Saturday, January 3, 2015

Be Wary of False Claims…Advice for Sifting Through the Social Media Garbage!


Given the topic that we have chosen to write about, Jess and I have scoured social media in the hopes of finding a community with which we can grow.  Our search yielded some really great folks out there, preaching the message of sustainable lifestyle changes to improve body and mind.  We also ran into many people and pages that claim to provide information on natural remedies and health, that in reality are touting information that is either just plain wrong or dangerous.

Stories show up in my Facebook newsfeed every day indicating the best way to lose weight is by drinking lemon water, or that you can cure cancer with cinnamon and honey.  Even from “reputable” sources, we see stories that claim to find “One thing” that is making us fat, unhappy and unhealthy. 

The problem with these claims is that despite what we would like to believe, that we can change one thing or begin doing one thing to transform or heal ourselves, the problems facing those who yearn to achieve good health and fitness are far more complex than any one thing we are eating or doing.  Society is in the midst of an obesity epidemic not because of one act or one ingredient, it is a combination of government policy, social engineering, personal accountability and corporate practices.  Government policies dating back to the post World War II era set the table for our eventual over-consumption of food.  Companies that were at the forefront of the fast food explosion have practiced social engineering through advertising and addictive ingredients for decades and as a culture we have deemed it appropriate to feed our children food that we took no part in preparing for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is because of institutional changes and character changes in American society that we find ourselves sick and overweight.  As a result of this complexity there is no one answer to societies or even one person’s fight with obesity.

Furthermore, the more dangerous of these claims could convince a person who is scared and forlorn after hearing that they have an upcoming battle with a dangerous and deadly disease to turn their back on our medical experts in favor of sipping tea to cure their disease.  Here is the problem, to group all cancers under one umbrella and say “this cures cancer” is incredibly unenlightened.  Cancer is a very dynamic and diverse category of disease.  There is no one cure for all cancers, and as a matter of fact chemotherapy only works because it works to destroy all cells with a commonality such as rapid division.  Thus, the drugs kill all cells with a tendency to divide very rapidly including many cancers, bone marrow cells, hair follicle cells, cells in the stomach lining, etc.  Many who are undergoing treatment feel so desperately ill as a result of the drugs indiscriminate killing of both cancerous and healthy cells. 

The medical establishment understands that treatment of cancers with chemo is not ideal and often causes prolonged lives to suffer a dramatic reduction in quality of life for the patient.  So there is ongoing research to find more targeted commonalities between cancerous cells and to find compounds with which we can fight them.  But, to claim that something as simple as honey and cinnamon or lemon cures cancer is to ignore that fact that there are over 200 types of known cancer all exhibiting either slightly different or very different pathologies. 

In order to shed the weight we needed Jess and I worked diligently to identify credible information and to differentiate it from the garbage that so many so called “health experts” are pushing. 
Some tips on how to differentiate between good info and not so good info would be to do most of your research into healthy lifestyles and weight loss through a resource like Google Scholar, where everything that is published is peer reviewed.  Other good resources for healthy living include Websites for the AHA (American Heart Association) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org)

Good information will lead to good results.  Inform yourself and succeed!!!

Happy Running!!!


Rob and Jess