Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Detoxin' your wallet dry!

...on todays snake oils
Steven Novella at Nuerologica blog has -as usual- an excellent take down of some really juicy pseudoscience and related hubris that can only be described as classic scam artistry.

He notes "There is a cycle to the snake oil market - like the fashion industry. Words and claims come in and out of fashion, used for marketing impact rather than scientific accuracy. Some words, like “natural” and “energy” have staying power, while others last for a time and then may fade, but can come back into fashion like wide ties.... Recently “detox” is all the rage."

Dr Novella notes that the Sense about Science group is in the forefront of taking down the ridiculous and spurious claims purveyors of "detox" nostrums blantantly trumpet to a sadly creduluos populace.

As their Debunking Detox pamphlet puts it:

" The multi million pound detox industry sells products with little evidence to support their use. These products trade on claims about the body which are often wrong and can be dangerous."

Dr Novella concludes his post noting that "What the marketers of detox products have done is made the term “detox” meaningless - actually the term now is nothing but a red flag for snake oil."

On a related note, I was recently introduced to a "super juice" supplement product called Goji juice. Of course it's supposed to be nothing short of some miraculous nectar from the gods.


Under closer scrutiny, other than being made from dehydrated goji berrys from China, this product does not live up to the rather outlandish claims of many of its distributors (looks like fodder for a future investigative post!).

In fact, these wild statements are reminsent of the false hype and hyperbole from the Mangosteen crowd. It's the same old pimping up of some "exotic" special elixir....basically fruit juice in a golden wrapper. An interesting skeptical blog seeks to take this issue head on. I wish them well!

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