Can We Trust Magazine Claims?

How many times have you flipped through a magazine and come across an advertisement or article that makes claims about how a vitamin, drug, surgery, or nutritional/exercise program will improve your health?  Probably over 90% of the time.  Probably every time you open up a health, lifestyle, or beauty magazine.  But what you never see is any evidence behind these claims. Without evidence, how would you know if the claim is accurate or true?

How would you resolve conflicting claims that come from different authors or publications? One article claims, “DO THIS and you will live longer!”  Another article claims, “DON’T DO THIS and you will live longer!”  I don’t know about you, but this gets frustrating and exhausting. Most of us who read magazines just become “comfortably numb” to this total lack of truth.

We all want to be healthier and learn the most effective and safe therapies and tests.  We want to know which tests are really accurate at diagnosing our symptoms. We also want to know the truth about what causes all the diseases that we see and hear about every day (i.e. cancer). But how are we supposed to figure out who is telling the truth and what we should actually do or think?

There is a simple solution: EVIDENCE.  If authors would just show some of the published evidence behind their claims, then there would be fewer questions as to what works and what doesn’t work.  More importantly, we would avoid useless or dangerous therapies and have fewer inaccurate diagnoses.

The evidence is out there, but it isn’t always easy to find, analyze, and deliver this evidence to those who need it. Until now.

Authors of magazine articles and advertisements take the easy way out. Why? Because consumers do NOT demand evidence!

You may find evidence from time to time in a magazine (i.e. studies have shown that growth hormones increase muscle mass by 40%.)  We applaud the use of evidence in these stories/ads, but most of the time the data provided is either incomplete, unreliable, or irrelevant.

Here are some golden questions to ask before deciding whether or not to follow a magazine claim:

  • Did the data come from a real study where they compared the therapy (i.e. drug, lifestyle, surgery) to another treatment? Everything else is just hearsay or a theory.
  • How many people were studied? 10 or 100 or 1000? The more people the more reliable the data.
  • How long were the patients followed? If a claim says this medicine or vitamin prevents cancer, then the follow up better by really long (i.e. 20 years.)
  • Who was in the study? Were they like you (i.e. sex, age, medical history, etc)?

Dr. Todd went to a local magazine stand to see if he could find any evidence in the first 3 health magazines he picked up.  He found a lot of claims, but either found no evidence or unreliable evidence.  Check out our video which includes some of the actual evidence that you SHOULD be seeing in these magazines:

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