Dirty Rotten Tricks Video #4: The “Label Dressing” Trick
Here we are, 4 videos into the Dirty Rotten Tricks video series, and now we’re ready to talk about “label dressing.” It is, without a doubt, one of the most commonly used dirty tricks in the supplement retailer’s handbook.
So what is label dressing exactly?
Let’s address the first question…
Label dressing is the unnecessary “spicing up” of a product’s label by adding a large number of impressive sounding ingredients to a product’s formula in a dosage far too small to have any effect.
Why would a retailer do this?
Well, first off, consumers are “wowed” by products that boast an impressive looking ingredients label. If you were to pick up two products, for instance, and one had 4 ingredients on the label, and the other had 40, which one would impress you more? Which one would give you the impression that it’s more complex, more thoroughly thought out, perhaps even more scientifically advanced?
Very likely it’s the one with more ingredients.
The other reason retailers do this is because it gives consumers the impression they are getting greater value for their money. When you’re getting more stuff, you’re getting more value, right?
You may be getting more, but the reality is that most of these impressive looking ingredients are not going to do anything for you.
The medicinal plants, food compounds, and herbs typically found in weight loss supplements are much like pharmaceutical drugs; they need to be present in a potent enough dose to have any effect. Combine this unfortunate fact with the logistics of capsule size (most people can only tolerate a “00” sized capsule, which means there’s only a limited amount of ingredient which can be included in any product), and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the problems associated with products with huge ingredients labels.
There’s a reason why Advil (ibuprofen) is sold in 200 and 400 mg capsules; that’s the dosage shown to be effective for pain and inflammation relief. Suppose you bought a budget ibuprofen product that only contained 10 mg of active ingredient. How well do you think that would work at relieving your headache? Not too darn well, right?
Well, with “label dressing” retailers are essentially doing just that; selling you on the benefits of ingredients that are not included at an optimal dose. Sneaky, huh?
Additionally, even the useless ingredients take up space: too much label dressing and there’s a greater likelihood that even the most helpful ingredients will not be included at a decent dosage.
So bottom line?
While it seems counter intuitive, huge, impressive looking labels are not necessarily representative of well thought out, value-focused products. More often than not, simpler products offer better value; the fewer ingredients in the product, the more likely they are included at useful dosages.