! Better nutrition!” And all it will take to accomplish this is algae tablets! Just 30 a day — though 40-100 would be even better (not surprising since the company charges $117 for 1,000 of them). Apparently, Spirulina is nature’s little miracle plant!

Being the skeptical type, I did some digging; I discovered the only references to many of the claims in the press release were only in the press release.

I asked the “Naughty Bits” company to answer a few questions for me:

Thanks so much for passing the SkinnyBits press release on to Gear Diary. Before we post it, I have a few questions regarding the claims in the press release.

1) You claim that Spirulina tablets have more protein than steak. I did some research, and everything I saw indicated Spirulina is a more complete protein than legumes but is lacking in a few nutrients versus animal protein. Also, I did not see any substantiation of your claim that there is more protein than in meat. Could you please clarify?

2) I also could not find proof that the United Nations has ever endorsed Spirulina. Can you provide a source for this claim?

3) While it is true that many athletes use Spirulina and other algae as a supplement, my understanding is that they do so in protein powder form. At what level of consumption do SkinnyBits equal a protein powder supplement with Spirulina added?

4) Where are SkinnyBits manufactured? There have been a few scary tales of supplements that were tainted with heavy metals and other impurities, and it seems especially common in “health” supplements such as algae. What protections are in place to ensure these are high quality?

5) What sort of consumption do you advocate for weight loss benefits? If you are saying replace 200 calories of fruit, veggies and nuts as snacks with 30 calories of SkinnyBits, yes, someone will lose weight. But it’s not from the SkinnyBits, it’s a reduction of calories in/calories out. If SkinnyBits can help you lose weight while eating normally, I would like a reference to the weight loss studies that determined this benefit.

I appreciate your help. With the overabundance of supplements and over exaggerated health claims, I am just reluctant to share this press release without being able to properly educate our readers (and your potential consumers)

Thanks!

I sent this email on Friday morning, and I still haven’t received an answer, so, buyer beware!

Their claims are dubious at best, downright dangerous at worst (advocating cutting meals for 1-calorie algae chews is not a good idea), and their reluctance to respond after they came to us for some publicity? Well; I think it’s safe to slap this with a big ol’ DO NOT RECOMMEND.

About the Author

Carly Z
Carly has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to her first PDA (a Palm M100). She quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. She loves writing about ebooks because they combine her two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?
  • Skinnybits

    After receiving these questions on a Friday, August 17, we did not have time to respond with our answers before this blog post was posted on Monday, August 20th. To clear the air, as algae is the most honest food there is, here are the answers to your questions:

    1) You claim that Spirulina tablets have more protein than steak. I did some research, and everything I saw indicated Spirulina is a more complete protein than legumes but is lacking in a few nutrients versus animal protein. Also, I did not see any substantiation of your claim that there is more protein than in meat. Could you please clarify?

    There are 22 amino acids. Nine are considered essential amino acids because your body cannot make them. Algae contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Legumes do not have all the essential amino acids so they are incomplete proteins. Algae contains 18 of the 22 amino acids. Algae is a far superior form of protein when compared to meat or any animal protein for five main reasons: 1) the protein in algae is already in amino acid form, so it is 99% absorbed. In contrast, animal meat needs to be broken down into amino acids before it can be absorbed by the body and in most cases, most people are missing many of the factors and co-factors that allow this to occur during digestion, so on average only 23% of the amino acids are absorbed (compared to 99% for algae); 2) the protein/amino acids in algae are absorbed instantly …or within just a few minutes and require virtually no digestion. In contrast, it can easily take 3 days for animal protein to be digested and the amino acids made available to the body 3) algae contains virtually no calories since it is plant based so when you use it as a protein source, you are not taking in extra and unnecessary calories or chemicals that may have been part of the food chain fed to animals. In contrast, animal meat contains very high calories and also fat and other unwanted chemicals due to the unhealthy foods and unpleasant treatment of animals. Algae has none of this and ours are organically grown and NON GMO 4) algae contain 40 other green nutrients (vitamins, , chlorophyll etc) that are very critical to your health. Animal protein contains none of these healthy green nutrients. 5) algae is the most alkaline food in the world and it has been proven that an alkaline diet is a healthy one that protects and builds your immune system. In fact I started our company four years ago as a result of my younger sister getting breast cancer and her oncologist told her to eat an alkaline diet because it would help her heal. I did the research for her to find out what an alkaline diet was and that is how I found out about algae (she is fully healed by the way…thanks for asking) Animal protein in acidic and eating large amounts of it is what is contributing to many of our health problems in America. In fact it always has (that’s what causes things like gout….). There are PLENTY of more reasons why algae is a superior form of protein and nutrition over all. In fact a quote from NASA sums it up and they say “1 gram of algae has the nutritional equivalent of 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables” That’s why they have fed it to astronauts on space missions for the last 50 years.

    You asked us to substantiate our claims that algae has more protein than steak. The Germans won a NOBEL PRIZE in the early 1900’s for discovering that algae has the highest concentration of protein in the world (over 60% compared to only 22% for animal meat). Every single study since this have confirmed this high concentration of protein. It’s science. Its measured and there are tens of thousands of references to it.

    2) I also could not find proof that the United Nations has ever endorsed Spirulina. Can you provide a source for this claim?

    The United Nations has hailed spirulina as the “best food for the future”and solution to world hunger at its world conference held during 1974 and ever since there have been multiple multiple documents and references to it. Here is a link to one of them. http://www.iimsam.org/

    3) While it is true that many athletes use Spirulina and other algae as a supplement, my understanding is that they do so in protein powder form. At what level of consumption do SkinnyBits equal a protein powder supplement with Spirulina added?

    We do not support the use of protein powder because so many of them contain other ingredients that are unhealthy (such as sugar). Furthermore, as noted above, no protein is as readily absorbed and readily available as the protein from algae. There are approximately 2 grams of protein in each 12 tabs of our ENERGYbits or SKINNYbits (both are 100% organic spirulina). We recommend athletes take 5 times this amount prior to a workout or any athletic activity which provides them with 10 grams of protein. However, because 99% of the amino acids/protein are absorbed, we have read that the BIO AVAILABLE amount of protein from algae is SIGNIFICANTLY higher and up to 12 times that of anything else. Thus, a serving of 60 tabs of ENERGYbits COULD feasibly give you the 50-100 grams of protein. All I can tell you right now is that we are a SMALL company and we do not have the financial resources to test this further on our own but we will once we can. In the interim, all I can tell you is that we have testimonials from Olympic athletes and other elite athletes telling us that our algae made the difference in their performance. That’s good enough for us right now. Hopefully you will have the chance to try it so you can feel the difference personally. Its really the best way to be a judge of it.

    4) Where are SkinnyBits manufactured? There have been a few scary tales of supplements that were tainted with heavy metals and other impurities, and it seems especially common in “health” supplements such as algae. What protections are in place to ensure [sic] these are high quality?

    Our Skinnybits aren’t “manufactured”. ONLY SUPPLEMENTS ARE MANUFACTURED. Supplements are made in labs from artificial ingredients or extracts. ALL of our algae, including SKINNYbits are grown and harvested. It is a CROP and is no different than spinach or tomatoes. Our algae is grown in water, like many vegetables these days. This is called growing vegetable hydroponically. You’ve likely heard of this. We then AIR DRY the algae to ensure all the enzymes are intact (so it is considered a raw food). There are NO things added or substracted. It is a 100% green vegetable. There is no sugar, chemicals or caffeine, no soy, no gluten, no animal products. Nothing. Just 100% green nutrition. Our algae is grown in Taiwan – the world’s most respected country for growing and harvesting algae. I spent a full year researching different countries and different growing techniques and different companies who grow algae. You are right there ARE some scary stories about supplements being made with impuritieis in them and MOST of those come from China. That is why we strongly advise people from buying the less expensive algae on the market. Most of it comes from China and you have no idea what they are really putting in there. In contrast, our partner who grows our algae for us has the highest quality standards in the world and has been growing algae for fifty years. They have the ISO 9000 certification – which is a rigorous international standards that measures quality controls and is very difficult to obtain and they are recertified every year. They also have the GMP certification (General Manufacturing Procedures) which is also an international standard, plus we are the only algae supplier with their NON GMO certification. We are also a certified organic grower of algae.

    5) What sort of consumption do you advocate for weight loss benefits? If you are saying replace 200 calories of fruit, veggies and nuts as snacks with 30 calories of SkinnyBits, yes, someone will lose weight. But it’s not from the SkinnyBits, it’s a reduction of calories in/calories out. If SkinnyBits can help you lose weight while eating normally, I would like a reference to the weight loss studies that determined this benefit.

    The reason why algae and SKINNYbits helps you lose weight is due to the HIGH protein (64%) and the high amount of Omega 3, both of which satisfy your hunger and give you all the protein and healthy fats you need so that you also do not crave other unhealthy sugary snacks. It does all this for just one calorie per tab. The low calories is because algae is a plant. If someone wanted to lose weight or indeed maintain their weight, I would recommend they do what I do….I have 75-100 tabs for breakfast EVERY morning (I eat them with a few berries but you can also swallow them) These 75 calories will keep you full for hours. Then you could eat a healthy salad with protein (maybe eggs or fish) for lunch, snack on another 50-100 SKINNYbits throughout the day whenever you are hungry or tired and have a healthy dinner of salad and lean protein. You should also include some form of exercise every day. Even walking. This routine will surely help people lose weight or maintain their weight. We DO NOT promote SKINNYBITS as a weight loss trick or weight loss gimmick. It is merely healthy, high protein, low calorie food that fills you up, balances your blood sugar and provides all the nutrition
    and nourishment you need for the day.

    Any further questions can be sent to aamand@skinnybits.com

    Thank you!

  • Chicken

    Why do you have [sic] after ensure? Insure = buy insurance for.. to me it looks like ensure was used correctly, what am I missing?