Harsh realities of multi-level marketing exposed

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Posted 14 June 2021

A recent exposé of multi-level marketing (MLM) by Good Housekeeping includes:

  • stories of former distributors with links to their videos in which they criticize how MLM companies operate
  • links to videos describing how distributors use their pregnancies or infertility to recruit women facing similar struggles to become distributors
  • discussion of cultism in the MLM industry
  • discussion of the popularity of anti-MLM content on TikTok, which has banned content promoting MLMs.
  • descriptions of MLM companies’ responses to recent warnings by the Federal Trade Commission
  • evidence suggesting financial success for distributors is rare
  • discussion of findings from the 2018 “AARP Study of Multilevel Marketing: Profiling Participants and the Experiences in Direct Sales”
  • psychological support resources offered by the anti-MLM community

Reference: Garrity A. Inside the “toxic” world of women selling you everything from supplements to skincare on social media. Good Housekeeping, May 24, 2021

Source: Consumer … Read the rest

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Evidence does not support vitamin supplementation for heart health

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Posted 11 June 2021

Researchers who searched PubMed for the phrase “vitamin supplements and cardiovascular health” have found no significant evidence that supplementation with vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, or K, folic acid, or multivitamins improved cardiovascular functioning or decreased the incidence of heart attacks or strokes in the general public. Their review, based on 87 studies that met their inclusion criteria, concluded:

A recommendation to suggest vitamin use to maintain and/or improve clinical cardiovascular outcomes cannot not be made for the general public. Instead, counseling people to follow a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables seems more appropriate to improve and maintain cardiovascular health.

Reference: Simsek B. and others. Effects of vitamin supplements on clinical cardiovascular outcomes: Time to move on!—A comprehensive review. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN 42:1-14, April 2021

Source: Consumer Health Digest #21-22 June 6,, 2021

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Aromatherapy described as pseudoscience

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Posted 19 May 2021

In a brief article, Joe Nickell discusses the history, claimed effects, and lack of supportive evidence that aromatherapy is beneficial in preventing, treating, or curing any disease.

Nickell describes aromatherapy as the pseudoscience of using aromatic substances for claimed improvements to one’s physical or mental health. He argues that aromatherapy may help people relax through the power of suggestion or augment the soothing, stimulating, or other action of massage in administering aromatherapy oils.

Reference: Nickell J. Aromatherapy: ‘Healing’ by the scents of smell. Skeptical Inquirer, 45(3):43-44, May/June 2021

Source: Consumer Health Digest #21-19, May 16, 2021

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When consumer experience wildly differs from ‘market research’, apply truth serum

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Posted 17 May 2021

What test panels say about a product is often not an accurate reflection of how it is perceived and received by customers

TimesLive 16 May 2021

Remember when Unilever scrapped its traditional Sunlight dishwashing liquid bottle and replaced it with an upside-down one with a nozzle that dispensed a specific amount of the green stuff?

It was back in 2004, and I remember it well, mainly because there was huge public outcry about it – consumers hated not being able to control the amount dispensed, some said it leaked, and many complained that as it emptied it became very hard to squeeze.

The manufacturer relented and brought the old bottle back.

I mention this detergent packaging fail because Unilever said that before its launch extensive market research had revealed that South Africans absolutely loved that upside-down bottle.

Right. How many people
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Herbex UltraSlim: Advertising Regulatory Board ruling

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Posted 14 May 2021

In November 2020, the Advertising Regulatory Board ruled against the claims being made by Herbex UltraSlim preventing further advertising of this product on DSTV and elsewhere. The complainant argued that there is zero evidence to show that this product has any effect on weight-loss, or any of the other claims being made for the product.

Herbex has now appealed this ruling, supplying a ‘dossier’ compiled by Dr Craig Wright, a homeopath and herbal practitioner. The original complainant argued that the dossier still did not substantiate the claims for the product. The ABR agreed.

Herewith the ruling:

Decision of the Advertising Regulatory Board

Complainant: Dr Harris Steinman
Advertiser: Newgroup (Pty) Ltd
Consumer/Competitor: Consumer
File reference: 1055 – Herbex Ultraslim – Dr Harris Steinman
Outcome: New substantiation partially accepted

Date :13 May 2021

The Directorate of the Advertising Regulatory Board has been called upon to consider new substantiation … Read the rest

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Bizarre Discovery Suggests Pink Drinks Make People Run Faster, But Why?

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Posted 14 May 2021

Weight-loss may occur even with scam products, or products that are unlikely to work because of the ingredients or dose of the ingredients. This is attributed to the placebo effect. In this small study, runners were found to run faster just because of the colour of the drink!

By Peter Dockrill 13 MAY 2021

Science Alert

If you’re going to gargle something next time you go for a run, here’s some free advice: Try using a pink-colored drink. As strange as it sounds, pink drinks appear to be linked with enhanced running performance.

In a new study, scientists found that runners who rinsed their mouths with a pink-colored liquid solution – as opposed to a clear, identical-tasting one – ran for longer and at a faster average speed, while having a more enjoyable running experience too.

“Adding a pink colorant to an artificially sweetened solution not … Read the rest

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Herbal and diet supplements ‘have no effect on weight loss’

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10 May 2021

Visitors of CamCheck will be aware of my claim that Herbex is a useless product for weight-loss and my evidence for making this claim.

I have shown how Herbex uses ingredients that has not been shown to be effective for weight-loss, using them at miniscule dosages in their products. Recently Herbex has released Herbex UltraSlim, a product that has higher dosages but still no proof that the product works.

This systematic review, presented at a recent obesity congress, concludes that “Herbal and diet supplements ‘have no effect on weight loss'”.

Herbex claims that their mix of herbs does. I would rather believe evidence, of which they have zero.

Herbal and diet supplements ‘have no effect on weight loss’

Popular aids sold by £29bn industry don’t cut obesity, says Australian study

Robin McKie Sun 9 May 2021 07.15 BST

The Guardian

There is insufficient evidence to justify recommending … Read the rest

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Banned stimulants found in weight loss and sports supplements

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Posted 07 May 2021

Banned stimulants found in weight loss and sports supplements Deterenol is a pharmaceutical bronchodilator that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approved as a drug for humans. The FDA determined in 2004 that deterenol is not permitted as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Although since 2018, deterenol has been detected in several brands of dietary supplements sold in the U.S., the FDA has not advised manufacturers to remove it from products or warned consumers to avoid supplements labeled as containing the drug. In April 2018, researchers made online purchases of 35 samples of 17 brands of supplements labeled as containing deterenol (or a synonym) to determine the presence and quantity of active pharmaceutical stimulants that have not been approved by the FDA for oral use.

The researchers found:

  • Eight of the brands were marketed for weight loss, six as sports/energy supplements, and three with
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Essential oil treatments linked to seizures

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Posted 07 May 2021

Essential oils are volatile, aromatic compounds obtained from plants that some people believe are the “essence” of the plant source representing the plant’s “life force,” “spirit,” or soul. Although promoters claim they have medicinal value, commonly used essential oils can trigger convulsions. Indian researchers have reported the results of a four-year observational study of people who were exposed to essential oils of camphor, eucalyptus, or both:

  • 22 people were found to have a first seizure induced by an essential oil treatment; 16 of those essential oil treatments were topically applied, five were through inhalation, and one through ingestion
  • 33 had seizures provoked by essential oils; 26 of those essential oil treatments were topically applied, five were through inhalation, and two were through ingestion

The authors concluded: “Exposure to essential oils of eucalyptus and camphor is an under-recognized cause of the first and breakthrough seizure. Identifying the … Read the rest

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Multilevel-marketing company pitches scrutinized

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Posted 20 March 2021

A management consulting firm has characterized multilevel marketing (MLM) companies as using “fraud, deceit, and outright lies in a flawed business model.” The firm refutes an MLM promoter’s twelve reasons that people should pursue direct-sales opportunities in MLM companies. It characterizes each of those reasons as a false promise.

The twelve false promises are:

  • “You can work from anywhere!”
  • “You decide how much effort you put in.”
  • “It rewards those who work hard.”
  • “You get to be your own boss!”
  • “The hours are flexible.”
  • “Startup costs are lower than for other businesses.”
  • “It provides you with extra income.”
  • “You will save money on childcare expenses.”
  • “It gives you goals to work toward.”
  • “You’ll feel supported and make lifelong friends.”
  • “You can buy high-quality products at a discount.”
  • “MLMs are fun!”

An superb article on the MLM market.

Quotes:

“The average MLM rep earns around $400 per Read the rest

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