Any insomniac who has turned on late night TV to be confronted with a barrage of infomercials can tell you there’s a quick fix for everything. Saggy abs? Try this. Cluttered closet? We’ve got the fix. Suffering the indignity of shelling a hard boiled egg? Here’s the solution.
Some claims are easy to see through—even if they seem convincing, experience tells us they aren’t the silver bullet. That’s because there is no silver bullet. We know our shampoo won’t make us taller and better looking, even if everything about it seems to imply that it will.
But sometimes we forget—we get lazy, we get vulnerable, we let our guard down—especially when we feel especially hopeful about a certain area of our life, like our weight and our health. Two sides of ourselves battle it out: we want to eat and enjoy food, but we also want to watch our weight. We want to be healthy in the long term, but in the short term we don’t want to spend hours on a treadmill. We love the nirvana of sugar-salt-fat combinations but know better than to indulge in them. That gap between what we know and what we long for is where the silver bullet claims wedge themselves.
Keep a mental note of dubious verbiage and keep it on your radar. Here are 15 examples to start you out:
- scientific breakthrough
- medical miracle
- for a limited time only
- used by (famous celeb)
- no trans fat
- zero sugar (but high in fat)
- zero fat (but high in sugar)
- low calorie (for serving size & poor quality)
- 97% fat free (3% fat by weight)
Today, there is compelling health research that helps us understand how food affects how our bodies work. Understanding that research can help us navigate a world tricked out with unhealthy land mines; it is essential to being an informed consumer. We want information, not claims.
We learned years ago from Eric Schlosser that for some foods to be labeled as “natural” they actually had to endure additional processing. While false claims on nutritional labels are under scrutiny, we still seem to be dodging silver bullets and wading through too-good-to-be-trues. Keeping our guard up means not falling victim to empty marketing promises and over-hyped claims that guarantee the latest and greatest—even when we know better.