Hitting the Ol’ Summer Reading

Howdy friends!  How are all of your days going so far?  I hope well.

So, as some of you know, this summer I am doing two independent studies in nutrition.  They’re part of my pre-requisite classes for the Master’s program but actual classes pertaining to the required text books aren’t offered for some weird reason.  So it’s up to me to study this stuff and take two tests (one on each text book) with 100 multiple choice questions at the end of August (God willing) and get at least an 80%.  Whoop dee doo!

This past weekend, Phil made me a study schedule.  I know I always say this, but I can’t thank him enough for everything he does.  I was feeling slightly crazed and overwhelmed with work, blogging, facebooking, going to yoga, studying, having a personal life and he stepped in, like superman, and figured things out.  It’s so nice, and I am so lucky, to have someone that grounds and supports me all the time.  Anyway, I digress… :)

In chapter 1 of Understanding Nutrition (one of the text books I am reading) there is an interesting section called “Red Flags of Nutrition Quackery.”  It lists misleading nutritional information that can be found to market many foods, drinks, supplements, etc.  We all see these commercial items advertised on TV or in magazines and I’m sure we all question whether they really work.  This text book put together 8 claims that should raise a red flag and make us really consider ingesting any of these items.  These claims are always good to keep and eye and/or ear out for, and so I wanted to share with you all:

  1. Guaranteed, or your money back.”  This is quite generous but marketers are hired to make money for the company selling the product – they don’t want to have to give it back.  They bank on the fact that consumers are too lazy to go through the trouble of sending it back and waiting for the refund.
  2. “Instant satisfaction.”  Treatments, both medically and nutritionally, take time to work.
  3. “All natural.”  Unless something is a whole food, it’s not natural.  It might be derived from something that is natural but it’s been processed to a point that it is no longer what it’s claiming.
  4. “One stop shopping.”  A slogan for a product that claims to cure everything.  We’ve all seen these claims: “take this magic weight loss pill and it will also clear up your skin and make you grow taller.”  Okay, so that’s a stretch, but you get the point.
  5. “Historically proven.”  If some magic, natural herb has been around since the dawn of man, health care professionals would be all over that @&*%!  We’d all know about it and we’d all be using it.
  6. “Political or paranoid accusations.”  These are claims that are based on loose data without true evidence.  Also these are claims that are geared to make you feel bad and think “I don’t want to be part of that evil political group, I want to be part of this natural happy group.”
  7. “Hearsay.”  Testimonials from people are like peer pressure.  They want you to believe: “look all these people dropped 10 pant sizes! I can too!”
  8. “False medical mumbo jumbo.”  As I mentioned before, it’s a marketers job to sell a product.  They’re paid to come up with “mumbo jumbo” to sell us stuff, whether it works or not.  (We’ve all seen Mad Men, right?)  In some cases, they come up with things that sound like reliable scientific medical terminology, but with a little research you’ll find it’s nothing of notable value.        
 And there you have it.  Next time you see an ad that claims magic weight loss or increase in hair growth or something like that, I guarantee your ears will perk up after having read this post because the marketing campaign used to sell you this stuff will use one of these 8 red flags.  If not, do a little research because it might be worthwhile.  And check out some of these websites for credible nutritional and medical information: FDA, American Dietetic AssociationPubMed, New England Journal of Medicine.
Have a wonderful, thought-filled day.  Love and health to you all. :)

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