If you've followed my social media accounts (@mattwinkley @winkfitgym) over the last 5 weeks you would have seen I was in America & Canada experiencing many different gyms, training styles & nutrition approaches.
I was introduced to a product named KetoOS while travelling. Low and behold I come home & find it plastered over my Instagram & Facebook feeds. I’ve even had some conversations with trainers in my gym about it. So like anything health & fitness, one must do their due diligence. Especially if we as fitness professionals are going to shake the dogma of pushing supplements purely to make a profit.
(With the interest of full disclosure I tried a singlet packet but that's it. I haven’t purchased any. I’m in not way associated with their brand. I can't tell you personally if it works or doesn't.)
This KetoOS product is produced by the company called Pruvit. KetoOs claims to put the user into Ketosis within 15-30 minutes of having their shake. (I had the “orange dream” flavour. Tasted fine.) Ketosis is essentially the body using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates or glucose. This is the goal for anyone on a carb restricted diet. (Which as the research is showing can have great health benefits)
Okay, put your best Sherlock hat on & try to stay with me on this;
The first thing I’m introducing you to is a company called; RippIn.
RippIn is a MLM (Multi Level Marketing) company. Think pyramid scheme. Well technically, WAS a MLM, before they went under.
RippIn were very secretive about who was involved & owns it. This was one of the main issues people had with them. Along with the fact they had no privacy statement & collected upwards of 200,000 peoples' information as a part of their affiliates programme & sold these onto multiple marketing agencies inundating people with spam regardless of multiple "opt out" requests.
Here is what some crafty people found & passed on as the key players at RippIn;
Jennifer Grace – Director & Attorney
Brian Underwood – CEO
Terry Lacore – Co-Founder & Silent Investor
Michael Rutherford – Master Distributor (I'm sorry, what?)
Launched in 2013, RippIn started with strong capital investment managing to have plenty of people sign up & push apps by getting friends to sign up. Promising to pay based on signing people up, many people were not. RippIn were the subject of a trademark lawsuit & finally closed its doors in January 2014. The company essentially had invidiuals pay $300 to buy in, then for every person you recruited you were paid a particular amount. Standard pyramid scheme.
While not necessarily associated with Pruvit. It’s worth noting that Terry Lacore, during this time as the CEO of Natural Health Trends Corp was investigated by the SEC in October 2006. In September 2008 they concluded their investigation & Terry was charged with “securities fraud & other violations arising from undisclosed related party transactions”. To the tune of $2.5m dollars.
Terry settled this out of court for $50,000 & was only charged with a civil suit opposed to a criminal charge. He was however barred from being a director of any company for 5 years. That expired sometime in 2013 & in 2014 Terry was made director of Pruvit.
Who else is involved in Pruvit? Actually there is quite a bit of cross over.
Jennifer Grace has the domain name justpruvit.com registered in her name. She is also the attorney for Pruvit.
Brian Underwood is a Director of Pruvit.
Here is a little mud map I drew up to follow along.
It turn’s out Pruvit is set up very similar to RippIn. It's a $350 buy in. Then you get paid to get people involved. It looks like this;
Pruvit cap payable unilevel levels at three, paying out the following:
level 1 (personal recruits) – $120 per VIP affiliate recruited
level 2 – $30 per VIP affiliate recruited
level 3 – $10 per VIP affiliate recruited
Bottom Line on the Management:
Just because these 3 individuals were associated with a civil suit & a company that went bankrupt, does that mean they are running a shady company in Pruvit? No not at all. All it highlights to me is that I am treading very carefully before I become involved. I don't want to push any product onto anyone because that's how I make my money.
So lets assume you’re down with the management team. Now we look at the product itself.
Pruvit state that it can help weight-loss but it “must be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle that includes diet & exercise”. Why not do that anyway & save yourself the $270 per month for the sachets or better yet, invest that $270 a month into something that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Realistically can you see yourself having a packet of KetoOs for the rest of your life?
For those of you not familiar with “proprietary blend” it's a term used mostly in America on supplements that allows the producer to add a mixture of things but not really identify them or their quantities. But totally legal, within the guidelines. Sure enough, Pruvit has this. Due to this it made it very hard to find any exact amounts of the included ingredients.
Beta Hydroxybutyrate – This is actually good for the body. It increases Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor. A protein that supports neurons & encourages growth. However, I don't know how much is in KetoOs.
MCT Powder – Medium Chain Triglycerides. Nothing wrong with this. People have been adding MCT oil to their coffee for years. Great for brain function. Again, no idea how much is in the packet but pretty sure you cant OD.
Malic Acid – This is INS#296. It’s approved it basically every modern country (Inc Australia) & is found naturally in plenty of fruits. The only concern is infants & kids should not consume. No amount registered though.
Stevia – Natural sweetener. Nothing to fret about.
Caffeine – We all know what this does. My concern, as you guessed it comes from having no idea how much is in a sachet. I felt pretty wired after my one packet of KetoOs. There is a tonne of peer reviewed university research to back daily caffeine consumption but I personally like to have days off so I break the chemical addiction. (That's a thing, it comes with headaches). So if you are having a coffee & then a KetoOs in the morning or again at night that might be a bucketload of caffeine. I found an unconfirmed source that said the amount in a sachet was 120mg. A barista coffee is roughly 100mg.
Ascorbic Acid – Otherwise known as Vitamin C in my limited pharmaceutical knowledge, but here is the kicker; the label clearly states Vitamin C - 0%?
There is a bucket load of sodium (salt) in the packet, roughly 60% of your daily intake. Take 2 packets & you’re well over.
Finally, there is the Ketone testing. There are a few ways to test but most that Ive seen (including Pruvit’s own social media campaign) is to pee on a specialised ketone test strip & measure your ketones. I have a few concerns with this;
Is there a chance your body is flushing ketones hence they are showing up in your urine? Things excreted by the body aren’t always useful. Take many multivitamins for example. I'm not a biochemist but definitely plausible.
Blood ketones are much more scientific & accurate than comparing the colour of your pee stick to the colour of the chart on the bottle.
Urine tests can lag up to 3 hours
Dehydration can affect the results of the urine testing
Ketone strips actually start to lose their accuracy once they are exposed to the air. If you are going to use them, buy individually foil wrapped sticks.
Conclusion on the product;
Everyone is looking for a magic pill. There isn’t one. Sure KetoOs might help but it “must be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle that includes diet & exercise”. That's a direct quote from the company’s FAQ.
So is it the product that causes the change in weight or is it the combination that you are more accountable for your actions (because you pay $270 a month), you add in more fruit & veggies & subtract crappy processed food because you “don't want to undo the good work that the KetoOs is doing.”
There is enough 50/50’s here between the management & product for me to take a pass on KetoOs at this stage. Also, because I have no desire to be hounding friends, family & clients to join the pyramid where I will always sit above you. Just not for me.
However, on the plus side its gluten free so it must be good. :)