Science vs Marketing

Happy New Year Everyone! fruit-detox And with the New Year comes all of the weight loss related fad diets to help you with your resolutions. Anyway, the thing that makes me annoyed with these is that marketers use “science-y” words to make you think that this one particular diet is going to work, even though all of the other ones you have tried are total crap. And then people think that there is actual science involved. If you want to try these, or sell these, that doesn’t bother me, just don’t pretend what you doing involves actual science.

The big question becomes: “What is science and what is marketing?” Here are a few terms to help you navigate the difference:

“Scientifically proven”: Odd as it may sound, actual scientists and science articles NEVER use the phrase “scientifically proven”. It sounds super pedantic, but scientists actually don’t set out to prove anything. They generally try to disprove things. What you will generally hear from scientists are things like “the scientific evidence” or “supporting evidence”. This is usually followed by a long list of peer-reviewed publications.

“Detox”: Ok this one is obvious, and yet we still hear endlessly about “detoxing” and “cleansing”. I have no clue what these terms mean. All I can think is that they mean that they “detoxing you from money” and “cleansing your wallet of funds”. Anyway, there is absolutely no science in this term-it is all marketing.

“Toxin”: Somehow marketers are making it seem like your body is filled with all of these mystery toxins that you should not have in your body and that drinking a bunch of juice is somehow going to change that. Actually your body is pretty good at removing things that could be harmful to you. Have you ever had food poisoning? Do you recall spending hours in the bathroom re-enacting scenes from The Exorcist? THAT is your body getting rid of toxins. Also, you have a liver. That is its function and why it is such a crucial organ. It removes the by products of metabolism and anything else you may have in your blood that would be bad. Side note: there is an actual biological definition of “toxin”: toxins are secreted from cells into the extra cellular space. They may act on other cells or tissues from afar and may be taken up by them, but they are first secreted. See this is how scientists come with a definition of something.

“Revolutionary”: I would love for any of my publications to have been revolutionary to the field of organic chemistry. At best, I can say that the 5 people who read them found it probably thought “huh, I might try this.” This term is all marketing. Just trying to sell a product.

“Magic”: Do I have to explain why this isn’t a science term?

“Holy grail” “bust your fat” “miraculous”: and pretty much everything else that Dr. Oz says. What can I say about Dr. Oz better than what John Oliver has covered:

It should be noted the green coffee bean extract that Dr. Oz claims to be the “miracle fat burner” was based on a paper that was recently retracted for unsupported results.

My point here is that all of these diets are based on marketing not science. Yes these things sell. The people who come up with them are trying to make money. They are a business, and that is what businesses do.