& # 39; Fat Burning & # 39; food and other scientific sounding nutritional drinks

Actually, that whole paragraph, and its concept, is a lie. But it sounds promising – and familiar – is not it? It often happens that marketers exaggerate claims to tempt us to buy products. And we believe a lot of what we read when it sounds scientific and plausible.

This practice has been beautifully revealed in a video by McGill University's Office for Science and Society (OSS), which became viral last week. Jonathan Jarry, science communicator at the OSS (and the person who made the video), says that flashy marketing accompanied by cool music, seductive fonts and pleasant images are very effective persuasive powers.

"Many people believe what they see because the packaging is convincing," says Jarry. "Our access to information has exploded since the development of the internet, but most of us have never learned to critically assess this information." And the truth is that a lot of "information" is junk.

Do not fall for scientific sounding claims or dietary deceit. Here are four examples to watch out for.

& # 39; Fat Burning & # 39; foods

The claim: Certain foods stimulate the metabolism and cause heat in the body, causing you to lose weight because fat miraculously burns away.

The reality: Studies show that capsaicin in hot peppers has some effect on internal temperature and metabolism, but it is minimal. Hot peppers can not solve the obesity epidemic, but many marketers exaggerate and distort the claims into flashy and alluring ads that suggest otherwise.

Web sites that sell capsaicin supplements throw scientific words that most people do not understand, such as adipocytes, neuropeptides and thermogenesis. These terms sound clinically and credibly, and you get the impression that these pills can help with weight loss, regardless of your diet or your training level. It is a bunk bed.

And then there is the multitude of online articles that mention the "best fat-burning food" and highlight random items such as oatmeal, chicken and yogurt. Of course, these foods can be part of a balanced diet, but there is absolutely no evidence that they magically shrink your fat cells. No food, drink or supplement can do that.

& # 39; Immune system increasing & # 39; foods

The claim: foods with vitamins or antioxidants can strengthen your immune system and make you more resistant to diseases.

The reality: every food that is part of a healthy diet promotes overall health, which makes the immune system function optimally, explains David Stukus, associate professor at the Allergy and Immunology Department at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio. , from.

"Claiming that individual foods can increase immunity" are generally unfounded and are extrapolated from research in laboratory animals or association data that show no real cause-and-effect relationship & # 39 ;, says Stukus.

He adds that fortified or overactive immune systems cause problems, including autoimmune diseases such as lupus or celiac disease. "Ask someone with chronic autoimmune disease if he is happy with his strengthened & # 39; immune system, and I'm sure that is not the case, "says Stukus.

Enjoy a healthy diet for good immune health, but do not expect all superfoods to give you a real immune boost.

Acid neutralizing alkaline water [19659002] The claim: Because it is less acidic than tap water and contains more minerals, proponents believe that alkaline water can neutralize the acid in your blood and lead for better health.Website sales claims alkaline water can help you lose weight, diabetes avoid, live longer, fight cancer and, my favorite, give your immune system a boost.

The reality: "For alkaline water to work, it would be a very strong protective mechanism that we all have our blood is always kept within a very strict pH range. The drinking of alkaline water will not change that, especially because the acid of our stomach neutralizes the alkalinity. "It's pseudoscience, pure and simple," says Jarry, although alkaline water is likely to quench your thirst.

If you want to make alkaline water at home, a water filter will cost anywhere from $ 400 to $ 1,500. Science says: Save your money and just drink old-fashioned water.

No added sugar

The claim: Packages of sweet food made with fruit say they "do not contain added sugar."

The reality: fruit may have turned into sugar during processing, and it is easy to consume too much.

In nutrition students, the sugar is divided into two types: natural sugars, such as those found in fruit; and added sugars such as honey, syrup and white sugar. This is the trick: companies really take fruit, concentrate it in a pulp or puree and then use it to sweeten food. Because it comes from fruit, the food labeling laws allow the sweetener to be called natural and the claim "no added sugar" is allowed, even if the fruit is actually processed into sugar or syrup.

If a food package says: "no sugar added," look at the ingredient list. If you see fruit pulp, concentrate or puree, that is sugar! Now check the Nutrition Facts panel of the item. You will be startled if you notice that you have "no added sugar" juice or sweet 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of "natural" sugar per serving. Everything with so much sugar is not healthy to consume in a single portion.

It comes down to the fact that buyers pay attention. "If someone offers a panacea or other treatment that sounds too good to be true, it is that," says Stukus.

– Rosenbloom, a registered dietitian, is chairman of Words to Eat By, a nutrition communication company specialized in writing, nutrition education and prescription development. She is the co-author of "Nourish: Whole Food Recipes with seeds, nuts and beans."

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