Foods That Pretend To Be Drugs

“Medical attention does not come from a Cheerios box,” Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, told Forbes. See, one of the biggest trends in the food industry are these so-called “functional foods,” water that helps you sleep, yogurt that regulates your digestion, pomegranate juice that cures cancer, etc. But most of the claims are bogus, or at best, misleading, and the FDA is cracking down.

Snake Oil in Your Snacks [Forbes]


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  1. Anathema777 says:

    Foods that Pretends….

  2. JoeXJoe says:

    About time. I would really like a label on those Noni juice bottles. “Does not cure cancer, no matter how much you paid for it.”

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      For some good info on those “super juices”, check this out: They should also include a label that says this is part of a MLM scam, and you will probably never show a profit unless you can sucker in a bunch of your friends. IIRC, only 1 in 1000 Mona Vie salespeople ever recover the cost of what they need to order.

  3. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I know it’s a Proof by Anecdote logical fallacy, but while SOME yogurts claim that their “special” bacteria is good for you, if you can process dairy, yogurt everyday IS good for your system. I eat ~8oz a day of ShopRite Lowfat Vanilla yogurt, and except for rare occasions, my stomach rarely bothers me like it used to. It doesn’t contain a trademarked bacteria, but it has live and active cultures, and is something I look forward to eating everyday.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      Do you look forward to your daily yogurt ’cause it helps your gut, or’ cause it’s yummy?
      *as she polishes off a low-fat peach yogurt cup*

      • danmac says:

        I eat yogurt because it makes me look cool.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:


        Not to be gross, but the only major stomach problems I seem to get now and then is a “gas” attack. It’s a problem when the gas is at the back of the “line”, and decides it’s late for an appointment.

    • danmac says:

      Thank you for qualifying your post with a logical refutation. Seriously.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      Two tablespoons keeps the Greyhound farts to an odor free minimum….

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Have you considered that the active and live cultures have invaded your brain and that is the reason why you so look forward to more yogurt?

    • I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

      COS. I drink kefir everyday and it definitely helps my digestive system. The problem is, there isn’t enough research yet on probiotics to make these health claims for sure. Still, Actiia and DanActive are definitely ripping you off.

    • Bohemian says:

      As long as it has active cultures it will do the same. The rest is just flavorings or marketing hype. Activia is an ongoing joke at our house.

      If I am feeling cheap I buy the big tub of Dannon natural vanilla because it has fewer additives and sugar instead of corn syrup. If I have cash to throw around I buy Fage Total greek yogurt. I wouldn’t waste money on Activia or Dan-active ever.

    • Saltpork says:

      Same here. I eat Dannon vanilla w/ live cultures for breakfast everyday and my gastro issues seem to have less issues.

      On top of that, it makes a great base for smoothies or to drop some fresh/frozen fruit or granola in .

      Health claims…don’t know. Delicious, healthy and cheap. Can’t beat that for breakfast every morning.

    • Magspie says:

      I started taking live acidophilus supplements. I’m not a crazy supplement person but I love these. The bottle is like $3 at the grocery store and I have a stomach of iron now. My husband and I are half-assed vegetarians. He had (past tense!) high blood pressure and cholesterol so we switched to vegetarian at home but still eat meat at friends’ houses or sometimes restaurants. Doing that switch back to meat can wreak some havoc on the digestive system, but the acidophilus takes care of that. Hubby only takes it during travel to avoid those travel related stomach yuckies. I do eat yogurt as well, but it’s not as potent.

    • webweazel says:

      Yogurts are very good for your system. And yummy too. When my son has a funky stomach, his doc says to give him yogurts. They’re also good to have, after taking a course of antibiotics to replace what the drug is killing off. A little bit ago, I found some higher-dose probiotics put in a piece of chocolate, and keep them stashed with our meds for use a few days after finishing the AB. Yum.

  4. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I’m still not sure why coffee doesn’t advertise itself as a laxative

  5. jdmba says:

    I know that a Big Mac always makes me feel better … does that count?

  6. Sheogorath says:

    I could use something for my neuralgia and contracted cords.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      the only “food” i know of that does anything for my neuralgia is booze. well, it still hurts/tingles/burns but i stop caring after a couple of shots of whiskey

  7. ChuckECheese says:

    Functional foods are the only medical care Americans can afford.
    If it’s not on the dollar menu, my insurance doesn’t cover it.

  8. Big Mama Pain says:

    At least I know the claims about whiskey providing “liquid courage” are absolutely correct; although I’d love to see a video of some scientists at the FDA “investigating” this claim.

  9. Arcaeris says:

    If it’s for “used external only” how the hell are you supposed to treat a sore throat or toothache with your snake oil?

  10. Caffiend says:

    That label would make a mighty fine t-shirt!

  11. Shadowman615 says:

    The way I understand it, snake oil is good for helping you slow time down to help you shoot more people when you’re outnumbered. Chewing tobacco works also.

  12. humphrmi says:

    I think it would be better if they attributed the vitamin &/or mineral,and also used better language. For instance, Pomegranate juice *can* help prevent cancer, because it is high in antioxidant polyphenols that aid in free radical scavenging. It’s inaccurate to say that it will cure cancer, but it’s perhaps more accurate to say that its chemical makeup might prevent cancer.

    • Saltpork says:

      “Might prevent cancer” provides too much of a grey area for people who want to read a snippet and think they’re being healthy.

      This info isn’t really news to people who actually look at the issues of food and focus on it. Most of us already knew this stuff was nonsense. Eat your veggies.

      • humphrmi says:

        I was thinking more along the lines of when moms used to tell kids to “eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes” and such. Of course, she probably didn’t explain that carrots contain Vitamin A, which is needed by the retina to form a metabolite that absorbs light in a certain way to aid in color vision.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          But your mom isn’t misleading tens or hundreds of millions of consumers in an attempt to get them to buy her product. That’s the difference.

  13. RvLeshrac says:

    I know a cure for all ailments, Mr. Marston.

  14. scurvycapn says:

    I don’t like the comment by the nutritionist saying that getting your recommended daily allowance of vitamins is enough. The numbers on all of our labels is horribly outdated based upon newer information that has come up over time. From what I have read, the recommended levels for vitamins and minerals is actually more of “get at least this much if you don’t want to be malnourished.” It is more of a minimum requirement, not a target goal.

    I could go on and on about how uninformed people are based on marketing (calories are bad! fats are bad! (guess what, your body actually needs saturated fats :-O), but I’m not going to waste my time.