In recent years, the health and fitness industry has experienced rapid growth, with anything and everything deemed healthy or nutritional sparking our interest. But, in the past few months however, the same industry has come under attack by both the public and the media after several allegations surrounding dishonest business ethics.
With obesity and malnutrition rates at an all-time high, there has never been more of a demand for healthy weight-loss programs, but are we being subjected to false and misleading information by health and fitness ‘gurus’ in a bid to capitalise on the problem?
Recently, fitness trainer and clean eating advocate Ashy Bines came under fire after she admitted to some of her recipes had been reproduced from other people’s websites. The Gold Coast workout queen addressed the issue in a YouTube video and admitted: “By outsourcing… to a nutritionist I was trying to give you all something of value and to come up with delicious recipes from the food I suggested.
“Unfortunately, I may have been too naïve to think that I wouldn’t have to check the origins of each recipe, instead trusting that the work would be completed in an honest and professional manner.”
Her admission clearly raises concerns as to why stricter guidelines aren’t being set. Especially after the scandal surrounding The Whole Pantry founder Belle Gibson, who was recently accused of faking her battle with cancer and withholding thousands of dollars in charity donations.
Since reports surfaced, her smartphone app and cookbook – which are based on the story of healing herself from brain cancer – have been pulled from circulation and, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the publisher, Penguin, have admitted to not fact-checking her story.
It doesn’t stop there. Pete Evans’ book Bubba Yum Yum was put on hold after featuring a bone-broth formula recipe that was considered to be potentially fatal to infants. According to Good Food, the claim was slammed as “false and misleading” by health and economics expert at the Australian National University, Julie Smith.
“I think the ACCC should be looking very hard at this particular claim. The commercial publisher aims to make money out of this book and I suspect they would have to consider very carefully the investigation that would ensue if they published it,” she said.
And then of course, there’s the cult-like following in which meal-replacement shakes and supplements are promoted by companies as being healthy and preservative free, yet several nutritionists and dieticians say otherwise, and critics claim most are a scam.
So what’s the deal health and fitness industry? How can we distinguish the fact from the fiction? One minute we’re told to eat kale, then a report surfaces that too much kale can be deadly. The same can be said with the low-carb movement – it’s promoted by some as being the miracle approach to weight-loss, while others slam the diet as being unrealistic and dangerous.
Who’s telling the truth? And at what cost does it come to our health in the long-term? Maybe it’s time the health and fitness industry seriously considered an overhaul because, for all we know, we could be doing more damage than good.
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