Four week ago I discussed generic health advice and how it’s a one-size-fits-all health advice crap sandwich. You know, the kind of advice that says we should consume a specific amount of calories each day, that we must weigh a specific amount in relation to our height, that we must drink a specific (copious) amount of water each day, or that we need to avoid or consume specific foods all to be “healthy.” Today’s post stems off of that – off of the blind advice we’re told on a daily basis by health professionals – by highlighting some of the marketing campaigns said professionals swear by. And I cannot help to wonder if they really know what they’re talking about: Have they done their research? Research as in not just Google-ing a few articles that all support the same claim. Research as in understanding the physiology of the body, it’s mechanisms, and how it acts or reacts. Research as in understanding the food, it’s properties, and how it acts or reacts within the body.
- Improves digestion
- Boosts metabolism
- Supports immune system
- Heart healthy
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improved mental clarity
- Increased sexual stamina
The first marketing campaign that comes to mind is “Cheerio’s can lower cholesterol in two weeks.” Does anyone know what that actually means? Does anyone actually understand the mechanism by which Cheerios – a cereal made out of genetically modified oats and corn, and synthetic vitamins – can lower cholesterol? Do most people understand what cholesterol is and its purpose in the body? Do people most people understand how food affects cholesterol levels? Or are most people on the level that high cholesterol is bad, low cholesterol is good, and to avoid food with cholesterol because too much is bad? Oh, then there’s my favorite campaign, “part of a heart-healthy diet.” What the HELL does heart-healthy mean?! System of systems. One food does not benefit only one part of the body. System. Of. Systems.
I would really like to see the studies that allude to such claims. I would really like to see all of the stipulations that go into a claim, too, because of a little thing called subjectivity: Who was the study done on? Male? Female? Child? Animal? What age? Other current health factors? Exercise program? Genetic factors? General diet? And, probably the biggest factor, who funded the study?
I want to open some perspectives on what we become numb to and sheepishly believe. Before you go reading food labels as scripture and devouring every last morsel to boost, support, lower, or improve something within your physical self, take a moment to gain perspective with your all-encompassing non-physical self as to who is making the decisions here… your better judgement or the company’s fancy label. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard two women of college age in a local coffee shop conversing about beauty products and superfoods, exclaiming how said factors can do wonders for the skin and metabolism and yadda, yadda, yadda. Ok, maybe I’ve heard it only twice BUT THOSE TWO TIMES were significant enough to stick and make me think… I can’t tell if they actually know what they’re talking about or if they’re really good at memorizing labels.