SNAKE OIL: 4 Big Health Fads on The Internet to Ignore

March 25, 2016

health scams snake oil internet fads unhealthy

The internet is a wonderful thing. It gives millions of people around the world a platform from which to sell things, shout opinions, and share interests. As wonderful as this is – it also means there is a lot of noise on the internet.  Everyone is an expert. Everyone is a doctor. It can be hard to tell the truth from the nonsense.

The internet is full of fads and trends, and the health industry is their biggest market. Instead of GET RICH QUICK, it’s GET HEALED QUICK, DETOX NOW, LOSE POUNDS FAST, GAIN MUSCLE OVERNIGHT. Deep down, I think everyone knows these call-to-actions are bogus. But, they’re alluring like a Kardashian headline. So they continue – and people come up crazier and crazier ways to tell you you’re doing it wrong.

So, if you’re trying to get healthy, and you’re looking for the best ways to do it – Eat Healthier Food, Exercise More, and Ignore These Three Things..


detox cleanse meme scam


Do you know what a ‘Detox‘ is? It’s basically a fast. Humans have been doing it for centuries, but they were often doing it out of faith or famine; not via a tea sold to you by some yogafamous instagrammer to rid ‘toxins’ from your body. Fasts and cleanses are nothing more than a crash diet perpetuating to be some healing, purifying regimen. College-aged girls everywhere are throwing caution to the wind and cayenne pepper into their water to clear out last week’s tequila mockingbird.

What is a toxin? Well, some of these sites claim they are cancer/disease causing agents and poisons from modern day pollution/processed foods/GMO’s/Bacteria/pick one. People participate in these detox programs believing they are preventing disease, increasing energy, and improving their overall health.

I’m pretty sure the people crafting up this hogwash never actually completed health class. You have organs for that shit. What do they think the liver does? Kidneys?

Our verdict: There is zero science behind any product with the words ‘detox ‘ or ‘cleanse’ in the title. The only thing they will cleanse successfully is the money in your wallet. If you want to lose weight, there are healthier more sustainable approaches. And, if you need to cure a disease, you should probably involve your doctor.



A photo posted by Cory Brandan (@corybrandan) on






Oil pulling is another quack-science gem that found it’s way onto the Pinterest board of every housewife in America. (Bonus points if they use the magical potion that is coconut oil). Essentially, this fad instructs people to hold oil in their mouths, and then swish it around. Yep. The benefits are purported to be everything from oral care, cavity fighting, tooth whitening, all the way to – you guessed it – detoxing the body.

Our Verdict: This at least is one of the least destructive myths on this list. While you won’t be doing anything detrimental to your health by sloshing oil around for 20 minutes – you are definitely going to be wasting your time. So, if you you want to swish it around, go ahead. Just don’t stop brushing your teeth, k?





Sleep Apnea? Gluten. Depression? Gluten. Divorced? Gluten.

Gluten-Free is big business. $5 billion dollars. It’ll be an estimated $7 billion by 2017.  It’s kind of crazy, given that only 1% of people have been diagnosed with Celiac disease. But, even without formal diagnoses, it is estimated nearly 25% of Americans shun gluten and opt for the foods from the specialty aisle. These people call themselves ‘the gluten sensitive‘. But is gluten intolerance a real thing?

There have been a number of studies on this. The results essentially say – maybe. But definitely not in the droves that people are buying gluten free products off shelves. The estimated population that is gluten intolerant is anywhere from 2-6% of the population. Several studies have suggested that the placebo effect is primarily what is driving this craze. The list of symptoms for Gluten Sensitivity is so general, it allows the self-diagnoses of someone who could very well have a bad bout of gas or a case of indigestion.

Our Verdict: If you have a lot of weird symptoms, get off the internet. Go to your doctor.



A photo posted by LA Slim Wrap (@laslimwrap) on




Yes, body wraps. You’ve seen them. You have at least 3 Body Wrapreneurs on your Facebook Friends list. Essentially, someone you vaguely remember from sharing a classroom with 10 years ago comes to your house and you pay them to wrap you up like a mummy. Then you stay like a mummy. For hours. These wraps claim to help you lose weight, inches, and DETOXIFY!

In reality, all a body wraps is, is an unregulated sweat suit.

Our Verdict: We’re going to keep it short and sweet, cause we’re getting tired of all of this internet nonsense and would like a beer. Try it if you’d like to shed 4-6 pounds of water weight. Prepare to gain it back less than 24-48 hours later.



So, there you have it. If you gained anything from this article – I hope it’s that you go to a doctor if you have symptoms that are concerning you, don’t believe the hype of everything you see, and use your noggin’ when browsin’.

1 Comment

  • Reply THE LAZY CHEF: 10 Simple, Healthy, Single-Dish Meals | Straw Boss Word Collective April 5, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    […] yep! The’re all in this salad. So basically, serve this and you can tell everyone you’ve gone on a cleanse. […]

  • Leave a Reply