HEALTH WITHOUT THE HYPE Part 1

From our friends at TrueForm Running, there is a TON of misinformation regarding diets and how to be healthy that when put to the test just doesn't add up. They will expose the Hype for what it is and give you a simple and easy to follow way to better health. Enjoy!


MOST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET ARE SERIOUSLY UNHEALTHY — A DILEMMA DUE IN GREAT PART TO MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF HEALTH HYPE.


Recently an official from Facebook was quoted as saying the social media giant does not have a policy stipulating that any information posted must be true.

This speaks volumes about the information we feed our brains on a daily basis, in particular the most important information we consume — that concerning our own health and fitness.


And by the way, it’s not just Facebook — that’s just the only media outlet being shamelessly honest about it, which is truly frightening.


Health hype and misinformation is harmful, expensive, unkind and unethical. It’s so ingrained in everyday messages from various media and marketers that most people get most of their health information from poor sources, and many actually embrace and believe it. While the production of health hype is rapidly rising worldwide, the good news is there’s a way out of the vicious cycle.


It’s never been easier to be infected by health hype — it’s everywhere. It follows us as false or fake news, as documentaries disguised as educational but originating from companies selling products, as carefully placed online rumors, and as entertainment.

The perceived complexities about health are part of the hype — marketers want you coming back for more because you’re confused. We’re led to believe the unbelievable, that there’s a heart-healthy diet, one that cures cancer, another just for athletes, and, of course, one for weight-loss. Some believe that science verifies or disproves through absolutes, or that there’s no consensus on most health topics — both of these are false.


The confusion about nutrition and exercise is so well-promoted that people keep jumping from one unhealthy diet or service to another— it’s a great business model and money-making machine, but a bad way for individuals to get healthy. Companies continue taking advantage of everyone.


In addition, health education has primarily become health entertainment, with dangerous hooks everywhere.


Consider that an average U.S. supermarket carries more than 40,000 items, most of which are junk food and other unhealthy products, and virtually all associated with some form of hyped-up health marketing.


Beyond fake, hype is harmful — drawing you in with the right amount of interesting hooks and sizzle, a sprinkling of a fact or two for an artificial sense of reality, and a high dose of emotion.


Hype is hot. And it works. Companies generate massive sales by appealing to people’s gullible System 1 cognitive approach to decision-making. The result also leads to erroneous conventional health beliefs. The low-this, high-that diet, a machine to shed pounds overnight, the pill for every ill.


At one time, hype would just prey on those more vulnerable to marketing suggestions. But the information superhighway changed all that — now almost everyone in the world who is connected is also vulnerable, educated or not.


In addition to its strong business foundation, hype incentivizes publishing. Yesterday it was print and airwaves, and today it’s online eyeballs, with most companies vying for the buzz in your ears. Health hype going viral is the new hidden epidemic.


Here’s an interesting fact: Lies spread faster than truths online. Hype travels almost as fast as the speed of light. Recently, MIT’s Vosoughi and colleagues (Science, March 2018) used 10 years of social media data to show that fake news/lies reached up to 100,000 people but truthful items rarely reached over 1,000.


As mentioned earlier, many people get their health and fitness information from social media outlets and entertainment platforms such as Facebook & Netflix. These should always be questioned and checked against better sources. There’s a fair chance it’s not true.


Falsehoods create instant change in many people’s brains. Propaganda is powerful. The right hype is strong enough to dramatically move the stock market, change housing prices, alter political elections, trigger war, and instigate many other social factors. It’s an example of herd mentality. When it comes to health, hype changes people’s habits, sometimes instantly. One minute you’re a meat-eater, then vegan, then paleo, then carnivore, and then you’re not. Adding emotion to the message is one reason hype works, making people jump on even the most ridiculous news with a tweet or documentary about a particular diet, drug or exercise routine.


Lies, of course, are in the same category as fake news, and, not surprisingly, analogous to junk food. All are harmful to everyone.


But try to calmly correct an inaccuracy with a fact, and people pounce on you because falsities remain so strongly ingrained. For example, many people still believe fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin A, yet they have none.


Health-related searches online are among the most popular, states Pew Research Center, with significant numbers of seekers saying the resources they find on the Web have a direct effect on their healthcare decisions, and even their interactions with doctors.


The “S” Issue

Whatever the various terms used in the game of hype, from true or false news to rumor cascades, or just bad reporting, and whether political, economic, social, or health- and fitness-related, the bottom line is virtually the same — it creates stress in our brains and bodies.