Disclaimer: this is a cautionary tale about the fact that not all that glitters is gold.
I remember the time when one needed credentials to make their knowledge available to the public. Back in the day it also required a fair bit of effort on the researcher’s side to acquire this information. Today, all this is very much simplified, in that anybody can get published, look at me – typing away – and finding information is also at the tip of your fingertips. This is great, right? Not so much, because anybody can spew their knowledge and opinions right, left and centre and we all do it. This makes the researcher feel overwhelmed with contradicting information and you will find it so much more confusing to sieve through all of it and decipher what actually has any credence. Low-fat better than low-carb? How about Paleo and Atkins? WeightWatchers anybody? Or IIFYM? As a matter of fact, the truth is in the pudding and you have to be able to see through the bull. Moreover, you need to be extra critical on social media when you read claims of this or that. I’ve learned this a long time ago, but there are still people believing everything they see – jumping from wagon to wagon. Most times when I see misinformation, I just walk away without saying a word, but let me tell you a story about most recent example of misrepresentation and fraud that I couldn’t watch in silence.
A friend of mine is a sales rep for a multi-level marketing company that sells dietary supplements – food replacement shakes (I will not name this company because I don’t feel like dealing with the implications of such an act, but look around, those companies are sprouting everywhere and chances are you have been offered their products). She innocently shared a post on FB made by another rep of that company that made claims that were untrue. The post revealed a before-and-after picture of a young woman. A typical, very common collage of a person’s picture from couple of years ago when they were not doing so well in terms of their appearance and a current picture showing her very fit and healthy – I’ve just recently made my own. Now, this is not an uncommon thing to see when promoting a product or services. IG is plastered with such pictures and so is FB. This one was a bit different because the before picture was her anorectic self – very thin, with bones protruding, hollow cheeks – and the after picture had her looking a lot healthier with some muscle mass built up.
When I saw the post I had to stop and look a bit closer. Normally, I would not have paid any attention to such claims, because:
- 9 times out of 10 I am not interested in the product.
- As far as I am concerned anybody who is trying to sell you something to make you feel or look better is only after your money. And….
- I know how to use PhotoShop to enhance pictures.
This one, though, was different. It was different in that I was convinced I knew the person in the picture. So I headed to my IG account to find the person I thought this was and lo and behold I found her. I even found the exact same picture collage posted to her IG feed. I knew exactly what this person was all about and let me tell you, she was not about the supplements in question, but yet her transformation was being used as proof that using those supplements made you regain your health and fit physique….
Of course, I made a racket about it. The post disappeared along with about a dozen comments (you can see in a screenshot above that I took prior to the deletion) that were made under the picture oohing and aahing about how great the supplements are because they helped this poor girl look healthy and happy. And everything came back to “normal” as if nothing had happened. Only something did happen. Somebody made false claims and showed them publicly for all to see in order to sell a product of very questionable quality and usefulness – a fake, man-made product to make money. That fact boils my blood because even if we all consider ourselves intelligent human beings, we are all being duped everyday without even knowing. So, next time you see pretty little pictures trying to convince you to jump on the wagon to bliss and happiness, think twice before you open your wallet. Instead, just go to a farmer’s market and buy some lettuce – there is no magic product (shake, pill, powder etc) that can do what real food can and will do and of course a ton of hard work.
PS. BTW the girl uses some type of supplementation, like most lifters – minimally processed protein powders with natural ingredients and sweeteners, however her main focus is proper nutrition and heavy lifting. She advocates not being afraid of food and making it nourishing rather than being afraid of it.