The Straight Up column has always told it like it really is, not what you read in the various muscle magazines. This issue we are extremely fortunate to include the first in a series of articles by Jim Heflin, owner of Beverly International. This issue, Jim tells of an eye opening experience in his quest to provide the bodybuilding public with the highest quality products available. In the next edition, Mr. Heflin discusses some of the product analysis studies in which he has been directly involved or has personally seen.
For the past 30 years, a few others in our industry and myself who have dedicated ourselves to provide products based on integrity and quality, are often presented with the following questions from our customers:
"Why is your product better than that of your competitor?"
"How can a product, which on the label appears to be very similar to a Beverly International product, sell so much cheaper?"
One may start with the following explanation: Our society is focused on instant results based on the least amount of effort. Therefore, the quest for the magic bullet, quick fix and over night change is most sought after.
Unlike many others who preceded me in the field we now refer to as Sports Nutrition, I was appalled by the lack of quality, misinformation, and undocumented proof which was prevalent when I decided to enter the market place. When I first decided to throw my hat into this arena, there were two primary sports nutrition companies, both of whom owned magazines touting hand picked athletes for promotional purposes. Needless to say, careful scrutiny revealed their existing products consisted of very low standards and dubious quality. There were actually products that contained little more than confectionery sugar. Others were based on the use of low quality material such as soya powder. This process continues to exist today.
I was determined from the onset to produce quality. Anxious and impetuous, I started beating the bushes to obtain quality materials for my initial nutritional products. Boy was I to learn real fast.
From my training days, I have always been high on desiccated liver. I decided to include it in the new Beverly International line of supplements. I was impressed with the value of desiccated liver based on my involvement in several studies and, as importantly, from my own training results. My first step was to make inquiries to find the best materials available. In my quest I was referred to an importer in New Jersey who had access to Argentina Beef Liver. This type is known in the industry to be the best due to the fact that unlike American beef, Argentinean beef are not fed steroids, nor subjected to pesticides or chemical fertilizers. I proceeded to call the company in New Jersey, and made my request. The reply from the other end of the phone startled me, "Which grade of beef liver from Argentina are you looking for?"
"What do you mean? How many grades are there?" The voice on the other end said "Five." The next obvious question from me was, "What is grade 1?" The reply was "the real thing." Needless to say, the next question I posed was, "What is grade 5?" There was a pause and then a laugh, "There's some liver in it" (another pause), "But it will show the same on the label that the real stuff will."
I had just been introduced to what, I was to find out was a most common thing, a process called blending. This is where a small amount of a quality substance is mixed with low quality materials for cost purposes. Needless to say, with my puritan approach, I was rattled. I then made a commitment to always purchase and direct those compressing my products to select only materials that were known to be grade quality one.
Future involvement in testing revealed that there are many others over the years who have directly or unknowingly used grades 3, 4 or 5 in their products. Think about that the next time you compare the label similarity and price differences of the many products on the shelf. There is a Latin saying, "caveat emptor" which means "let the buyer beware." This is certainly as true today as it was in ancient Rome. Don't sacrifice the hard work you put in the gym, and the self discipline of staying on your diet by wasting your money on inferior grade products.
Another straight-up article
by Jim Heflin founder of Beverly International Nutrition