Part 1: How To Identify The Lies That Popular Media Spews About Wellness (& My Reply To “The Most Overhyped Wellness Promises, Debunked”)

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The popular website Vice published a controversial article last week entitled “The Most Overhyped Wellness Promises, Debunked.” Chock full of skepticism about keto, colonics, charcoal, and more, the article created plenty of buzz—both good and bad—across the internet…

…and in today's podcast, I'm going to address the Vice article in full, including debunking plenty of the BS that was in the article, presenting research-based facts about so-called wellness myths (including a few that will surprise, such as the truth about charcoal toothpaste and sea salt), and set the good folks at Vice right.

Enjoy, and be sure to leave your own comments and feedback in the comments section below.

In this solosode, I'll break down the “myths” discussed in the article one by one…

-Myth #1: Is pink Himalayan salt more nutritious than regular table salt?…9:47

-Myth #2: Lectins are not bad for you…15:00

-Myth #3: Probiotics can't boost your mood, immune system or overall wellness…17:48

-Myth #4: Kombucha isn't making you any healthier…19:40

  • 8 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea
  • Has all the health benefits of tea: polyphenols, cholesterol reduction, etc.
  • 4 studies show kombucha reduces liver toxicity in rodent models by up to 70%
  • Acetic acid can kill off harmful bacteria in the gut
  • Watch out for residual sugars
  • Blood sugar controlling properties

-Myth #5: Natural sugars” like agave syrup and coconut sugar aren’t any better for you than the refined white stuff…22:57

-Myth #6: Antiperspirant does not cause breast cancer…25:40

-Myth #7: “Alkalizing” your body with alkaline water (or anything else) is not a thing…28:30

-Myth #8: Apple cider vinegar is good for salads…31:51

-Myth #9: You don’t need to detox with a juice cleanse

-Myth #10: Activated charcoal is only helpful if you’re in the ER and need your stomach pumped…42:28

-Myth #11: Charcoal toothpaste doesn’t strengthen your teeth…45:50

-Myth #12: The ketogenic diet isn’t a magical weight-loss trick…47:40

-Myth #13: Lemon water will not boost your metabolism…51:59

-Myth #14: Dark chocolate is probably not better for you than other sweets…55:17

-Myth #15: Gluten is perfectly fine for the vast majority of people…58:30

-Myth #16: You can’t sweat out toxins…1:01:46

-Myth #17: Infrared saunas do not detox you or burn fat…1:03:33

-Myth #18: Coconut oil will not help you lose weight, lower your cholesterol, or kill germs or viruses…1:06:08

-Myth #19: Oil pulling is not dental care…1:10:57

-Myth #20: The claims about collagen supplements are way overhyped…1:13:35

-Myth #21: Weighted blankets aren’t a treatment for mental health issues…1:15:40

-Myth #22: Organic cotton tampons and menstrual cups aren’t safer…1:18:00

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Vice article discussed

Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt: potential health impacts?

12 Reasons You Should Take Sea Salt

Abstract P238: Remission/Cure of Autoimmune Diseases by a Lectin Limite Diet Supplemented With Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Polyphenols | Circulation

Lectins, agglutinins, and their roles in autoimmune reactivities

Effects of Probiotics on Mood – Full-Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov

The Effects of Probiotics on Mood and Emotion

The effects of probiotics on depressive symptoms in humans: a systematic review

8 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea

Coconut Sugar: Is It Good For You?

A Case-control Study Adds a New Piece to the Aluminum/Breast Cancer Puzzle

Use of Underarm Cosmetic Products in Relation to Risk of Breast Cancer: A Case-Control Study

Systematic review of the association between dietary acid load, alkaline water and cancer | BMJ Open

Alkaline Water and Longevity: A Murine Study

6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

– BGF Article: The Best 2018 Detox Program

What are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal?

Charcoal toothpaste may cause tooth decay and will not whiten teeth

Health charity explores the facts and myths of charcoal toothpaste | Oral Health Foundation

Ketogenic Diets: Long-Term Nutritional and Metabolic Deficiencies

Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

How to drink water with lemon and preserve your tooth enamel | The Well: bodymindheartspirit

What are the Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate?

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity – Wikipedia

Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements. – PubMed – NCBI

Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review

Infrared Sauna Treatment: Are the Claims Backed Up? – Dr. Axe

Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Oil pulling for maintaining oral hygiene – A review

Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications – PubMed – NCBI

Do Weighted Blankets Really Ease Sleeplessness? | Psychology Today

Do We Need Organic Tampons? A Review Of The Science – HelloGiggles
Colima Sea Salt

BGF Podcast with Robert Slovak

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

– Book: Grain Brain

– Book: The End of Alzheimers by Dale Bredesen

Books by Mary Newport

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23 thoughts on “Part 1: How To Identify The Lies That Popular Media Spews About Wellness (& My Reply To “The Most Overhyped Wellness Promises, Debunked”)

  1. Adam Pellegrini says:

    What toothpaste do you recommend in lieu of the activated charcoal?

    1. I use this: BenGreenfieldFitness.com/toothpaste

  2. Adam Pellegrini says:

    Outstanding Ben. Thank you for all the information and standing up to harmful information. Not too kick Vice directly into oncoming traffic but the air needed to be cleared and you accomplished this. Thank you….

  3. Reamika says:

    Ben – what evidence do you have that himalayan salt has microplastics and contaminants? I’ve tried looking online but everything seems to say himalayan salt is pure and uncontaminated as it’s from ancient rock, but sea salt has microplastics etc because we all know the sea is contaminated AF.
    I’m willing to use whatever salt is the best, but I need evidence please!!!

  4. Mitja says:

    what deodorant or antiperspirant you recommend/ use?

  5. Deborah says:

    Re: Weighted blankets.
    Good call! with Mia’s caveat. Another population that really responds to these is people with dementia (all that anxiety and agitation). I live with it and work with some very experienced counselors/social workers who have seen good results.
    Article:
    https://dailycaring.com/weighted-blankets-in-dementia-care-reduce-anxiety-and-improve-sleep/
    Also with caveats about people for whom they might not be appropriate.

    Links:
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v24n01_05
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1039856212459585
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1039856212459585 Last sentence in the ‘Conclusion:” Weighted blankets appear to be particularly useful.

    A clinical trial is now underway at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
    Guess the Vice writer missed a few things.

  6. Joe says:

    As for coconut oil, do all of the benefits you (Ben) listed apply if you have the APOE4 gene?
    I have the APOE4 SNP and I’m very very cautious about injesting ANY saturated fat.

    Thanks. Love your podcast

  7. Roy says:

    Thank you Ben, the biggest game changers for me lately have been using the essential amino acids, vitamin c and collagen, Thanks for road testing all you promote. A lot of things don’t work for everybody. I am still working through issues and with your information I can make better decisions about the solutions. The BEST bar none.

  8. Jennifer Laventure says:

    My Dad always taught me that health, wellness, disease, treatment, and recovery are very individual, and not to rely on any one “cure-all”. He taught me that I have to be proactive in finding and balancing my own health. I think it is always worthwhile to question every bit of health advice we get from all sources (my family physician finds this completely annoying, I assure you). And I think articles, such as the Vice one, do a a huge disservice to folks that are navigating their own health path, trying to find better ways to live. I get some folks need all the “science-y” stuff to get on board with something and I appreciate having supporting evidence as well. However, treatments and therapies will forever be in a fluid state depending on the newest information available and depending on WHO is using them.
    Pop’s passed away almost three years ago from metastatic prostate cancer, four years after he received his ‘late, stage 4″ diagnosis. At one point, maybe a couple years in, his family doctor said “Myron, I don’t know what you are doing, but keep doing it – it’s obviously working for you.” Well, he did it all. Infrared saunas, coffee enemas, blood-glucose monitoring, kombucha (we drank kombucha in the early 90s before it was cool), probiotics, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, he made coconut ice cream with coconut sugar and bone broth, he ate a low GI diet, he ate organic, grass fed, definitely a non GMO diet, we never had a microwave (I still don’t), he used hydrogen water, ozonated water, he juiced, he ate certain foods at certain times of the day, DMSO, hair analysis, mostly gluten-free except for the sourdough bread from the Kaslo bakery (British Columbia). The list goes on. Yes, it can be costly (ummm…I think most things are these days no?) But Dad lived far past what any Doc expected. It may have been a couple things or a combination of things…hard to know. BUT, an article such as the Vice one, kinda just makes you want to throw in the towel…like, what’s the point? But the point is, it is your health, your body, your unique physiology, your responsibility to find what works for you. And no, I don’t think celery juice is going to win any wars but for many people it’s a stepping stone to understanding their own health needs. And lemon water may not boost your metabolism but if that extra squirt of lemon in your water = drinking more water, well then, I say that’s a win!
    I would much rather utilize the info from an open-minded, proactive, source such as Ben Greenfield than I would from a source that is going to shoot everything down. Sorry, that was so long winded….I’m going to go do yoga with my crystals now, because it makes me happy :)

  9. Damien says:

    As someone who believes that tomatoes are good for the blood because they’re red, and walnuts are good for the brain because they look like it, do you really feel qualified to provide a logical counterargument to the Vice article ?

    Some of your discussion does not even adress the points raised by the Vice article. Starting with the first one, salt, you’re not adressing the fact that the minerals are present in minuscule amounts (whether it’s Himalayan or Celtic).

    Some other of your arguments are just digging a level below the stuff debunked in the article: structured water instead of alkaline water ? Even they did not bother discussing that one.

    I hope someone will take the time to point out at the many other fallacies in your arguments.

    1. AJ says:

      Did you even listen to the podcast? Seems like you might’ve had your headphones plugged somewhere else.

      Also, what makes you qualified to respond to this if you can’t even go through the provided research and comprehend what’s been said?

  10. AJ says:

    Oh man, I could hear the frustration in your voice. It rattled me quite a bit too!

    That’s why it’s important to educate the public on how to screen sources like that. Since usually they do a half-ass job when providing people with such crucial information.

    I already imagine thousands of people citing this stuff at work and spreading anecdotal “evidence”

  11. Nora Edwards says:

    So you might want to do a bit more research on Floride. I think you missed a number of studies in many countries that do not support Floride in anything. Think Dental fluorosis, and the pineal gland just to get started,

    1. Gordon says:

      Yes i was shocked at what Ben said about fluoride…i did use charcoal toothpaste… it whitened my teeth but i seemed to have more decay… i now use a clay based one… seems better

  12. Chris says:

    Yo, Ben. Your last couple podcasts have not syndicated to the Google Music app.

  13. mia says:

    be careful with weighted blankets if you have smaller dogs/cats, there have been deaths of animals trapped under there, i would like to try instead i use a buckwheat pillow on my torso

  14. Hudson says:

    I wouldn’t say that vice “spews lies”. Their list is a mixed bag. for example, infrared saunas have supportive research for detoxifying the body. But other things like alkaline water are BS. Like Ben Greenfield, they’re right more often than a stopped clock, but also like Ben Greenfield, they’re far from an authoritative source of health information. I’ve been in the health business for years and ultimately if I had to pick a source of information for family/friends and it was between Vice and Ben Greenfield, I’d probably say go with Vice, because at least then they wouldn’t be blowing tons of money on things that are worthless or will make maybe a 1% difference.

    1. Dave Fellows says:

      I completely disagree. I’ve been down a huge number of avenues and rabbit holes as I’ve scoured the alternative and conventional health space looking for cures and approaches to dealing with my Multiple Myeloma (incurable bone cancer) and my chronic brain fog. There’s an incredible amount of bullshit out there but hands down, the single most trustworthy source of health advise I’ve found is Ben Greenfield’s podcast. I have numerous other expert sources that I trust but I find Ben is at the most cutting edge of nutritional science and digs deeper than most. And you definitely don’t need to blow tons of money on expensive gadgets to follow the vast majority of Ben’s sound advice on healthy living – I don’t!

      1. Gabe says:

        Dave — sorry to read about your health woes. I too suffer from persistent (24/7) brain fog that is linked to taking Finasteride for several years. Curious if you’ve had any success/ relief on that front. If you wouldn’t mind sharing your protocols etc. please drop me a note at [email protected]

        -Gabe

        1. Randall says:

          Finasteride causes brain fog? I never heard that. I’ve been dealing with BF for years and had taken Finasteride for years!

        2. Dave Fellows says:

          Hi Gabe,

          Yes, will flick you an email with some of the things that I’ve found exacerbate as well as relieve my brain fog. There may not be any overlap with your situation as one thing I’ve found is there are so many different causes resulting in brain fog and almost all other’s solutions I’ve tried have failed to have any meaningful effect.

          All the best
          Dave

  15. Sally says:

    Wild arbitrary conjectures about wild arbitrary conjectures. Garbage.

  16. Nick says:

    Interesting, what toothpastes you recommend?

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