How the health and fitness industry is conning itself and you

The longer I work in the health and fitness industry the more I feel we progress just to regress. The industry is on a treadmill – spinning a lot, but not moving forward with results because in 2017, it's information overload with contradicting research and opinions.

Yes I'll admit it – I'm confused, and it seems as this industry grows, it's further putting the con on you - the confused consumer. Here's what is fretting me:

The Five Star Food rating system confuses me

I travelled through the supermarket on Monday, and I observed:

  • 5 Stars for apple & mango Juice loaded with sugar (5 teaspoons per 200ml)
  • 3.5 stars for canned sausages and veggies (best consumed before 1 Jan 2022)
  • 4 stars for Milo cereal
  • 5 stars for no-fat French vanilla yoghurt loaded with additives and preservatives
  • 4.5 stars for Up&Go Liquid Chocolate Breakfast (19g of sugar per serving)
  • 5 stars for Up&Go Liquid Vanilla Ice [Ice Baby] Breakfast
  • 4 stars for frozen, processed, breaded chicken breast tenders.

Most ratings are camouflaged within dynamic packaging, and most products choose not to list a rating at all. I'm certain this rating was meant to aid the consumer, but I don't see it leading to healthier choices – just more confusion.

Science confuses me

Studies have found that coconut oil is great for the skin, reduces bloating and IBS, aids in weight loss, and reduces the risk of diabetes. Yet just last week, the American Heart Foundation has advised us to completely bin it because "coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favourable effects..."

I thought coconut oil was healthy? 

Milk was also once healthy. And low fat foods. Now it's organic versus regular produce.

Your numbers confuse me

On the weekend, I made an eight-hour slow roasted lamb shoulder with garlic and rosemary, paired with a tasty spinach salad (all of restaurant quality I boast) that could feed a family of five. A meal with healthy protein, veggies, olive oil and lemon, with portion control, tallies in at less than $25 – under $5 per head.

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I just jogged past a fast food joint: three children's meals with dessert and two medium-sized adult's meals costs just under $50 and even more nutritionally (3645 kj / 870 calories per child, 4,032 kj / 964 calories per adult).

Any argument against healthier food being cheap confuses me. Whether you speak of the vigour of your finances or waistline, healthy food is the only choice.

Superfoods confuse me

How does it even happen? A grain. A leafy vegetable. A fruit. They've all been around for ages, and we know they're healthy. Suddenly, they become trend. A raspberry is just a berry. It's food. But a berry found in Brazil? Oh my. That sounds super – that's a superfood.

Let's add some sexy marketing, unfounded scientific claims and suddenly increase the price? Hipsters and Goop devotees will queue at weekend markets for their premium priced basket of goji, kale, kombucha, and bone broth.

Yet hear this: the British Dietetic Association argues that one must drink at least 13 servings of goji berry juice to get as many antioxidants as one would get by eating one medium red delicious apple.

Supplements confuse me

Australia's a country living on booze, burgers, and bloated bums. And we've gotten sucked into a $4.7 billion complementary medicine industry with seven out of ten Australians taking some form of vitamin or supplement. We spend more on supplements than prescription drugs.

Some doctors believe in 100 years, we'll look back and believe supplements to be the biggest scam of the century. With scarce evidence of their effectiveness, Dr. Gannon, President of the Australian Medical Association simply believes, "What a lot of Australian families have is very expensive urine."

You're flushing your money down the toilet when you can get Vitamin D from the sun, Vitamin C from fruit, and so many other nutrients from greens, meat, fish, and Mother Nature.

The gym confuses me

I see more weights machines, dial-1800 contraptions, deadlift and bench press videos, handstands at sunrise pictures, Instagram poses, and new exercise variations on Facebook pages that prepare one for Cirque du Soleil auditions than I can handle.

It's confusing, and I call bull on it all. For efficient cardio work, be able to row, run, hit the stairs, or skip rope. Add a kettlebell for deadlift variations. Add sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, and pull-ups. In under 10 moves, you can build cardio health, flexibility, and strength – it's all anyone needs.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of 51698009 readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

Do you struggle to keep up with what's healthy and what's not? Vent your frustrations in the comments section below.

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