Nick Tiller, Ph.D. Profile picture
Exercise physiology researcher @HarborUCLA. Columnist @SkeptInquirer. Author(↑), confronting #pseudoscience in health & sport. Part-time ultra-runner.

14 Oct, 8 tweets

I was asked recently to provide some examples of health and fitness marketing that makes false claims and/or exploits human biases. I came up with a billion examples. Here are just 6:

#science #skepticism #criticalthinking #exercise #health

1/6. All-natural #wheyprotein. It exploits the irrational cognitive bias towards natural products.

2/6. L-carnitine sold for decades as a ‘fat burner’ despite research which failed to show consistent and reliable outcomes.

3/6. An advert for ‘chemical-free makeup’ – a product which shouldn’t exist given that NOTHING is free from #chemicals.


4/6. Selling a respiratory training device on the premise it can protect against COVID-19. A dangerous and nonsensical claim.

5/6. The striking use of a ‘before and after' image to market a weight loss pill. This taps into the primal, decision-making centers of the brain that are easily mislead by emotive arguments. They also state “as seen on TV” – a blatant appeal to popularity.

6/6. Famous athletes being paid to endorse training products – another fallacious appeal to authority. This time, Chris Froome selling a nasal dilator:

Exaggerated claims and bad science make a mockery of the industry. It affects the work of exercise scientists and professionals, and has profound implications for population health.

If we don't oppose it, who will?

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