I often wonder this.
Whenever I walk into a health food store and peruse the aisles full of new age products — you know, CBD oil, hemp toothpaste, spirulina and protein powder, that sort of thing — before walking out about a gazillion dollars poorer, I wonder, is it all a ruse? Is somewhere sitting there in the back office, spying on me and laughing hysterically in the knowledge that we are as easy to fool as monkeys? Amused that the marketing ploys and the seeds of false knowledge planted in popular magazines really worked? The scary thing is, it really is as easy to trick a population as writing a few false articles or reviews, posting them online, paying a few influencers to support the “science” and then letting social media do the rest. This is all it takes in this day and age to convince a person that what they are consuming is the “healthiest choice”. Well, that plus paying to publish a few inconclusive studies. I know this for a fact: I have worked for health and wellness magazines. Low budgets, tight turnaround and insufficient staff means that if we receive a ready-to-go article in our inbox focused on the benefits of, say, pineapple, we will more than likely publish that piece. Without having done sufficient fact-checking, might I add. And then, roughly 1.5 million people go on to read that article, and interpret it as fact. I am not denying I am guilty – I am one of the many people perpetuating possible lies to the American public, simply because it is just so easy to do so.
Is kale really the superfood we all believe it to be? Are goji berries and organic kimchi worth the price tag? In 10 years’ time, will it turn out that avocado is worse than butter for us? And when it comes to coconut oil, wow. The jury is definitely hung on that one. One Harvard professor even went so far as to label coconut oil “pure poison” – just what did it ever do to him? The truth is that coconut oil is really high in saturated fats, about 80 percent – compared to red meat, which contains 50 percent saturated fat, and butter which holds about 65 percent of saturated fat. Consuming too many saturated fats can cause to rise in the bloodstream, leading to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease. So, just a few years on from people being told to douse everything in coconut oil instead of olive oil or butter, and to wash their hair with it, make salad dressing using it, as well as make cakes and slices with it, people are already regretting having listened to such health advice.
This is what scares me.
In 20 years’ time, will we learn that wheatgrass, salmon, and dark chocolate are all human carcinogens and that we have chopped a rough 25 years off of our lives as a result of daily consumption of them? Every month, I load up on about $100 worth of raw almonds from my local Bulk Buy Nut Store. In 10 years, will this have been all for nothing, I wonder?
Turning now to health treatments such as colon hydrotherapy, made famous by well-known figures including Gwyneth Paltrow and Sylvester Stalone. People truly believe colonics are a great way to flatten the tummy before a big event, reduce bloating, and help eliminate toxins from your body – simply because the celebrities say it is. Dr Guigliotti, a specialist working in medicine, disagrees.
“As a medical doctor, I can tell you definitively that colonics do not produce any real or lasting weight loss,” he said. “Yes, they get rid of the feces in your colon—which you normally do on your own anyway—but that’s about it. As soon as you eat anything, you gain the weight back.”
There is, as it stands, in fact no scientific evidence that colonics can cure any disease or regulate bowel functioning.
Then we have juice detoxes, apple cider vinegar as the elixir of life, and daily shots of activated charcoal – all apparently not as healthy and safe for us as we had originally thought. Though people believe charcoal can detox your body, brighten your teeth, and help clear acne, many experts are cautious of recommending it for daily use. Mostly because it actually prevents nutrients from being absorbed and might interfere with certain medications, like blood pressure medicine, for example.
The thing is, we know what works, generally speaking ,when it comes to health, and we have the science to back it up. Moderate exercise, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and moderate to high levels of iron are key to maintaining one’s optimum health. Let’s focus on sticking to that, and mastering it, rather than desperately obsessing over potentially beneficial health food products, at risk of doing greater damage to ourselves. It will be easier – and cheaper – in the long run.