Thursday, 14 April 2011

Don’t fall for it

I have a twitter account, it’s I know it doesn’t make me special and to be honest I really don’t use it that much. I only have 39 followers and there is a reason for this, I don’t just accept anyone. Take Diabetestools, the username for someone or some group who are providing information on tackling diabetes. Great, you might think, there is more help and advice out there and I’m happy to take a look. Is it harmless or is there more to it than that?

They say a little information is a dangerous thing, but they should say a lot of information about bogus health claims is a dangerous thing . The first link I saw was to this address and a man who calls himself The Diabetic Warrior (a.k.a Patrick Lecky). Patrick claims to have cured himself of type 2 diabetes and can show you how to do it too – for a fee of course as you have to buy his book, ‘how to fight type 2 diabetes and win’. And the best thing is that on his plan you can lose weight without doing the work! Pow! Take that diabetes.

Now, for legal reasons, I’m sure Mr. Lecky has undergone a host of scientifically rigorous tests and can prove everything he is saying – although he does not say anything of the sort on his website nor does he reference anything he says on his website. For all I know, everything on his website could have been made up as a scam to exploit diabetics who suffer from real and debilitating problems. So how would you spot a scam?

There are always a number of red flags that point to a problem.

Firstly, if the person claims to be able to offer a miracle cure – such as ‘Reduce or Eliminate the Insulin Resistance of Your Body Cells’ or ‘lose 119 pounds by doing less exercise than before’ as much as you want to believe it – it’s crapola.

The second red flag is if these miracle claims are mixed in with things that are true if you just do the basics of staying healthy and eating well – such as losing weight, regulating blood sugar levels, preventing the threat of amputation and so forth.

The third red flag is when the answer to all these problems comes in one super duper special capsule/food/supplement/potion – it’s all just snake oil. So in this case the red flag would be PRIMAL foods. You have to ask, which foods are not PRIMAL?! If you read down to the bottom of the page Mr. Lecky claims a British farmer lived to the age of 152 by eating fermented milk products. I guess if you have read that far down the page you will believe just about anything – and who knew what he was eating? Did someone record his diet? RED FLAG! RED FLAG!

The forth red flag is when they claim they are fixing something ‘modern medicine’ couldn’t help them with, as if modern medicine is stupid. Modern medicine doesn’t claim to have all the answers – and if it does the claim is peer reviewed, tested and re-tested until the evidence points to it probably being true or not. Where is the evidence? Always look for the evidence – and don’t use testimonials, they’re hearsay not evidence.

And the final red flag is the charge – only $99.99 – or whatever.

The supplements industry is a multi billion pound concern and yet so many of these red flags exist – where’s the evidence? And don’t fall for the ones that reference their evidence from organisations they set up themselves. Con artists abound on the internet praying on our wish to find answers and cures that don’t exist – it’s called magical thinking. As difficult as it might be, the only real answers we have at the moment are to exercise, eat healthy and balanced meals and talk to your GP. Snake oil salesmen need to be put out of business, but Governments aren’t going to do it so we have to, through spotting those red flags. That’s why I won’t be adding Dibaetestools to my list of people I’m following – I have integrity.

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