A growing number of widely consumed products are now enriched with micronutrients, and each fabricator proudly displays their bloated nutritional claims. In acting this way, the giants of agribusiness, under the pretext of keeping us in good health actually progressively weaken us.
Doctor Jean-Pierre Ruasse, nutritionist and endocrinologist, denounces the lies of this overdose marketing.
- What does the nutritional information written on the labels correspond to ?
These are the recommended daily intakes. They were calculated for the needs of a population, more exactly 97.7% of the population, but they are absolutely wrong for one given person. The vitamins that each of us need, as our other needs, such as food, depend on our heritage, our state of health, our activity and our diet itself. The recommended daily intake is nothing but aggrandizement that’s all!
- How are these nutritional claims born ?
One starts from epidemiological studies which show that certain nutrient insufficiencies can be in correlation with pathologies. But the studies of existing correlations from which one makes hasty conclusions and which are abusively taken as signifying a relationship are so numerous that they fill up libraries! If the boasted results where real, we wouldn’t need to redo the studies all the time. Most of the time they are tall tales… you have to see who has made the study, who financed it… then we will understand…
- And yet, these claims promise us a better life !
Yes, eat this, you will feel better! And you, do you feel good ? Yes ? Then why change your mode of existence? There is a Chinese proverb which says: “ They covered the earth with leather instead of giving everyone shoes.” It is foolish to develop a collective health diet. Don’t let yourself be abused by a study which comes to us from the backlands of China or by a pinch of nutrients in our food which is going to improve who-knows-what. They shouldn’t be published. All that is just a marketing affair.
- Like the celebrated Omega-3s, today’s panacea ?
Yes. There is ambiguity there because the advertisement is true, we do need Omega-3. It is clear that today’s consumption doesn’t have enough, without a doubt. But beware, anti-oxidants have some hidden surprises. A Su.Vi.Max-like study done in Finland showed a rise in cancer in 20,000 smokers who had been taking beta-carotene! Question: I change my bad food habits for a more healthy diet, or I keep them and swallow supplements? The politics of today is pretty much that, keep the former and swallow pills.
- And is it dangerous ?
Yes, because the body remembers brutality. Do you sweeten the sugar? Multiplying the amount of vitamins taken can bring about competition between them or with indispensable minerals. For example, strong doses of vitamin C trouble the digestion of copper. It’s like mineral water. If you only drink a lot of mineral water and tea, you risk having an overdose of fluorine, called a fluorosis (white stains on the enamel).
- Which crazy claims are you thinking of ?
I’m thinking of the advertisements that brag about the real or imaginary virtues of a product to incite the potential consumer to buy it. “ Eat bread, you’ll live better.” One could believe that eating bread gives you good health. Yes, but which bread, when should you eat it and how much of it should you eat? It is a claim that is full of hot air. Another advertisement says, “ My product will kindle your natural defenses.” Tall order! And which natural defenses? An ad on television, to brag about the health claims of a milk product, puts together a scene of two adolescents who complain of digestion and intestinal problems. One says to the other: “ It’s normal, you see how we eat?” And the other advises her to take the milk product. And yes, that is where the problem is: “ You see how we eat!” so, young girl, it’s just that which must be changed. And the solution is not to eat a yogurt, but to change your diet! Yogurt never compensated for bad food!