Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. These are the words spoken by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek doctor whose namesake initiates the careers of every modern physician. However, I also believe this quote serves as the basis for peddling all so-called health products – with or without the full approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (KEEP CALM… We’ll get to that later).
As a fitness enthusiast (it was fun to manage a steady gym schedule for a few months), I have come across a number of companies that promised several kilograms less in a ‘relatively’ shorter time. Among those that are worth mentioning, TruVision (for better or worse) merits my pure and scathingly honest feedback and will help you understand whether TruVision is a scam or legit.
So, here I’m. You’re going to read a well-researched review on Truvision company and products.
What is TruVision?
First of all, I take pride in providing a simple explanation to most of the “excruciatingly specific” things. Why? It is because I enjoy not causing migraine (if not unintentional homicide) from my audience. With that in mind, I will describe TruVision’s profile as painless as possible – and by that, I mean no more than exactly 170 words.
TruVision has been operating since 2014 and they are primarily based in Utah. This company focuses on sales. All the seemingly cool stuff they advertise and distribute commercially are categorized into these three divisions:
- Core Products: anything to do with weight-loss
- Complementary Products: nothing to do with weight-loss
- By Nature Products: essential oils (yeah, I too am wondering why not just call it that)
TruVision also offers small profit opportunities for clients interested in joining their multi-level marketing scheme. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has given this enterprise an A+ rating. After all, $60 million in terms of revenue is never a small feat.
Mini-conclusion: the 170-word countdown is up (ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!!)…
By the looks of it, TruVision is doing pretty well when it comes to building their own positive image. But like all things that are just too good to be true, you could benefit from being a little cynical. Or better yet, it is good to have that cynicism supported by facts.
TruVision is no different from other commercial brands when it comes to persuading a lot of people to spend money than they really have to. As with any non-essential investments that buyers are led to splurge over, the focal point of their sales pitch is ‘insecurity’ (oh did I stutter?).
No other form of insecurity best hits closer to our hearts than the one that literally hits close to our hearts (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease). That’s right! TruVision thrives on one of the most contentious health epidemics in the country – obesity.
With up to 39.6% of adults in the United States considered obese since 2016, who wouldn’t want a ‘true vision’ towards perfect health? The initial key root word to consider is ‘the truth.’ And here are some of the inconvenient truths worth examining…
2017 FDA Lawsuit
Thank you for Keeping Calm… Moving forward, I’d say that nothing can be more embarrassing than a distributor of health products being called out by the highest authority behind consumable health products. With the nation’s biggest voice over such matters getting ‘personally’ involved, it’s pretty clear to imagine the gravity of their offense.
On November 30 of 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (the power that strongly suggests what you should or should not eat/drink) have composed a 3,442-word warning letter to convey how much TruVision really messed up this time. But true to my word of keeping things simple, I will generously trim away the technicalities and retain the gist of FDA’s complaint.
As far as the government is concerned, TruVision has released a total of six weight-loss products that are classified as either unapproved or misbranded drugs. They have specifically highlighted these following items for caution:
- TruWeight & Energy Gen 2
- Omega 3
The main problem with the six aforementioned Core Products is that TruVision seemed to play Russian roulette with technicalities. As far as the FDA is concerned, any product that claims to treat or prevent one or more diseases is defined as a drug. Their quality control department hasn’t quibbled enough with deeper science stuff to put some decent weight on their ‘genuine’ claims.
Anything that passes as a drug must catch the full attention of every licensed medical practitioner in the country. Doctors must be able to formulate a basic prescription based on their understanding of any of these aforementioned products. Since no physician in his/her right mind has ever prescribed these items for the intended purpose of cure and/or prevention, what other logical reasons should you have for consuming it?
By the FDA’s assessment, TruVision also violated several (specifically 8) counts of ‘misbranding.’ The most consistent error in their part is the failure to provide the exact serving size per container. For an industry whose very lifeline hangs on scientific accuracy, their mistakes ought to scare a lot of sensible buyers.
As a staunch advocate of hard work (strictly in terms of fitness), my personal reasons for discouraging TruVision as a weight-loss product goes beyond “because FDA says so.” By that same virtue, I am willing to personally pick apart certain aspects about TruVision I find odd (to put it very politely). Lucky for you, I am fond of supporting my hypotheses with existing scientific facts.
One of the key health components worth discussing is caffeine, particularly one that is sourced from green coffee bean extract (GCBE). In fact, honest discussions about this ingredient within the weight-loss realm have caused an unforgettable controversy.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is a popular voice of health and wellness in mass media. Like all people that achieved stardom, Dr. Oz is no stranger to unwanted public attention. One of the worst exposures that fell upon him was the 2014 Senate Hearing. Prior to this public inquiry, Dr. Oz was – to say the least – over-enthusiastic about the effects of GCBE as a weight-loss supplement and claims it as the magical weight-loss stuff.’
Guess who’s not a fan of magic spells? That’s right! They’re the US Federal Trade of Commission and Senator Clair McCaskill. Quoting from the words of the senator herself; Dr. Oz has skillfully ‘melded medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.’ And what did Dr. Oz have to say? Well, he found the most articulate and persuasive way of saying, “I didn’t really mean to harm consumers. It’s science’s fault!”
With studies about GCBE’s superb weight-loss performance being inconclusive at best or fraudulent at worst, at least anyone with a good grasp of the English language can guess that this ingredient contains caffeine (no matter how much some of TruVision’s product labels insist otherwise). Now, this is where things get embarrassingly simpler…
Normal people can’t help but consume caffeine. The most convenient form anyone can get is coffee (or tea for those who feel fancy). By virtue of simple mathematics, caffeine consumption is likely to increase in unhealthy dosage for those who take TruVision supplements and coffee (or tea) within the same day.
When it really comes down to choosing the lesser evil, a $5 bag of roasted ground coffee (consumable for more than 30 days) sounds like a better deal than over a $100 worth (retail price) of 30-day TruVision supplements.
Caffeine by itself can successfully simulate certain weight-loss effects but these are hardly ‘magical.’ With this in mind, why else would you prefer an unfamiliar manufactured product that got a bad stamp from FDA over a centuries-old natural consumer commodity?
Even if you have to consider the option of avoiding stimulants altogether (because they say there is no caffeine, yeah sure!), free tap water sounds a whole lot of a better deal than what these guys in TruVision are selling.
Had enough of magic spells? Those who knew about the verbal misadventures of our beloved Dr. Oz could be forgiven for thinking that he’s trying to juggle another hopeless career as Harry Potter. Another issue connected to his ‘charismatic’ statements on television concerns the magical weight-loss properties of raspberries (or more specifically, raspberry ketones).
There seems to be no difference between the presentation of green coffee bean extracts and raspberry ketones as ‘magical.’ However, upon closer look, I (and no doubt others who are more studious than me) have discovered that raspberry ketones are more convincing to peddle because the concept of ketosis itself requires a higher demand for fervent reading.
In other words, product sellers like TruVision can exploit the lack of deeper understanding among the masses regarding how exactly ketosis works. Fortunately, I am more than willing to impart some of the things I have learned from my over-enthusiastic reading.
Brace yourself! Here goes my 108-word background summary on ketosis:
Ketosis describes the ideal byproduct of physical workout and fasting. Think of the body burning fuel plus the relative absence of sugar in the blood (e.g. carb-rich diet). In principle, the body will look for an alternative source of energy – fats instead of sugar. The legit science of weight-loss works under this assumption.
A ketone, therefore, is a component responsible for ketosis. With that in mind, the two types of ketones are endogenic and exogenic. The natural way of losing weight via exercise and strict diet (e.g. fasting) releases endogenic ketones from the liver. What we are most interested in line with TruVision’s products are exogenic ketones.
Mini-conclusion: that wraps up the 108-word background (THIS IS SPARTA!!)
The part that got Dr. Oz into hot water with the 2014 Senate Hearing also concerns his zealous advocacy of raspberry ketones being (as precisely quoted) ‘the number one miracle in a bottle to burn to burn your fat.’ Yeah, it’s just like green coffee bean extract all over again.
Dr. Oz and his like-minded proponents managed to prop up raspberries as a poster child for exogenic ketones – the idea that the same desirable weight-loss effect can be externally and conveniently introduced. Although they do exhibit similar symptoms promoting weight loss, raspberry ketones hardly merit the most competitive types (e.g. ketone salt and ketone esters).
They may yield favorable physical effects conducive for losing weight. But what most people (including weight-loss companies) often overlook is the fact that there isn’t enough volume of studies to confirm the safety and sustainability of exogenic ketones for long-term use. In fact, several reports underscore the following side effects of raspberry ketones:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
But it’s not the negative consequence by itself that ought to alarm anyone who bought into Dr. Oz’s flamboyant advocacy. The real danger lies at the fact that nobody knows exactly how much precise dosage could trigger these side effects.
Surprise, surprise! TruVision has successfully accomplished what most health experts have exactly feared about raspberry ketones. This company has included it in its nutrition label, completely absent of precise dosage or content (so ‘perfect’ it made Ed Sheeran sing).
Stimulants and exogenic ketones also have their own fair share of ambiguous health risks. While it is convenient for us to blame the company and their celebrity adherents for peddling ‘borderline quackery,’ lazy and gullible consumers also need to acknowledge their role in perpetuating this cycle of ignorance.
Speaking of which… What else do we not know about ‘health and diet’? Or better yet, where else did TruVision mess things up (because we love to see the best in others, don’t we?)?
Among the things that also got my attention is the word ‘detox.’ I have a friend – a licensed dietician for 20 years – who has a lot of violent things to say about weight-loss products that shamelessly use the term to sell what she describes as ‘pure bullshit.’ Considering that her technical know-how far eclipses my own (even in my entire lifetime), I tried to do my own reading just for me to barely catch up to her outbursts.
Once again, I come to the conclusion that top players in the weight-loss industry can easily use the general public’s lack of understanding over topics that medical students spend grueling hours studying in order to barely pass their exams. The word ‘detox’ by itself rarely occupies the average vocabulary of average people during their average conversation.
Detoxification simply means the process of removing pollutants in the body (tadaaaaaa! oh wait……). Hence, when people buy products that are labeled ‘detox,’ they have the correct idea about what they want. They aim to remove ‘physical impurities.’
Unfortunately, the meaning of detox in the diet and weight-loss realm (which is, after all, a subgenre of medicine) is being hijacked by wrong assumptions over its process. In simple medical terms, you cannot detox if there are no contaminants to purge in the first place. This is the part where weight-loss companies are starting to head in a different direction.
When distributors like TruVision sell detox supplements (namely the ReNU), their key sales pitch is “your body is contaminated.” Again, we go back to the fragile sense of security most people have over their health simply based on how they look or how much they weigh compared to the ideal BMI (God, I hate that scale!).
If you drank too much vodka or is suffering from an untreated infection (sepsis), detox is an urgent medical necessity – which is, by the way, far beyond the TruVision’s jurisdiction. But even if applied in the milder context of ‘progressive wellness cleansing,’ the idea of introducing an unknown external substance to cause a known natural internal process can either be vain or dangerous.
According to traditional Eastern medicine – the scientific field that sustained Asian civilizations for thousands of years – detox (as a long-term wellness lifestyle) is a process that starts from inside the body – endogenous per se. The idea is to completely reset one’s diet and lifestyle. The earliest step in the long process is fasting: revving up the body’s natural ketosis (Uh oh!).
Anyone with the basic understanding of the English language knows that when an average person wants to undergo a weight-loss program – not eating for 12 to 16 hours is probably the least favorable requirement. Weight-loss companies thrive on the fact that they can offer an easier (hence, WRONG) way out. TruVision does the same thing when they sell stuff labeled as ‘detox.’
Based on the key ingredients (herbal laxatives and diuretics) featured in TruVision’s ReNU, the aforementioned supplement seems to direct its detox goal by ‘draining the body of its fluids.’ After all, your body is supposed to be attacked by God-knows-how-many toxins and it needs to be flushed. Yes, these guys thought peeing and pooping too many times you can imagine for what’s normal in a day is a good idea. If this isn’t a literal shit storm, I don’t know what is!
As someone who has spent a great deal enjoying cardio exercise, the idea of courting dehydration is just too horrific. Whoever thought that dizziness and lethargy is a true vision of health truly needs to reevaluate the very meaning of ‘a good idea’ for a very long time.
Completely contrary to the theory that water reduction is a valid detox method, water therapy instead has proven to be a highly recommendable practice for weight-loss. In 2011, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity confirmed how water intake before sleeping even for young children yielded results consistent with effective weight-loss (at exactly 1.2 kg per year, and this is relative to the total body weight of children below 9 years old).
The key to better weight-loss is hydration, not dehydration. In other words, detox =/= draining.
Among the things that TruVision’s core products guarantee is the supposedly amazing ability to curb anyone’s food (or sugar) cravings. Of course, with today’s consumerist mindset any company can truly earn by selling anything, ‘you can’t do without.’ In most cases with weight-loss companies, it’s more of simply selling things that say ‘you can’t do it’ (in your face, Nike!).
TruVision is right about one fact – the predominant modern American population can’t seem to take control of their insatiable hunger. As mentioned earlier, obesity is progressing as a national epidemic. Weight-loss companies are eager to ‘champion a cause’ (yeah right!) but they always thrive on the theory that people can’t succeed all by themselves.
For anyone who had the guts to do things their way (congratulations is in order, by the way), I have good news for you! Disclaimer: I am not saying that some of TruVision’s core products are ineffective at all. However, I am simply arguing against the idea that you can’t experience such benefits in other sources that prove to be cheaper, more convenient, and (most importantly) supported by verifiable medical literature.
Again, my criteria (and hopefully yours too) for finding a more superior alternative are the following: economy, practicality, and authenticity. It is possible to experience appetite suppression by exploring viable choices in terms of foods, stimulants, and even personal habits.
What you eat can play a critical role in moderating your hunger (or thirst). Health experts recommend the following foods and beverages that could prevent overeating:
- Spice (e.g. red pepper)
- Proteins (e.g. egg, salmon, nuts)
- Fiber (e.g. oatmeal, flax seeds)
- Dairy (e.g. Greek yogurt, dark chocolate)
- Caffeine (e.g. coffee, mint tea)
- Stimulants (e.g. yerba tea)
- Fresh fruits (e.g. avocadoes, apples)
- Vitamins (e.g. fenugreek, 5-HTP)
What you put inside your body is one thing… Another thing that pushes the mysterious buttons of appetite suppression concerns ‘what you do with your body.’ To rephrase and contradict Hippocrates’ quote at the same time: let your medicine be ‘not food.’
Granted, all weight-loss programs cannot simply do without frequent cardiovascular activities (e.g. somersaults on the treadmill…………. if you can) or resistance training (e.g. wrestling with the angel of God……. isn’t that wicked or what?). But aside from squeezing small buckets of sweat out of your pores before your next meal, here are some (ridiculously) simple practices that can somehow help control your appetite:
- Brush your teeth
- Drink lots of water before meals
- Distract yourself (e.g. video games)
- Serve your meals on blue plates
- Get 7 to 8 hours of nighttime sleep
- Aromatherapy (e.g. vanilla-scented candle)
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that all these are ideal replacements for TruVision’s core products. In fact, they could (possibly?) increase the product’s efficiency. However, there are some who just can’t help but wonder if the primary mover of successful weight-loss campaign is either the merchandise or the individual’s modified lifestyle.
For those who are after the product’s capacity to suppress the craving for carbs, knowing the natural (and cheaper) modes can be illuminating (or devastating, if TruVision caught their hearts). It doesn’t take an incredible leap of logic for anyone to picture out this equation in their heads:
TruVision + Natural healthy lifestyle = TruVision is ‘useless at best.’
There’s more to wellness that drives prospective customers to patronize TruVision (as others would ‘patronize’ them in a bad way). And indeed, some have caught the craze as entrepreneurs – not as customers.
This is especially true for individuals who have concluded that they can’t maximize the benefits of this brand for its intended purpose. As a result, they could take advantage of its multi-level marketing scheme as a means to earn extra bucks. Who wouldn’t? BBB says they are an outstanding enterprise (I wonder how epic it is to see their compliments clash with FDA’s complains).
TruVision is one of the many enterprises that are best known for following a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme. While mentioning the very concept seems ‘dubious,’ you can be sure that such a business method is legitimate. But just because this business type survived the crucible of US Federal Trade Commission, it doesn’t mean I’m convinced of its worth in terms of financial stability.
Being an independent retailer (or wholesaler, if you miraculously survived the madness and thrived) supposedly has its own perks. Among these pledged advantages include the following:
While all these benefits sound reasonably too irresistible, reality often has a funny way of unraveling the faults in each positive assumption. In my experience, MLM is a gamble that deserves a warning label for others (like I did) who don’t know it too well. Now let me present my case as to why each of these advantages can be misrepresented…
Financial independence (at least for me) means being able to enjoy your earnings as a solo seller. But in a company that got its reputation scraped long before reaching its first decade of operations, you cannot expect to reap great rewards as a bottom-level associate. Being a novice is still too far the road to travel for becoming independent enough to leave your day job or existing career.
Yes, joining a highly reputable MLM company can help augment barely sufficient personal finances. But before getting further into that, you need to first earn (either by commission or recruitment). Judging from the ruthless health facts discussed earlier, selling TruVision’s merchandise can be a (literally) hard pill to swallow. If there is anything worse than promoting a product that is obstinate in concealing nutritional facts, it is that associates only earn 7 percent per item sold.
Advancement is another platitude that many MLM companies are eager to sell to prospective retailers. Indeed, networking is almost all about the promotion ladder. Good for you if you’re interested to join MLM for personal enrichment (e.g. skills). However, you can also experience the same exact thing in other forms of academic or social organizations – minus the possible toxic competitive spirit.
If ambition is something you are after (e.g. directorship), relatively upstart MLM companies like TruVision hardly competes with other highly regarded institutes (e.g. Navy SEALs) since the good reputation you’ve earned only counts within the members of the company. Outside the insular realm of your MLM membership, your merits only depend on the prestige of the company you represent (let’s hope FDA’s “scarlet letter” is not a difficult accessory to wear).
Flexibility… If there is one advantage among the three mentioned perks that easily lures prospective newbies, it is the somewhat misguided idea of BEING YOUR OWN BOSS. “Earn what you want, when you want it” so goes the popular slogan. Until they are thrust into the errand of advertising a product they hardly comprehend, they could barely imagine the term flexibility becoming a painful misnomer each passing day.
In fact, the irony behind joining a not-so-popular MLM company like TruVision is that flexibility becomes a demand (on the part of the independent retailer) instead of a promise (somewhat guaranteed by the company).
When you’re not recruiting enough down-line members, you need to be flexible enough to opt for creative recruitment methods. When you’re not earning enough sales, you need to be flexible enough to make ends meet. Funny how it can completely work against you… If you don’t see the irony in that, best of luck!
Finally, your long and winding journey with me is about to end. If I ever mentioned any conclusions before this part of the article, bear in mind that I meant it for real this time. So before leaving you to realize your own true vision of picture perfect health, let me leave you with these final words…
TruVision’s reputation as a weight-loss brand and MLM enterprise (at least for me) makes them a relatively less desirable choice. While I have never been a real fan of the MLM business model, the inefficiency of the business model is compounded by TruVision trademark itself.
Try selling a product that FDA (and even medical science) somewhat disapproves. Now you’re left with two big things to reexamine: the brand, or your very own judgment.