Nutrition: Health vs Hype
With so many people out there wanting to be healthy, it’s no wonder that the health and weight loss industries are booming. It seems like almost every day there’s a new product, pill, or diet out there to help you solve whatever health related issue you want. Some of these are quite obviously crazy but other’s can be harder to spot as a sham. Not to mention there are contradicting studies and reports everywhere so getting to the bottom of it can be a challenge. So, how can you discern what’s actually healthy and what’s just hyped up?
Quick and Effective Cure-Alls
Have you ever seen an ad for something that promises to help you lose 14lbs in 14days? These sort of gimmicks are all over the place. Luckily these are also the easiest to spot as shams. Anything product that promises you a quick and easy fix with no effort on your part is a sham. Whether it is to help you lose weight or improve some other aspect of your health it is not a long term solution. As soon as you are finished with the product, the results (if any actually occur) will reverse back.
“The Secret Ingredient Your Dr. Doesn’t Want You To Know About”
This advertising technique is actually borderline dangerous. Not only does it encourage people to buy an ineffective product, but it also creates this rift between a patient and their doctor. If you seriously think your doctor is hiding some miraculous cure from you and that there’s been some miraculous breakthrough then you need to get a new doctor. No one suffers through medical school and residency to keep secrets from their patients. Your doctor is there to help you. If it’s a serious matter then sure, feel free to get a second or even a third opinion, but your doctor is not out to get you or let you die.
Fancy Medical Terminology
Have you ever seen an ad on TV for some healthcare product where they go into very specific detail and use obscure medical terminology to describe the product and how it works? The reason this tactic works is because the average consumer doesn’t have a broad enough understanding of this medical jargon. A basic rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is.
All Natural = All Safe
Personally, I can understand this one. A lot of people are becoming concerned with the amount of medications they are on and the long lists of potential side effects of those medications. As a result, many have begun to switch to an all natural approach. The idea is that if it is all natural then it is safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, there are many all natural substances out there that are dangerous and toxic to us: heroin (derived from poppy seeds), arsenic (naturally occurring in the earth’s crust), cocaine (made from coca leaves), and tobacco. If all natural products were safe, then smoking wouldn’t cause cancer (additive free, all natural, and organic cigarettes are still carcinogenic).
In this day and age it is nearly impossible to trust advertisements with personal testimonies. We’ve all seen some pretty enticing before an after photos. The problem is that we live in an age of digital retouching an photoshop. It is impossible to trust this kind of advertising. Even if the before and after photos are authentic, the after photo only shows the customer immediately after they finished using the product or program. It doesn’t show what they look like a few weeks or a few months afterwards. These quick fixes are not a long term solution. In weight loss cases, people often regain all the weight they lost plus a few extra pounds. Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Money Back Guarantee
These ones are a bit sneaky. By promising a full money back guarantee is removes the financial risk associated with it. The problem is, if you go to try the product, find that it doesn’t work and attempt to get your money back, you will likely be directed to a PO box. When you try to complete your return to this PO box, you will be notified that the PO box is inactive.
Do Your Own Research
When it comes to health and fitness, advertisers prey on our laziness. Transforming your lifestyle requires a lot of hard work. The problem is that we live in a world of quick and easy gratification, we don’t want to work hard to feel good, we just want to feel good. So, when we see these quick fixes, we tend to jump at them. In the long run, these diets, exercise plans, pills, and cheesy workout equipment don’t end up working. Stop wasting your time and money and take the time to educate yourself on what a healthy lifestyle entails.
A healthy lifestyle means that you have make healthy changes to your diet, you have to exercise, and you have to make some behavioural changes. You can’t expect your life to just magically change one morning if you don’t do anything to change it.
It can be difficult to discern fact from fiction on the internet. If you want to do your own research here are some great places to start:
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- American College of Sports Medicine
- Food and Drug Administration
- Websites linked with medical schools
I know some of these points may be controversial for some people. It is not my goal to offend anyone’s opinion of anything. This is based on research I have done and on conversations I have had with dieticians and doctors. If you have a differing opinion on any of this I would be happy to discuss it with you. Please feel free to leave a comment or to contact me directly!