Snake Oil and Land Mines – What Can You Trust?
Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club
I have a responsibility, as a Personal Trainer and Health Coach, to my clients that goes beyond exercise. As I explain to them, “exercise is vitally important but a wholesome diet is the single most important factor for insuring good health and well-being”. But this arena is riddled with land mines of false claims and snake oil.
On a previous post I mentioned that when it comes to health advice there are so many “voices” out there, many diametrically opposed to one another, on so many issues that it’s no wonder many of us are confused. Who is right? Who is wrong? And why can’t they agree on even the simplest of topics, such as eggs?
They all claim to be “experts”, right? Many even have the exact same credentials and schooling. Then there are the so-called “health warriors” posting everywhere on the internet and YouTube. They sound like they really know their stuff, although many of them get most of their information from the same people: Other “health warriors” of the internet.
We are, as a group, a very sick and overweight people. The last fifty years of misinformation, proliferation of processed food-like products, chemicals and hormones, antibiotics in meat, genetically modified food, along with a sedentary lifestyle have taken a toll on our health.
I am amazed as I drive to the gym what I see. In a two mile stretch: Burger King – Medical Facility – Taco Bell – Medical Facility – Donut Shop – Medical Facility – Taco Time – Dental Facility – Carls Jr. – Medical Facility. For the sake of time I’ll stop here but it goes on and on and on. I wonder how the medical world can ever keep up with a people so determined to destroy their health. I’ve given you the dismal, abysmal statistics in previous posts. Even our Armed Forces admit that should we ever be entangled in a massive ground war such as WWII, we could not muster enough young people to whip into shape via Boot Camp to defend ourselves. Even our youth are overweight and showing early signs of disease.
Let me give you my take on my original question: Why all the disagreement?
I began to seriously investigate the effects that nutrition and diet have on health way back in 1976. Even now, I spend a couple of hours a day in study analyzing clinical studies and reviewing new findings and information.
One of the most important conclusions I first came to was this: Where big money is involved, the art of deception is present. Could I believe the findings of ‘independent trials’ on a product? After all, this ‘trial’ was conducted by a major, respected university. How was I to conclude their findings defied common sense? But wait! Who funded the university study? If the ‘findings’ were favorable to the XYZ Association and the same association donated a half a million dollars to the school, should I trust the end results?
Let me give you an example from a little earlier in our history. What we know today about tobacco and its devastating effects on health is now common knowledge.
We ask, could the Tobacco Industry really suggest that cigarettes were good for you? Or, at least, not harmful? They fought the independent research. They funded their own research which showed no links to smoking and cancer. Should we have believed them? Didn’t common sense tell us otherwise?
Today we live in an atmosphere where if we don’t sift through nonsense, we are setting ourselves up for serious health problems. So, what do we do about it? That’s the million dollar question. With all these voices, how can I know what is heathy and what is harmful? Let me help out with some very basic common sense solutions that I use for my clients to help them on the path to radiant health both mentally and physically.
I’m going to do this with a series of articles on Doctor Ward’s website, that if you follow and apply will give you a real heads-up and eduction how to, step by step, take control of your health and perhaps the health of your family and loved ones. I will take several subjects and detail how to spot misleading information along with how, and why, you should implement those changes in your food buying and preparation. These articles will be interspersed throughout the year on this site, so don’t skip any.
One thing I want to get out of the way right here and now is DIET PILLS! It’s understandable that people continue to hope that a “magic potion” for easy weight loss might come in a bottle. After all, scores of products are on store shelves that are promoted and marketed as just that. Despite all these products, however, there just isn’t any magic in a bottle.
The reality is that the manufacturers of these products are simply out to make a buck off your gullibility. You need to understand that none of these products have to prove that they are effective before (or after) they go on the market! Because these types of products are highly profitable, manufacturers can make significant profits even when the “life” of a product is short-lived.
“So what?,” if the company is eventually fined by the FTC for false advertising–that’s just a cost of doing business. And, “so what?,” if the FDA discovers that a product is laced with illegal drugs and orders the product pulled from the market; again it’s just the cost of doing business.
Heck, for that matter, it’s easy to re-label the product and market it under an entirely new corporate entity. The money will be raked in until the under-funded FDA eventually analyzes the product which leads to it being pulled from the market again. The greed-driven-sociopaths who own and run these companies are, no doubt, laughing all the way to the bank!
This year it seems to me that the incidence of FDA finding weight loss supplements laced with illegal drugs was becoming more and more common. Apparently the FDA thinks so too:
“FDA has identified an emerging trend where over-the-counter products, frequently represented as dietary supplements, contain hidden active ingredients that could be harmful. Consumers may unknowingly take products laced with varying quantities of approved prescription drug ingredients, controlled substances, and untested and unstudied pharmaceutically active ingredients. These deceptive products can harm you! Hidden ingredients are increasingly becoming a problem in products promoted for weight loss.”
The FDA further advises the public:
“Remember, FDA cannot test all products on the market that contain potentially harmful hidden ingredients. Enforcement actions and consumer advisories for tainted products only cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market.”
Hopefully at this point you’re having second thoughts about the ‘magic potion’ idea!
Of course ‘weight loss fraud’ isn’t limited to supplements. Some of it occurs in doctor’s offices (as with HCG, thyroid medications, or injections of substances claimed to melt fat, etc.). Then there’s the exercise-gadget stuff, fad-diets, and on and on.
When we’re talking about weight loss, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Here’s 2 quick (3-min) FDA videos that are actually well done!