Marketing VS Science – Health Supplements

It can be difficult to determine if health claims are genuine or just a marketing scheme. There are more and more ‘revolutionary health discoveries’ being made everyday that claim...
snake-oil

It can be difficult to determine if health claims are genuine or just a marketing scheme. There are more and more ‘revolutionary health discoveries’ being made everyday that claim to have amazing effects on your health, but how many (if any) are genuine? There are hundreds of thousands of health supplements on the market, we know that all of them cannot be real right? But which ones?

I have seen first hand that good marketing out-weighs good science when it comes to sales of health supplements. Buzz word claims such as ‘detox’ and ‘fat burner’ seem to grab people’s attention when there is actually no scientific backing for these claims. A classic example is the famous acai berry, this is what the science shows:

  • Acai berries do contain a large variety of nutrients
  • Acai berries do not aid with weight loss
  • Acai berries do not increase energy level
  • Acai berries  do not  help with ‘detox’ (detox is a word that has been created by marketing, and actually doesn’t mean anything)

Yet acai berries have been marketed as aiding with weight loss, increasing energy and can detox. The ironic thing is I have never seen an advert for acai berries saying they ‘contain a variety of beneficial nutrients’, which is the only thing they do.

So, how do you tell the difference between marketing and science if you are not in the business?

Here are a few simple rules which you can follow to avoid wasting money on a supplement which doesn’t deliver its promises:

  1. If it is new to the market, there will be little or no scientific backing –  any claims are just marketing.
  2. If it is a much cheaper version of a current product, ask yourself why? If they are cutting corners in production you will be cutting corners with your health.
  3. Avoid buzz words/ phrases such as ‘detox’, ‘fat burner’ and ‘propriety blend’. These phrases are marketing.
  4. Supplements that work will sell themselves, and don’t require marketing (such as cod liver oil). If there is a lot of marketing hype about a product, think twice.

I hope you enjoy the site, and like what we have worked hard to create, any feedback is very much welcome, after all this site is for you! Graduate of Nutrition & Food Science (Bsc) at Reading Uni.

The Health Cloud was created in December 2011 by Craig and Morg who have been friends since high school. Our focus is to educate our readers with unbiased health articles and on the side we run our own online health shop. This website is for you, so drop us a comment or send us a tweet, we always take the time to reply!