Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I have no idea whether Herbalife is a pyramid scheme . . .

. . . but it's a scam anyway. (Legal disclaimer: In my opinion.)

The company is in the news because a short seller is trying to knock the share price down with a campaign to show that it doesn't really make money from selling it's snake oil, but from roping in new distributors. Whatever, the products are a fraud.

Here's a typical example. This garbage "Supports the body’s absorption of micronutrients and promotes cellular energy production.*" The asterisk is to tell you that, no it doesn't. "Supports" is the favorite verb for peddlers of fraudulent nostrums, because it doesn't really mean anything. Are you not absorbing your micronutrients? Highly unlikely. Does your cellular energy production need promoting? Only if you have a mitochondrial disease. And no, antioxidants do not "support" healthy aging. As innumerable studies have shown (much discussed here) there is no evidence whatsoever that any antioxidant supplement is associated with any health benefit whatsoever -- and some of them appear to be harmful.

This is 100% crap. It wouldn't surprise me if the whole thing is a pyramid scheme but on the other hand, people do buy similar junk in the CVS, which is not ashamed to sell it. Congress has basically made it impossible for the FDA to regulate this market so they keep getting away with it. Also note the false advertising on TV -- people wearing tinted contact lenses to make their eyes all shiny, telling you to buy special items to "support" eye health. Special vitamin formulations for women, old folks, people who do crossword puzzles, whatever. It's all a con job. 


Michael Scott said...

I'll tell you what is a scam. Your opinion passed as fact. The only part of your post which could be called educated is the first 4 words... "I have no idea".

Cervantes said...

It's not my opinion -- it's the overwhelming conclusion of scientific research. Herbalife products are a fraud. If you have evidence to the contrary, let's see it.