In my journey in life, I have come across people who make gargantuan claims, I have heard of and met some swindlers and I have also come in contact with people who are obviously deluded. In many parts of the world including our very own, people are increasingly conscious of their health and will take steps albeit easy ones to remain healthy, stay young and look good. This has turned some health related industries into billion dollar empires.
Inspite of my background in health and fitness some claims have at one time or the other appeared extremely enticing to me and I can only imagine what it may do to people who may not have adequate information to filter the wheat from the chaff. In order to make life a bit easier for us all and to help us think through proposals, I present to you a check-list, which you may use when making a decision about a product or service that affects your health.
Remember as we battle COVID-19 many people will continue to bombard you with concoctions and cocktails that may do more harm than good. Some suggestions will merely be from a genuine desire to help while for others the goal will be to get rich quickly. We are all still learning about this disease, use this checklist whenever you have to make a decision on staying healthy or talk to your health professional when in doubt.
- It sounds too good to be true
- If it sounds too good to be true then most probably it is not. A belt or necklace that melts abdominal fat right before your eyes may sound great but how real can that be?
- It promises a quick fix
- Quick fixes have a way of disappearing even quicker leaving us with more work to do. “Product A has been proven to help you lose 20Kg in 2 weeks”, you better “shine” your eyes when you encounter such statements.
- It excludes adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise
- As at 2020 the bottom line remains the same, you cannot exclude eating a healthy balanced meal and exercise from any wellness programme be it losing fat, improving heart function or controlling diabetes. Eat anything you feel like and enjoy your comfortable sofa is certainly attractive to us all but till science reaches another level (scientists apparently working on that though) such a scenario will remain a mirage.
- A food group is removed completely
- All food groups are important; fat, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, minerals and the list goes on. Taking a food group out over a significant period will adversely affect your body. Look at the big picture, there are a thousand and one of such diets in the world and that alone points to the fact that none of them is working as expected. Yes you will lose some weight initially if you eat a protein-diet but that is only because as you excrete (through urine) nitrogen a by-product of protein breakdown, you lose a lot of water with it. Water accounts for a large percentage of our body weight so we tend to weigh less on the scale from water loss but what has happened to the fat?
- Recommendations are based on a single study
- “All 6 people who used this product for 1 week in a study carried out in Kuntaland did not need heart surgery again” Please be the judge. A single study? Compared to what? What else did they do and where was this carried out? Six people?
- Recommendations are made to help sell a product
- Quite often after telling you success stories and giving you reason to believe that you do not need to exercise ever again, A “Ground Breaking” Product will be forced on you.
- Serious warnings of danger are included with the product or regimen
- Have you ever heard of warnings on your fruits or vegetables that it may cause dizziness, headaches and palpitations? Why do you need to use a supplement that warns you that it could cause these not too friendly symptoms?
- Claims that it can cure every conceivable disease
- Apart from prayer, I do not know of any drug or action that can lay claim to the above. Certainly no such magic potion exists. Exercise is a close second to prayer but even that has limitations. If a potion brewed in a “fanciful” factory promises to do many things and has no side-effects, it may be a great idea to turn that offer down. Most probably the only thing it will rid you of is your money. BEWARE!
- So safe everyone can use it or “prescribe” it
- Not everyone will benefit from a product especially when it is processed. I also have a problem when people with no training (or inadequate training) in health become overnight promoters of supplements, herbal preparations etc. If you need to promote a product that does not require people with any background in health at least take the pains to train them over a period before releasing them on unsuspecting health-seekers.
It will be great if we can all add to this check-list and make it as practical as possible. It will save us money and protect our health to a large extent.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
*Dr. Kojo Essel is a Medical Doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in Exercise Therapy, Fitness Nutrition & Corrective Exercise.
Thought for the week – “On World Hand Hygiene Day (5th May) let us recognize the role clean and safe hands play in warding off many serious infections. Remember to wash your hands properly and keep your nails short and clean. This is priceless advice especially now.”
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