What are signs that a health product's claims aren't valid?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

The old adage "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" holds true when it comes to evaluating claims for health products.  Before spending your hard earned cash, check the claims to make sure they don’t raise any of the 10 Red Flags of Junk Science: 

  1. Recommendations that promise a quick fix
  2. Dire warnings of danger from a single product or regimen
  3. Claims that sound too good to be true
  4. Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study
  5. Recommendations based on a single study
  6. Statements refuted by reputable scientific organizations
  7. Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
  8. Recommendations made to help sell a product
  9. Recommendations based on studies not peer reviewed
  10. Recommendations from studies that ignore differences

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Food and Nutrition Science Alliance

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You know the adage about something that sounds too good to be true, right? Watch for claims supported by unidentified studies or testimonials from people using phrases like "it saved my life, improved my sexual performance, and buttered my bread, too." Be especially wary of testimonials coming from people who had completely different problems; if a single product cured one person's dandruff and boosted another's short- term memory, you can bet it'll do neither for you. Also be skeptical of products from foreign manufacturers who may use impure ingredients that would be hard to find (and sue).
YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

More About this Book

YOU: The Smart Patient: An Insider's Handbook for Getting the Best Treatment

Everyone needs to become a smart patient. In fact, in the worst cases, your life may even depend on it. Number one bestselling authors and doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz have written this...

Continue Learning about Drug Safety

How Much Ibuprofen Is Too Much?
How Much Ibuprofen Is Too Much?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen are some of the most commonly used medications, with more than 30 billion doses taken ann...
Read More
How can I find out if a drug is manufactured in the U.S.?
Drug manufacturers have different manufacturing facilities all over the world. It is difficult to de...
More Answers
Are unsafe drugs allowed in the market?
No. However, on rare occasions, negative side effects for a particular drug may become apparent afte...
More Answers
How to Prevent Medication Errors and Accidental Overdose
How to Prevent Medication Errors and Accidental Overdose

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.