If you’ve attended any type of networking event recently, you’ve probably noticed the large numbers of sales people selling health and wellness products.
Interesting, yes; but when it comes to their claims, you may want to dig a little deeper. Here are some recommendations for scrutinizing products before you purchase.
Many products’ sales brochures refer to studies that reinforce their claims. However, not all studies are created equal.
Try to determine online who financed the study as a clue to how unbiased it is. If it’s the company selling the product, or if the research was conducted by an organization in which the product’s seller has a financial interest, be skeptical. Websites from reputable education and government entities end in .edu or .gov and have the strength of a university, hospital, or government department behind them. As well, articles published in medical journals are peer-reviewed and provide unbiased information.
Distributors of many health products and supplements employ testimonials to sell their product. But, as the website of the respected Mayo Clinic reminds us, “anecdotes and testimonials are not evidence.”
One of the best ways to evaluate a product is to ask this simple question: “Is it too good to be true?” If an ad shouts “Eat five meals a day and lose 20 pounds in one week,” chances are it is too good to be true.
Don’t fall victim to compelling copy by immediately reaching for your credit card. If you’re considering buying the product, wait a day before calling that 800 number. Conduct a brief online research session, and if you still feel that the product is legitimate after researching it, then call. You’ll be making an informed purchase.
We all want to be healthy. However, many health products (and unsupported online health advice) almost certainly overstate benefits and may actually cause harm.
Googling the product makes sense, saves dollars, and might even save your health.