Are You a Sucker for Health Trends?

by Tisha Tolar on 29 May 2009 1 comment



If Billy Mays was the pitch person for an "anti-heart attack medicine", there would likely be many consumers getting on the phone to place their orders. If Brad Pitt became a spokesperson for virility pills, chances are even greater that sales would go through the roof. It's been awhile since we've heard the expression “I'm not a doctor but I play one on tv” but more and more companies are wising up to the idea that celebrity endorsements for health products are an effective way to sell product. With a nation of people working on getting healthier but wanting an easy way out, health fads can be all-too-easy to sell. But how inclined are you to buy?

Health fads are big business but if you're looking for an easy fix to health issues, look instead at good old diet and exercise before spending your hard-earned cash on fads. Here are some other considerations to make about the new products springing up on the market:

Research the Research

Look for the studies that were conducted involving a large number of participants who received both treatments and placebos but do not know who gets what. Research without a control group or those that are conducted on animals provide no definitive answers as to how effective the treatment or the pill will be for you.

Where is the Evidence?

Tons of commercials use touching “personal” stories to make the sale. While the stories may sound good and can be easily related to your own situation, you have to look beyond that aspect. Consider for instance a miracle cold pill or vitamin. At some point, your cold is going to get better and go away. Depending when you take the miracle cure medication, you are bound to see a difference at some point because the cold will naturally run its course. Look instead for scientific evidence that backs up the claims being made in the commercials.

Remain a Skeptic

When products use terminology like “miracle”, “breakthrough”, or “cure-all”, don't get sucked in. Pay attention to what is being said but do your own homework to see what makes this product so great. Many companies will try and turn your attention away from the real lack of evidence by hoisting conspiracy theories on you about why experts don't agree with their claims.

Who Is Doing the Talking?

Pay a spokesperson to talk and they will say just what has been written for them. Look into who is doing the talking on the product's behalf. Are they a real person with a real story to tell or do they get paid for simply doing a good job of reading a teleprompter? Read the fine print on print ads and television commercial campaigns to find out who is getting paid to talk. Anyone with a financial (or otherwise) stake in the book, health program, or miracle cure may not be totally honest.

Your money is yours to spend how you want to but make sure you are investing in quality products that are worth your money and not just fly-by-night fads that promise to make you stronger, healthier, skinnier, or more beautiful. When it seems too good to be true, it generally is. Understand that now before losing your money on a fad - or worse - risk losing your good health.

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Andrea Karim's picture

 I get SO tried of medical trends, especially the ones that report on the latest vitamin cure-all. There's nothing more tiresome than hearing the idiots on CNN blab about the latest "discovery" - fiber, vitamin C, vitamin D, lycopene, anti-oxidants, mangosteen, acai - bloody hell! Eat more fruits and veggies, and you're pretty much covered, you know?