Feb 03 2014

Sharks Eat Life Caps

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13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Sharks Eat Life Caps”

  1. nybgruson 03 Feb 2014 at 1:05 pm

    For anyone curious, here is a link to the segment on Youtube. The link will take you directly to where the segment starts.

    I have to say that I am actually very impressed with the Sharks. All of them, not just Cuban. They actually went above and beyond to really slam him as a snake oil salesman. They had an excellent out purely for financial reasons and could have completely ignored the science, medicine, and safety of non-FDA approved supplements. But they didn’t.

    Worth watching the segment.

  2. SheRaon 03 Feb 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I’m curious about this statement”This leads to ketosis, which is a dangerous condition.” I’ve read that there are children with epilepsy that live in a state of ketosis for years with no long-term ill effects as part of their treatment plan. If you have the time, would you mind elaborating?


  3. Martin Lewitton 03 Feb 2014 at 6:17 pm

    You must be confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis. Ketosis is not dangerous, the heart and even most of the brain can switch to oxidizing ketones for energy. There is some residual obligate glucose need in the brain, medulla of the kidney and the retina. The energy of fat can be used to produce glucose but the substrates for gluconeogenesis are the glucogenic amino acids, which are mobilized from muscle which is the bodies store of protein.

  4. Bronze Dogon 03 Feb 2014 at 6:51 pm

    We do not have the pathways to make glucose from fat, so instead we burn protein – muscle – in the form of ketones. This leads to ketosis, which is a dangerous condition.

    I may need some more info to digest Martin’s comment above and how it relates to/elaborates on this, but it puts one thing in perspective for me. I’ve heard the idea behind the Atkins Diet and similar low-carb fad diets is deliberately inducing ketosis. It sounds pretty bad.

    As for the Life Caps, yeah, it sounds pretty silly and dangerous. I’ve seen a bit of sci-fi and fantasy stuff that occasionally brought up super food pills and combat rations that looked way too small for me to believe they’d sustain someone. Yeah, you can cram a daily dose of vitamins and minerals into pill form, but expecting to live on that kind of strikes me as trying to sustain a car primarily on spare parts while neglecting to fill the tank. I imagine “empty calories” don’t look quite so bad when you’re concerned about surviving one more day.

    My apologies for using an engineering metaphor on a medical/biology issue, but I couldn’t think of a better one.

  5. ConspicuousCarlon 03 Feb 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I don’t know who all of these people are, but other than that one shameless guy they were all pretty much on top of the scam-trashing game. You rarely see mainstream news reporters interrogate something that well.

  6. TheFlyingPigon 03 Feb 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Just watched that segment. I thought the sharks did well and I appreciate Cuban’s obvious contempt. I wouldn’t expect them to know the specific physiological reasons why this product is snake oil, but they all smelled the bullshit (that is their specialty). It’s too much to hope for, but it would have been wonderful to see someone point out how dangerous it is to offer a pill that promises people the ability to safely go on a starvation diet. Some people could die, some people could experience permanent damage, and all would suffer muscle loss. Monstrous.

  7. Philosofrenzyon 03 Feb 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I read that we DO have a pathway–albeit a minor one–for converting fat to glucose, which is a relatively recent finding compared to what’s in a lot of the textbooks.

    I read it on a low-carb proponent’s site (http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2012/01/we-really-can-make-glucose-from-fatty.html). It’s written in a for-beginners way, and possibly with an agenda– but I checked the claims that seemed implausible, and looked at these papers he referenced.



    As an amateur I couldn’t find fault with it. Hopefully Dr. Novella can shed some light.

  8. DLCon 04 Feb 2014 at 1:54 am

    “Food in a pill” has long been the objective of research — usually by cranks.

  9. ConspicuousCarlon 04 Feb 2014 at 3:59 am

    I just watched it again, and:

    1. The big bald guy wasn’t really shameless, I think he may have just been playing along to tease the crank.

    2. Watching it the second time was REALLY fun, as I was half busy the first time and missed a lot of the snears. These scammers rarely get a good facial smack-down like that, and these people were just hammering him.

  10. BillyJoe7on 04 Feb 2014 at 7:27 am

    Martin Lewitt,

    “You must be confusing ketosis with ketoacidosis”

    I’m no expert but…
    Ketoacidosis is seen only in untreated or poorly treated diabetics and in alcoholics.
    Ketosis is seen in starvation states and in people on certain diets.
    Steven Novella is talking about starvation states and hence ketosis, not ketoacidosis.

    “Ketosis is not dangerous”

    I think you got that part right:
    Perhaps Steven needs to revisit this.

  11. BillyJoe7on 04 Feb 2014 at 7:30 am

    …oops, I think I misread your post. Apologies. You are making the same point as I am.

  12. zorrobanditoon 04 Feb 2014 at 10:49 pm

    What’s the take-away here? That if you stop eating you will lose weight? This hardly seems revolutionary.

    There is so much snake-oilery around losing weight (eg the claim I saw waiting in the supermarket checkout line yesterday that some movie star will tell you how to lose 10 pounds a day for two weeks (in defiance of the laws of physics) that this Life Caps stuff seems relatively mild by comparison.

    But be consoled. It is unlikely that anyone who managed to become overweight in the first place will have the self control to live on a vitamin capsule for more than a few days.

  13. carbonUniton 10 Feb 2014 at 1:34 pm

    If he’s claiming that you can survive for days on this, wouldn’t that make it “food”??

    Talk about your unsinkable rubber duck, go look at the website for these clowns, www dot lifecaps dot net. The page title, which is even visible in search results, proclaims “LifeCaps: As Seen On Shark Tank | Survival Pill”. Also, the page has a big graphic touting the “Shark Tank SUPER SALE – Today only BUY NOW!”. The page has been like this since I looked at it on Feb 3rd after seeing Steve’s post. Either this is incredibly ballsey, or they um, tanked, gave up on this and are working on the next scam…

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