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While we may be alert to crude promises of miraculous results, we’re not so good at sussing out the more insidious distortions and oversimplifications — especially when it comes to something as intimate as our bodies.
Wouldn’t it be easier if our suffering were caused by some particle that we are eating or not eating? What we think we know about nutrition is often based on tenuous links and conflicting evidence. Companies are finally getting socked with mounting legal challenges and deciding to drop misleading labels. Fish oil is a perfectly natural substance, but for a Beijing man, this didn’t mean that a fish oil pill endorsed by former National Basketball Association star Yao Ming would help him with memory loss and poor eyesight, as manufacturers claimed. Meanwhile, a company like the supplement direct seller Herbalife, accused by short seller Bill Ackman and others of being a pyramid scheme, lavishes money on politicians from both parties in the hopes of keeping regulators out of its business. The good news is that despite regulatory failings, consumer activists have been rising to the challenge of food and supplement manufacturers that have been growing bolder with bogus health claims.
The high profile debunking of the gluten-free fad, for example, by the very doctor who first fingered the protein as a health worry has put TV doctors and celebrity health gurus like Gwyneth Paltrow on notice that science can sometimes triumph over sensationalism.
We’ll never be entirely rational when it comes to our yearning to be healthy, young and thin.
PHOTO (INSERT 1): Bottles of spirulina are seen at Labiofam Laboratories in Jaruco outside Havana, September 6, 2011. We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. Just take your pharmaceuticals and eat your fast food like a good little following consumer.
It might be worth reminding everyone that people diagnosed with celiac disease, with rigorous testing including biopsy, must eat gluten-free for real reasons not fads. The idea that clinical trials and the like are less important when evaluating benefits than a cheesy grin and a slick sales pitch, well that just addresses the other oldest human obsession, the conspiracy theory. Well, obviously the advertising revenue is a bit low this month – why not do a paid for article for pharma and fast food lobby.
When will science acknowledge that a small percentage of the population are gluten intolerant (or intolerant of something closely associated with the gluten protein) and correctly diagnose the condition. Additionally, a gluten free diet makes it easy to avoid the empty calories associated with bagels, muffins, donuts, hamburgers and pizza slices that are offered at every office and work site.
Not that everyone must follow suit, but for years many people suffer when doctors and the medical profession refuse to look at diet. I agree the supplements should not advertise non-existing affects, however don’t debunk the whole area for a few errants. My doctors (a gastroenterologist, an allergist and a PCP) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have told me that I clearly have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).
As far as this being a problem with sugars, as suggested by Peter Gibson and his new study, I can eat any of the forbidden foods on his FODMAP diet. I kept a food diary of everything I ate for six months before we came to the conclusion that wheat, rye and barley were the culprit.
Reuters Analysis & Opinion Vladimir Putin creates a new Praetorian Guard By Jason Fields Prince, Bowie and Haggard: Icons? Consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to show double-digit growth, providing market incentives for U.S. Organic food is sold to consumers through three main venues in the United States—conventional grocery stores, natural food stores, and direct-to-consumer markets. A typical organic consumer is difficult to pinpoint, but new research continues to shed light on consumer attitudes and purchasing behavior. Organic price premiums continue to remain high in many markets as the demand for organic products expands.

Fresh fruits and vegetables have been the top selling category of organically grown food since the organic food industry started retailing products over 3 decades ago, and they are still outselling other food categories, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Most organic sales (93 percent) take place through conventional and natural food supermarkets and chains, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Over the last decade, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has expanded wholesale price reporting for organic fruits and vegetables, and added new price reports on organic grains, poultry and eggs, and sales volume for milk.
AMS Market News publishes organic prices for fruit and vegetable crops in a number of terminal markets where prices are collected, including Atlanta and San Francisco. Market News began reporting organic poultry prices in the weekly Organic Poultry and Egg report in January 2004. In January 2006, AMS began reporting sales (in volume) of organic fluid milk products in monthly milk marketing order reports. In January 2007, AMS began biweekly regional price reporting on organic grains, and now publishes single national grain and feedstuffs report available through the Market News website.
At the retail level, organic produce and milk, the two top organic food sales categories, receive significant price premiums over conventionally grown products. ERS analyzed organic prices for 18 fruits and 19 vegetables using 2005 data on produce purchases (see Emerging Issues in the U.S.
Numerous studies have been conducted on the buying habits and demographics of consumers of organic foods. Consumers prefer organically produced food because of their concerns regarding health, the environment, and animal welfare, and they show a willingness to pay the price premiums established in the marketplace.
Organic products have shifted from being a lifestyle choice for a small share of consumers to being consumed at least occasionally by a majority of Americans. They bend our minds with pseudoscientific drivel and armies of so-called experts who tell us that instead of fresh, nourishing food, we need supplements and specially treated products.
Our self-control is subverted by clever ads and our rationality crumbles when everything from upscale health stores to 7-Elevens stock pills, powders and products that would make a snake oil salesman blush. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel recently featured a sketch asking health-conscious folks avoiding gluten what gluten actually is.
Then a dollop of distrust for medical professionals and academic authority, plus a generous serving of poor regulation and big money politics. Americans have been turning into do-it-yourself biochemists, unable to sort the bogus from the beneficial. There are signs that consumers may be starting to wise up and push back, forcing companies to listen.
Kellogg, for example, has just settled a class-action lawsuit over its Kashi “All Natural” and “Nothing Artificial” labeling.
Consider Testofen, an extract of the herb fenugreek manufactured by GNC and touted as “clinically proven” to boost testosterone. In 1994, Congress, at the strong urging of the supplement industry, passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which allowed things like vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and other products to be sold with exactly zero proof of effectiveness or safety.
The supplement industry alone, which has become a $30 billion behemoth, is fighting tooth and claw to preserve this dangerous system, conning the public with cries of “health freedom” and lining up against anyone, like Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who tries to introduce common sense legislation. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. They both sell you things that may work, may not work, may be benign, or may be harmful to your health, but, they both want your money.
The guy reviewed 4 popular diets like DASH and calculated you go deficient on at least 6 micronutrients regardless of diet out of a total of about 30 he looked at. She is the author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture" and has taught cultural theory at New York University. Prices for organic products continue to be higher than for their conventional counterparts.

See ERS data on organic farmgate and wholesale prices for a comparison of organic and conventional prices from 1999 to 2013.
The report tracks prices paid to poultry or egg companies by the first receiver (such as a retailer, distributor, or manufacturer).  See ERS data on monthly organic wholesale price averages for broilers and eggs, 2004-13. ERS historical tables show national monthly grain and feedstuffs prices for 2011-13, and prior regional prices.
Organic Industry, June 2009), and found that the organic premium as a share of the corresponding conventional price was less than 30 percent for over two-thirds of the items. National surveys conducted by the Hartman Group and Food Marketing Institute during the early 2000s found that two-thirds of surveyed shoppers bought organically grown foods (see Recent Growth Patterns in the U.S.
The health food and dietary supplement industries, in particular, have long made a mockery of the rational consumer.
Recently, California and Delaware residents have countered these claims with a consumer fraud lawsuit including allegations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) that published studies have repeatedly shown Testofen has no such effect.
But according to a Reuters article, Herbalife spent many times more on its own lobbying efforts in 2013 than Ackman did).
The media (think reuters) side with the ones with the largest lobbying budget, which is the pharmaceutical companies.
Organic products are now available in nearly 20,000 natural food stores and nearly 3 out of 4 conventional grocery stores. The premium for only one item—blueberries—exceeded 100 percent. In contrast, in 2006, organic price premiums for a half-gallon container of milk ranged from 60 percent for private-label organic milk above branded conventional milk to 109 percent for branded organic milk above private-label conventional milk.
It joins a growing list of familiar brands like Tropicana and Pepsico, which have learned that misleading consumers is potentially costly. Bread flour is high in gluten and doesn’t need it, but what is mostly available in stores is all purpose flour which has a mid-level of gluten.
On the other hand, you can easily get an overload of Folic Acid with fortified food these days.
About 6 years ago my wife suggested I might be gluten intolerant and we adopted a gluten free diet. There is huge evidence that some supplements really work (Turmeric being a good example) and many studies don’t look at interactions, especially vitamin D or vitamin A supplementation without other complementary vitamins.
The number of farmers' markets in the United States has grown steadily from 1,755 markets in 1994, when USDA began to track them, to over 8,144 in 2013.
Participating farmers are responding to heightened demand for locally grown organic product. There was recently a non-inferiority clinical study done on a herb that came to result it’s equal to MTX, the gold standard for severe Rheumatoid Arthritis.
A USDA survey of market managers (see Organic Produce, Price Premiums, and Eco-Labeling in U.S.
Farmers' Markets, April 2004) found that demand for organic products was strong or moderate in most of the farmers' markets surveyed around the country, and that managers felt more organic farmers were needed to meet consumer demand in many States.
It’s a bit sad but no one is going to invest in robust efficacy studies for most compounds. Still, there is a plethora of data on PubMed, but that’s too hard to read and understand for Joe Sixpack.

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