Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Beware of Celebrities Purveying "Get Healthy" Bushwa

A great new year's resolution: don't fall for their magic bullets (which don't work and could do you more harm than good):
[C]ommon folk will do almost anything at the suggestion of celebrities, whose spurious claims have built multi-million-dollar businesses. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the health sector, where juice cleanses and gluten-free diets have transformed popular opinion about nutrition in North America, despite a dearth of research on their effectiveness and safety. The cognitive dissonance required to believe that celebrity trends work (the Victoria Beckham bird-poop facial comes to mind) may be evidence that, although we live in a scientifically advanced society, we are grossly lacking in scientific knowledge. Consider the popular term “toxin,” used by health and beauty gurus everywhere (Paltrow included) to peddle their mostly useless wares. According to one popular U.K. blog, Honestly Healthy Food, the No. 1 “stress toxin” in our lives is coffee. No. 2 is “reading or listening to the news.” Caulfield says toxins “are the new evil spirit,” pointing to American writer Eula Bliss’s 2014 book On Immunity, which touches on celebrities’ influence on vaccination rates. According to Bliss, toxins are to the 21st century what filth was to the Victorian age. “Where the word ‘filth’ once suggested, with its moralist air, the evils of the flesh,” writes Bliss, “the word ‘toxic’ now condemns the chemical evils of our industrial world.” No one is better at this type of fear-mongering than celebrity doctors. The problem with people like Dr. Oz is that erroneous information is mixed in with the truth, according to Julia Belluz, a science reporter at Vox Media in Washington. Dr. Oz may promote dietary supplements most people don’t need, but he is also a firm believer in a good night’s sleep. “If half of what he’s saying is sound advice, but a quarter is insanity, how do you tell the difference?”
Good question. Answer: unless you've done your homework, you can't and may resort to one of those au courant "miracle cures"--cleanses, Gluten-free eating and the rest.

No comments: