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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J. Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Are magical nutrition solutions real or a misconception? Learn the truth.

magician holding a black top hat and magic wand

You’re scrolling social media or looking at magazine covers in the grocery check-out line… which of these ads have you seen?

“Doctors find a harmless way to lose weight. Your metabolism will improve

in a week!”

“Learn how Beyonce lost 12 kg in a month.”

“Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies support weight loss, gut health, detox, and cleansing!”

“Greens powders are the way to get your veggies!”

“Drink this Good Night Protein drink for a healthy sleep routine!”

Do magical nutrition solutions sound too good to be true?

Yes, they do. Yet these ads and others like them fueled a global expenditure of nearly $164 billion on nutrition supplements and products in 2022. With nearly 8 billion people living on Earth, that’s over $20 per person. These ads obviously work even if the products do not.

Why do people fall for these magical-sounding promotions? We seek easy solutions to complex problems. We are willing to trade money for the promise of a quick cure.

Do they ever work? Sometimes positive results will be realized, most often due to the instructions in using the product including science-based practices, such as portion control guidelines provided with a weight loss product or the advice to avoid screens before bed with a sleep product.

Conquer this misconception with truth and respect.

When a client or patient asks about one of these claims, or you question them yourself, use the “Fact- vs-Fiction Filters for Information Sources found in Chapter 5 of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide by Alice Henneman. You can also find a PowerPoint of these filters.

Fact-vs-Fiction Filters for Information Sources
Page 74, Chapter 5, Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide.

Additionally, in this chapter, the 10 Flags for Junk Science can be used to evaluate claims about food and nutrition products, programs, and supplements. Help others evaluate claims so they protect their health and their pocketbook.

10 red flags of junk science
Page 76, Chapter 5, Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide.

Encourage the public to seek the advice of credentialled food and nutrition professionals. Complex nutrition problems are not solved with magical pills and products. Unique individuals need tailored, science-based guidance accounting for personal health histories, preferences, and lifestyles, not one-size-fits-all promotions.

Believing in magical solutions to complex nutrition problems is one of many common misconceptions about food and nutrition.

A particularly popular and troublesome misconception is one which categorizes food as good or bad.

Another is the misconception that many dangers are lurking in our food.

Another is the belief that nutrition experts can’t agree.

There are numerous reasons why people believe in misconceptions.

To conquer these and other misconceptions, provide the truth with respect. Always.

“For every complex problem, there’s a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” ~ H.L. Mencken

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