Improving your health is a priority, but how do you know if that diet plan will really slim your waist or a new dietary supplement will truly help your heart?
“Too good to be true” health fads are often filled with empty promises. Here are four tips on how to protect yourself – and your pocketbook – from these scams.
Steer clear of the words ‘quick’ and ‘guaranteed’
Tricksters often guarantee their latest invention will promptly melt away fat or instantly eliminate wrinkles, usually with little effort on your part. They make these claims to build your confidence and make you excited.
Reputable wellness solutions don’t guarantee immediate results because individual results always vary. Those who promise unconditional and easy results are probably making hollow claims. Good health takes time and effort.
Protect yourself by reading the fine print and asking questions. See if the marketer makes an effort to explain (in detail) how his or her product works. Do its users tend to stick with this solution after the first month?
Also remember that many helpful supplements – for example, vitamin D or Ubiquinol CoQ10 – deliver important benefits but don’t make you “feel” differently. That’s okay, but there should be published evidence showing that the supplement does what its manufacturer claims.
Look for published studies in scientific journals
Incredible products are always supported by several journal articles and include research performed on humans.
Anything that actually improves your health has been tried and tested many times..
Health fads typically have few if any published, peer-reviewed studies showing they work. Sometimes they’ll hire one medical “expert” or show testimonials from happy “patients”. These are very easy to fabricate and made to look authentic.
Plenty of diets (Mediterranean diet) and supplements (Omega 3s or Ubiquinol CoQ10) have been thoroughly researched by respected scientists. Incredible products are always supported by several journal articles and include research performed on humans.
Be careful with ‘natural’ product claims
Whether it’s organic food or makeup made without chemicals, our society is all about going natural. Marketers use the word “natural” to get your attention – if their solution comes from nature it must be okay, right?
In truth, natural products aren’t always safe and synthetic products aren’t always dangerous. Certain mushrooms and berries are naturally poisonous to humans, and doctors save lives every day using synthetic pharmaceuticals.
An all-natural product may be a wholesome way to support good health, but don’t automatically assume something that’s natural is safe. Ask the manufacturer to show you safety data. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure a supplement won’t cause unintended side effects.
Watch out for late-night infomercials
It’s the middle of the night and you can’t sleep. A television commercial touts a miracle cure for heart disease or a superfood that’s all the rage in Hollywood. This amazing product is on sale if you buy right now.
Reputable wellness solutions are rarely promoted on late-night infomercials. Watch out for “too good to be true” claims exclusively promoted during commercial breaks or in junk mail. Safe and trustworthy exercise plans, diets and supplements tend to have been covered in the news and are promoted in many places using realistic marketing messages. Your own doctor may have seen it in a medical journal.
If a late-night infomercial is the only place you’re hearing about a new product, tread carefully. There’s probably a reason why it isn’t being discussed elsewhere.
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.