This is a picture of an advertisement that is on a billboard in my neighborhood near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).As you can see, the advertisement is suggesting that the product, which is a pomegranate juice, can extend life.This is a great example of the type of “wellness marketing” I speak of in my podcast, the Dr. Nick Show, Episode 6.
What I find interesting is that, on the one hand, you’ve got a contingency that is trying to attach the wellness label to all health and food products; while on the other, you’ve got a group of mainstream scientists trying to disprove many of the claims made by the first group.Case in point: A recent study claims that antioxidants do very little to extend life.
So what’s the truth?I’m certain it falls somewhere in the middle.Antioxidants are not useless.On the contrary, there are plenty of studies showing them to be effective.Antioxidants scavenge for free radicals—substances that can cause degenerative diseases like cancer—so, in theory anyway, they should provide some protection against developing chronic diseases.Without a doubt fruits and vegetables have anti-cancerous properties, and they are chock full of antioxidants, so there’s got to be something there.
But, of course, food and beverage manufacturers take things a little too far.They take a fact and stretch it so much that you question the validity of the concept altogether.Pomegranate juice cheats death?Please.Even with a slew of antioxidants, it’s very doubtful that it does that.More likely, antioxidant rich foods and beverages add to one’s overall health level, but whether this translates to longer life is debatable.I would argue that it might cheat illness, or weakness, or dysfunction, but death?
Anyway, I’m amused by the influx of wellness products hitting the market today. Decades ago there was breakfast cereal; then came vitamin-fortified cereal; today, there’s “heart-smart” cereal. Even Kaiser Permanente has jumped on the wellness bandwagon with their Thrive campaign. Anybody who has ever dealt with Kaiser in any capacity can certainly share in that humor. The bottom line is that we all want wellness. But are we aware enough to separate the fact from the fiction? Keep reading this blog.